By Jantsen McBride
Hi friends and family!
A lot has happened since the last time I posted. So please bear with me as I try and organize my thoughts and excitement into words.
I arrived in Lancaster a little more than a week ago. After being dropped off on campus, I proceeded to quickly sign some paperwork and receive the keys to my room. Two English gentlemen volunteered to carry my bags to my flat and, once again, I was thrilled with the fact that I wasn’t lugging my fifty pound suitcases all over campus. I was the first to arrive in the flat. I unpacked my bags and got settled in, noting this was the first time in college where I would have my own bedroom. This was a happy realization as I am an extremely picky sleeper. I’ll admit I’m more than a picky sleeper, I’m a sleep diva. The boys could attest to this while we were in London. I was constantly telling them to turn the television off and quit talking. Princess Jantsen needs her full night’s sleep.
That first evening my building, also known as Brantwood, had a meeting to answer any questions we may have and to familiarize ourselves with our Fresher’s Reps. The fresher representatives are generally second-year students who volunteer to help new students get moved in and adjust to the new college experience. I honestly can’t tell you what we discussed in that meeting the first night. My head was spinning with excitement and new information and new faces. My flat mates moved in the next day. I share the apartment with three other students — Erik, Cindy and Lindsay. Our building contains roughly eight flats, with two flats on each floor. Flat mates share kitchen and bathroom facilities. Sharing a bathroom and kitchen with a boy who forgets to put the seat down and isn’t keen on washing his dishes is an interesting endeavor. But he is a wonderful person and a joy to have in the flat. Lindsay is my closest friend and she’s also an American exchange student from Iowa. I am so lucky to have her next door to me and as a confidant as we share this experience.
Each night this first week was a themed event. They call this intro week to uni, “freshers’ week.” It gives students a chance to make friends, learn the ins and outs of campus and register for classes. Events this week included: casino night, high school stereotypes night, cross dressing night and a ghost walk tour. Fresher’s week is also a wonderful way to learn about your college. At Lancaster, students are divided into colleges based on what flat they live in. For instance, I live in the building Brantwood, within the college Furness, at Lancaster University. Everyone at Lancaster is extremely welcoming and friendly and I have already met so many wonderful friends (and a darling boy!).
Lastly, I must mention a few differences between being here and back home. I am obliged to mention the most glaring difference — the weather. England’s weather is quite fickle, but also kind of lovely. It’s rainy and cold, but you get used to it and you always have something to talk about because of it. Nobody judges you when your hair is a mess due to rain because everybody else looks like a wet rag, too. So I’ve cut down on the time it takes to get ready. Why spend all the time to do my hair perfectly when it’s just going to get rained on? You definitely need a good coat and warm shoes, though, to get around okay. Wet socks are the worst. Another point of difference is the amazing public transportation system. To get to town, I simply walk less than a minute, pay a pound-sixty and ride the bus. If I want to go anywhere in Europe, I go downtown and catch a train for a very affordable price. Bus and train times are every few minutes so you never really have to wait. Very few people have cars here because they aren’t a necessity like they are back at home. The last difference I’d like to mention is the fashion scene here. People in Lancaster don’t care about designer clothing — at all. They embody the hipster mentality of thrift store shopping and eclectic tastes. In fact, no one recognizes the brands that are popular at the moment. One girl told me I had a cool design on my shoes, oblivious to the Tory Burch logo. It’s the same with denim, handbag, and jewelry. People just don’t care. But it’s cool to just wear whatever. I can dig it.
I have been loving every second here. There is so much to see and do and I am in the process of begging my parents to let me stay another semester.