William and Mary
Chris Valeska
Chris Valeska

About  Posts

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Class of 2011

Archived Blogger

An Unthought-of Summer Abroad

June 2, 2009 by

Studying abroad is something I thought I’d never be able to experience during my time at the College.  Being on a sports team it’s impossible to miss an entire semester of school; I feel like the team may miss me during competition season, I would hope so at least.  Thankfully though I discovered that William and Mary offers many opportunities to study abroad during the summer.  And more importantly I’m lucky enough to have a coach that doesn’t mind me not practicing all summer.  We won’t discuss how hard it’s going to be to get back into shape when I get back into the States.  I choose to focus on the positive which is the fun that lies ahead, not how I’ll pay for it later.

So once I finally got home from Williamsburg and convinced myself to unpack I was faced with the obvious problem of packing again.  But this time I couldn’t just shove everything I own in my car and start driving.  I’ve been told by many to “pack light” for Europe, but everyone who knows me knows that I only really pack in one fashion, which has been previously mentioned.

Even writing about packing has started to stress me out so I’ll move onto what I’m actually doing once I reach Europe.  I’ll pack eventually, once again positive thoughts for now.  For someone who has taken German since freshman year of high school and is going to minor in German studies, saying I’ve never been there is almost embarrassing.  Thankfully I’m going to rectify that situation by studying there for six weeks.  I’ll be living with a German family in Potsdam (about 20 mins south of Berlin), taking three classes and attempting to experience as much as possible in the short six weeks that I’m there.  After my program is over I’m going to take a week to make my way to London where I catch my plane back to the States.  I don’t really have a plan; maybe meet up with a friend or two in Paris and Madrid.  Part of the fun is not knowing exactly what I’m going to be doing or where I’ll be sleeping for that week.

As nervous as I am for spending all that time in Europe I have the safety net of the William and Mary students that will be traveling with me.  Though I don’t know any of my fellow Germany bound students I trust that we’ll get to be good friends by the end of the trip and I’m excited about the prospect of meeting new people.  I’m also happy that a William and Mary professor is going with us.  I’ve already sent her many a nervous email since I’ve been home and in typical W&M professor style my worries were squashed quickly.  Hopefully she won’t get sick of me before my plane touches down.

Well I guess I should go and force myself to pack.  No more distractions…at least on my computer.  I may have to clean my room before I can pack, but like I said the bag will get packed eventually, hopefully without too much stuff in it.

Bis Potsdam (until Potsdam),


A Well Deserved Break…right before Summer Break Rolls In

May 2, 2009 by

With gymnastics season over I get a taste of what it’s like to finally have free time and be a typical William and Mary student.  Being an athlete here at the College is awesome, and I’m lucky enough to have found a school that provides me with everything I wanted academically and just happened to be one of the 18 colleges that still has an NCAA Division 1 level gymnastics team.  If only I was this lucky in finding everything I need in life!

With that being said after a whole semester of hard workouts and traveling just about every weekend having a break to wind down the end of the semester is a gift.  More importantly, not having a three hour commitment in the afternoon provides me with lots of free time that I’m not accustomed to.  Whatever shall I do to fill this void?

Well, after a day, or should I say two, of catching up on some much needed rest I finally decided my time should be spent being productive…or at least enjoying the beautiful weather that rolls into Williamsburg every spring.  During the spring the great struggle starts between keeping up with your classes that you’ve worked so hard on for the last semester and enjoying the weather with your friends that you aren’t going to see for the next few months.

As with most things in my life I try to strike a balance between the two and opt for studying in the Sunken Gardens with some friends.  At least that was the plan until we started to play volleyball in the court behind the Bryan complex for the next two hours.   I started to regret that decision as I was in Swem finishing up my homework late that night when the sunburn kicked in.

Over the next two weeks I’ll get to enjoy the small moments that make William and Mary great.  Whether it’s a stroll down Duke of Gloucester street into Colonial Williamsburg with a friend or spending entirely way too much time on the Sadler Center Terrace, it’s great to catch up with friends that I’ve spent many a long weekend away from.  With summer approaching you start to realize that you only have a few more small moments in between all the large ones.  Before you know it the campus becomes consumed with studying for finals.  And after what seems like a blink of an eye lid, I’ll be moved out of my dorm room and on I-95 towards Pittsburgh.

So instead of sitting at this computer screen for any more time, so sorry to disappoint, I’m going to go out and see what I can get myself into.  Who knows what will be waiting for me out on campus, but more than likely I’ll end up on the Terrace.  Maybe I’ll even study for a bit.