August 28, 2012 by Abby Gomulkiewicz
It is incredible that in a little over two weeks I will be in Scotland walking up and down the cobbled streets of Fife. I will have traveled thousands of miles away from my family in Washington State and my friends in Virginia who started at William and Mary several weeks before me. I will be journeying to the land of kilts, bagpipes, Highland dancing and the place where Prince William met Kate Middleton. In this completely new place is the University of St Andrews—the oldest university in Scotland. It will be my home for at least a year possibly more. I am very excited for the new classes, friends and opportunities.
But, whenever we embark on anything new, we often take a moment to stop and reflect on how we reached this opportunity or path. My journey to St Andrews actually starts on a family holiday (that is what they call it in the U.K.) to Colonial Williamsburg. Although I was only eight years old, I fell instantly in love with the history, the reenactment and anything that had anything to do with Colonial Williamsburg including the College of William and Mary. Okay…but how does that get me to Scotland you may ask. Well…I took a tour of William and Mary and got added to their email list which announced the introduction of this Joint Degree Program. It was and is an opportunity unlike any other. Quite frankly, I could not pass it up. The program gave me the benefits of the typical U.S. university experience (breadth in courses) with the benefits of the U.K. university experience (the ability to choose and focus on your major earlier). From the instant I stepped on campus, I was a history major and able to concentrate on what I loved.
My freshman year in the Joint Degree Program gave me many opportunities both to take classes I was excited about, but also to meet the incredible group of people in the program. We call ourselves the WAMSTAs (William and Mary and St Andrews students). If you had to characterize us pretty much envision a bunch of type A overachievers who are passionate about many things and interested in the world. We are also risk takers—pioneers (at times guinea pigs) for this program. Soon, I will be with them in Scotland and I am sure they will play a major role in my adventures and blog.
That is how I became a WAMSTA plus writing a 1000 word essay which someone in the admission office, thankfully, liked.
Anyway, I look forward to keeping you updated and hope you can live vicariously through my tea drinking Scottish adventure. Don’t worry…I will ensure to accomplish everything in true Abby style—aka most likely in a dress and with my red hair flying behind me.