Like many students, and people in general, I am scared, even terrified, of many things. Snakes, failure, the deep space.
But in the more modern sense, I have this fear of missing out, the FOMO as my friends would say. When I first got into the Programme, I had already found a freshman year roommate, I already had my heart set out on William & Mary being my dream school. I was worried that I would lose friends, forget all the memories I would make, and even worse, be forgotten entirely. By the time I was on campus my freshman year, I could hardly contain my excitement to be surrounded by people I loved, a place I loved, and the familiarity of being home away from home, that I almost forgot about going to Scotland entirely.
As the year went on, I kept having to remind myself that I was going to be leaving for two years. The friends I made and professors I met would soon be a thing of the past that I would have to re-learn in two years time, having come back from Scotland with a half an undergraduate experience under my belt. I didn’t want to miss out on everything my friends would do without me, the way the groupchat operated five hours behind where I was, the food from Sadler, the spring concerts, all of it. I was going to miss out, and I couldn’t deny that.
Coming to Scotland, I was terrified and excited. It is really like reliving your freshman year all over again; with all the new friends and experiences of university. But for my first few months, there was a nagging like I knew I was missing out on so much back in Williamsburg that I would spend some nights just looking at old pictures and trying to remember what it was like on campus back at home, not focusing on the new and the now.
William & Mary is my dream school, and the incredible opportunity of coming to St Andrews was just too good to resist. I don’t regret being a part of this program and I am so grateful for the opportunities its given me in just the short time I have been a part of it. But being scared of leaving, and even more so of being forgotten is something I am still not completely over.
Thank goodness for the William & Mary community that never ceases to amaze me with the incredible ability to stay in touch and to make me feel as if I am not missing a beat while abroad. The opportunity of being at two universities is the two sets of everything you get, and you cherish both in different ways. The fear of staying in one night and missing out on some banter and the fear of leaving your home country for months at a time carry the same feelings, and even some of the same weight. I am waiting for my turn in the universe to prove that the fear of missing out can never be greater than the knowledge I’ve gained, the friends I’ve made, and the strength I have gained from learning to fight my fears.
I’ll be back soon, William & Mary, just you wait.