I just came back from our goodbye formal and let me tell you, everyone was crying. Tonight was the technical last day of the PKP program although we can stay until Saturday. This has been an amazing experience.
Before all the merriment and bittersweet last formal, everyone had their last finals that day. By chance, it was the same day as the A Level results so everyone was using the A Level Snapchat filters to show their finals distress. I only had one final which was open note, but let me tell you that I basically went off topic on my first essay because I had too much information to work with- closed book is always better. Anyhow, that’s done and over with and now I have four days of summer vacation before my semester at Yonsei starts in Korea!
Thoughts on the program
I began this program full of apprehension. I am from a mid-level UC school and was afraid that I would not be able to handle the coursework at Cambridge. Most importantly, I was afraid that I would have trouble making friends because going into college, a large portion of my high school graduating class ended up in the same UC and my friends in college were basically my friends from high school. I had little to no experience with making new friends-since kindergarten. During the welcome buffet everyone was super awkward with each other, which was made worse by the awkward circles of chairs with no table to eat on HAHA.
However, things started to look up as orientations and classes began. I became close friends with my suite mate and met a lot of people through my classes, from both Pembroke and King’s. By the first formal in the second week of the program, I had found a group of amazing not-yet friends who were wild, funny, and welcoming. It didn’t matter that everyone didn’t know anything about anyone because everyone was in it together. The professors were challenging, but at the same time welcoming and encouraging. Being in a class with students from Ivy League schools and from other countries made everything all the more amazing, especially because we were encouraged to share our own experiences and opinions during our seminars and lectures. I was able to experience a kind of teaching that I would never be able to experience at any UC school because of our large number of students. Even though it was hard at first, I had the most amazing learning experience here.
The most amazing thing about the program were the people, from the other students, to the PAs, program coordinators, the kitchen staff, the waiters, waitresses, the cleaning staff. You could fall into comfortable conversation with everyone and anyone at anytime. It was a close and welcoming community.
I am going to miss the rush of tourist traffic in the early morning when I’m trying to get to class and having fifty different lecture halls depending on my professors’ mood. I will miss the ducks and geese taking flight at dawn from the back lawn of King’s into the River Cam and watching the baby swans grow up. I will miss questioning whether I can step on any span of grass even when I am off campus. I will miss figuring out if we will be eating in the teacher’s lounge or the grand dining hall for each meal and hoarding all the water bottles because our pipes are too old for us to have safe tap water. I am going to miss walking around town and relaxing by the river after classes and taking weekend trips to London and into Europe. I will miss the amazing and hilarious cleaning staff who always made sure I had everything I needed and if I was alright (me lying on the bed feeling like death haha sorry). Even if they woke me up at 8am every morning to empty my bins, I am so glad to have them. Sorry that I was always half-awake when you came in and that my room is always so disorganized. I will miss the funny porters and the PAs and the witty post posts and sassy comments on our Facebook page. I will even miss the giant spiders that sent us running and screaming every time down the hall and made me fall from my dresser onto the floor. I will miss walking out in the morning and seeing the grand King’s College campus against a blue, blue sky. I will miss sitting inside the Pembroke gardens and feeling like I was at home. I will miss all the random coffee shops. I will miss trying to close the gates as quickly as possible so tourists don’t follow me in and I will miss being able to wear my student ID card around my neck. I will miss being a tourist attraction and having people ask me for directions. I will miss everyone laughing together when we thought that pre-meal prayer was done and getting confused by Latin and trying to sit down. I will miss seeing everyone bring out their best clothes and everyone complimenting each other, and just being happy. Most of all, I will miss all the people I have met here-each and everyone of you and all your stories and adventures. We’ll see each other again, most definitely!
Ah. I’m crying.
Here are some pictures from our last formal. It was hosted at St. Catherine’s since King’s was booked for the night but it was the perfect finish the program. The food was excellent: simple and tasted like home, and we got to enjoy another college before we all departed. The moment when the program staff started speaking, everyone really realized that the program was ending and that we would all be going our separate ways. It’s okay, we all got our Pembroke Circle cards and are now official alumnus. These are bonds that will last a lifetime. Although there were around 350 students in the program, everyone, and I mean everyone now share a common identity, an experience that ties us all together.