I found myself standing there, in the white room with the tall ceilings and full sized mirrors on a cold Monday night in December. People had brought their parents, I hadn’t told mine. People were in shirts and slacks, I was in a hoodie, drenched with rain from the bike ride here. The others must have gotten there by car. They’d probably come from afar. This was an important thing and I was completely misplaced. Firstly because I was underdressed and unaccompanied. Secondly because I had already emptied the internet for any ounce of information about UWC, I didn’t need to hear their pitch, see their photos or hear their stories. I had already read their blogs. But there I was, drenched in rain and out of place, completely certain that this is where I wanted to be.
MUWCI is mostly done in different legs. You arrive during your first term, settle into your second term and live it out in your third term. You always have a next term and a next leg in front of you. Graduation in first year is sentimental, but no too hard because you’ll be back. Hence now that I’m in my fourth term (this feels surreal to put in writing), I’m fast approaching the end of my UWC experience. There are no longer a next term, no longer a distant second year in which you aspire to realise yourself; there’s graduation and then there’s uncertainty. For now I’ll appreciate the privilege of having someone cook, clean and plan for you. MUWCI is an illusion of the real world and it’s about to burst. I’m not ready to say goodbye to these buildings, these people and this hill. Neither am I ready to see the joy in my first year’s eyes as they get news of their first year and the excitement of their incoming second year; because I’m not a part of that.
MUWCI is a huge cycle and you get to see its repetitiveness first hand when you come back in August. Next time I hand in my FRO papers in immigration they won’t stamp them, they’ll take them. Every event is now a last and soon this will be a memory that I long to relive. Would I do another year? Am I so sentimental that I don’t want this to end at any cost? No, but there’s definitely a melancholy to the impeding end of things as I know them. This blog is titled “All Adventure From Here”, but am I ready to leave this adventure for the next one? Will there be a next one? Who knows. This was all started as a blog on UWC, on me in UWC, not just on me. My second years comfort me by saying that your real experience doesn’t start until after you graduate, but it must be a very different kind of experience. The best thing about UWC is that you have friends all around the world. The worst thing? Your friends are scattered all around the world.
My plans for the near future? Not university; yet at least. I need to distance myself from the bubbles I’ve lived in. I need to work, travel, write and create. I’m excited at the prospect of seeing my family who’s grown and changed just as much as I have. I’m ready to live day by day for once and discover the sense of spontaneity that I’ve so longed for all my life. I’m ready to leave these walls behind and blend into the so easily forgotten past that UWC alumni live in. I know that I can’t just relax for a year. MUWCI has made me need the stress and hustle of life here. I need the work and I need the challenge. I hope the next year will be challenging in completely different ways.
Perhaps I’ll find myself in the same tall and daunting white room next year. The same sense of being misplaced, the same stench of rain on a cold Monday night. I just won’t be listening as much as I’ll be talking. My two years here will be the experience that I was sold 30 months earlier and I will be passing it on. Maybe I’ll be sitting on the other side of the interviewing table, staring into the eyes of hopefuls in the position that I was in so very long ago. Until then I’ll make the most of it. Better to burn out than to fade away, right? I hope so,