When I was first deciding where I wanted to spend my fall semester, I remember reading reviews from past Colby students for Williams-Mystic. One review said that the best part about their WM semester was the aspect of communal living. I remember reading that and thinking that if the best part was just the housing, that this program couldn’t be all that great. But having completed my own WM semester, I whole heartedly agree with my now fellow WM alum. I learned so much and had so many new experiences in Mystic, but what made that all so incredible was the people I did it all with.
I remember sweating a line on the Cramerwith Devon. It was dawn and the sky was a vibrant pink, surrounding and bathing us in its soft glow. We were all laughing about something I can no longer remember, and struggling to pull the line as we were doubled over and in tears. A northern gannet flew by our port side and I pointed and yelled, causing Devon to crack up even more at my nerdy outburst.
I remember watching grey whales feed from the shore in Oregon. My classmates and professors and I stood leaning over the guard rail to peer down to the water off the cliff face below us as 3 grey whales lazily explored the kelp beds.
I remember kayaking through the bayou, watching the birds and admiring the meanders in the stream, all the while racing my classmates in our tandem boats.
I had the most incredible time this semester. I learned so much, and experienced so many things I otherwise never would have done anywhere else. But what made it so special were the people who were by my side every step of the way. I pulled all-nighters in the science building with my policy group. I sang sea chanteys with my professors. I met my best friend in my living room.
I write this sitting on my bed at my house in Maine. I’ll need to get used to not referring to my Mystic house as “home” anymore. This semester was one of the best experiences of my life. I pushed myself further than I thought I could, I learned more than I could have anticipated, and I made connections that will last a lifetime. I’ve been home for two days and I’m dying to be back in Mystic, walking the seaport grounds or studying in a cafe with my friends. I never thought that my “abroad” experience, just 4.5 hours away from Colby, would impact me in the way it did. I grew so much during this semester and I can’t wait to see where that takes me.
Until then, I’m taking this time to reflect on my days spent in Mystic, and to get ready for the next adventure. I’m home for two months before heading off to Valparaíso, Chile, for my spring semester. There are lots of sea chanteys about Valparaíso that I’ll be sure to freshen up on before heading off.