Hello readers! Welcome to my blog! My name is Bridgette and I am studying at University of St Andrews in the lovely country of Scotland (on the coast too, beach views for days!). Because this first post is a little late and I have been here for over a month now (!!!!), I wanted to share highlights/novel things/milestones I’ve experienced in my first 30 days:
Getting oriented to St Andrews
The town itself is three main streets, so that shouldn’t be so hard to navigate right?! (Spoiler: I was lost more times than I would love to admit.) And matching your class locations to places in town? Forget about it. Buildings tucked behind other buildings are cute, but not on the first day of classes when you’re already 10 minutes late. But do not fear perspective St Andrews students reading this post, by the second to third week you’re already a pro of the landscape that locals are asking you for directions (Yes this happened to me and yes I texted my friends about it.)
Registration here is a process. It’s not better or worse than Holy Cross’ registration process, it’s just different and something you need to get used to. Instead of waking up at 7am and refreshing STAR until 8am, hoping (& praying) you go 4/4, registration here is an in-person ordeal which means waiting and talking to advisors in your major until you fill all 60 credits. I was lucky in the fact that my advisors were really helpful in choosing and making sure my Holy Cross requirements would be fulfilled. My advice would also to check the times of the classes you’re taking before you leave because they don’t show red flags if you’re double booked… and there is nothing worse than thinking one class is at this time while sitting in an advanced lecture for 20 minutes before you realize advanced neuroscience is not what you signed up for, followed by not-so-gracefully fumbling out of the lecture. (Yes, again, I’m speaking from experience… do not end up like me!!!)
Since freshman year at HC, this is the most people I’ve met in a span of a month. Meeting people leads to shaking hands, close chatting, and the classic European double cheek kisses (still not used to these). If orienting myself to a new culture and education system wasn’t enough, one of my new acquaintances gave me the flu and a cold all on the first day of classes. Back home, I have a really great immune system, not to brag, and rarely get sick beyond a sore throat or stuffy nose. But this Fresher’s Flu was the worst. My mom trying to coach me on what to do/what to take to help my symptoms while I was stuck in the fetal position in bed was the worst feeling ever. It gives a new meaning to the word homesick. Also, there is no Advil or Tylenol here, so make sure you can find the UK equivalents before you get sick, because it’s bound to happen. I was lucky my worst symptoms lasted a few days, and I was back to class in no time. Hand sanitizer is my new best friend.
I met my mom in one of my Psychology tutorials, but I still haven’t met my dad or my siblings. If this sounds weird to you, you’re not alone because it sounded weird to me at first too. Here at St Andrews, one of the coolest traditions they have are academic families. 3rd year students meet “freshers”, i.e. – first year students, and take them under their wing, so to speak. They plan dinners and go out together as a family. Families can be small with just a mom, dad and a few siblings but can also get as extended as having aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, stepparents, anything you could think of. All these events culminate to Raisin Weekend in mid-October where your parents plan some craaaazy activities for their children to do. Not sure what to expect, updates to come!
My first travel experience – Munich, Germany
I felt like once I finally unpacked, I was packing again! My first trip I took while studying here was to Oktoberfest in Munich and it was soooo much fun. It was a super short trip (we only spent a day and a half without all the travel time) but Oktoberfest was definitely something to experience once in your life. It’s like an extreme Disneyland Epcot on steroids. And because I’m legal in Europe 🙂 , the beer is flowing at 10 euros a pop so it can get pricey for a college student balling on a budget. Besides that, it was amazing to see all my HC and high school friends studying abroad under one rainbow ribboned tent.
St Andrews does not skimp on its parties, and Opening Ball was not an exception. Typically, Opening Ball is for freshers or, in my case, third years who want to get really dressed up for a night. We were greeted by flutes of champagne and led to a large white tent with EDM and smoke from the smoke machines billowing out. The main tent had a bar, free snack food, a burger food truck, FREE JEANETTA’S GELATO (a deliciously famous St Andrews staple), and a massive dance floor with student DJs playing until the wee hours of the morning. Safe to say this ball is mostly likely going to be nicer than my wedding, a fact that I repeated throughout the night. The closest thing I could compare it to would probably be an Outdoor Edge (for all you HC Edge fans out there), only way colder, way bigger, and way posher. From what I’ve been told, this is only the beginning and there are many, many more balls to look forward to (YAY).
I’m so excited to be blogging for Holy Cross this year and look forward to where this amazing experience will take me! Thanks for being along for the ride. Talk to you soon.
PS: I dedicate my first post to Mom, Dad and JD – thanks for all your support, love, and confidence in me. See you at Christmas time!
PSS: What is a blog post without pictures?? Here are some of my favorites so far 🙂
Bridgette Dagher '18