Arriving at AC

My T. Dang (UWC AC 2007-2009)

If someone would have said something like this to me three weeks ago, I would have answered: ‘Yeah… I have no idea what you mean!’.

Now, after two intense weeks at Atlantic College, I know that ‘Sosh’ is the Social Centre, that ‘DT code’ means Design Technology class and find myself using “AC-Slang“. In fact, I start to find my way through the castle (which means that I only need three attempts before finding the right curve), say “I’m going back to my house“ when I mean Tice and even get use to the dozens of “Bed of rice“ we get every week. Is it possible that it feels like I would have been here for months instead of two weeks?

How excited, nervous and pleasantly anticipated I felt on my arrival at Heathrows where I met my Second years and Coyears for the first time. I stepped out of the terminal and was immediately picked up by Second years and Staff, who got up in the middle of the night and waited for us First years the hole day at the airport. It was amazing to see how much effort and energy was put into to let us feel comfortable and welcome, especially when the bus finally arrived at the college and we faced a bunch of banging, pans swinging and shouting Second years, heartily welcoming us at AC. But even though everyone tried to be as nice as possible, it was quite hard to adapt to the new situation, facing a totally new environment with hundreds of new people, new faces, names, countries and cultures in just days of time. Therefore it might seemed to be incomprehensible that we should leave AC so soon for camp after we just had arrived. But actually it was the best thing that we could have done.

Camp was just incredible. Amazing! I’m sure that if someone in ten years would yell „AC!“, I would still immediately answer with “CAMP!“. Also would we remember all the hilarious, annoying and weird stories, jokes and songs from Camp that no one else would understand – ‘Jack, you’re late’, ‘Bananas of the world, unite!’ or when (a) guy capsized a full bucket of spit out water. Not only the stunning landscape, the get-together by the campfire with hot chocolate afterwards, the funny and frisky games in the barn, but also all the exciting activities during Camp like surfing or coaststeering will be kept in our minds. Those three days were really eventful indeed.

But of course there are not only funny and nice memories of Camp – moreover, there are lots of really bad ones… which in my opinion are at least just as well important as the nice ones. Twelf and more people in one tent, uncomfortable nights on the hard ground, cold (or even wet) sleeping bags and therefore aching limbs in the morning was troubling every First year, not to mention the fact that all of us were smelling due to lack of showers. I would not go so far by saying that we have „suffered“ together, but definitely this discomfort will be something that will connect us for a long time. In many years of time I might meet a Co-year and we might reminisce: “Did you spring from the highest cliff during coaststeering? Or do you remember the awful dirty dishes?“ but never anyone of us would have said: “Do you remember the nice bathroom of the hotel we stayed in during induction?“. Camp was a great help for us to get to know each other because no matter how different we might be, Camp was something that we all had in common, that stuck us together, that all of us had to endure and all of us enjoyed. So the most remarkable thing about Camp was definitely the spirit that rose among the students.

Another very important aspect of Camp is the realisation of how much comfort we get here at AC and in general without appreciating or even noticing it. I’m sure that rarely anyone will ever moan about community showers or shared dorms again for that we got to know how it feels to have no showers, beds or any private space at all. We learned to appreciate and started to long for AC during Camp and got familiar with the other students. The start was given for us to settle down.

For the rest of the time, induction was continued with introductions of services, subjects, activities and the campus. Again, Second years and teachers tried to help us as much as possible to find the right service and subjects. Now, after we have chosen these things which form the „frame“ for our time at AC, life begins to get more and more orderly since we start to accustom ourselves. Nevertheless this does not mean that life would become routined or even boring – unimaginable for AC. It is just (a tiny bit) less stressful, less tiring as induction has been, but although still intense and exciting on every new day. I am sure that everyone of us is looking forward the next two years since we have had such a nice welcome and start here at Atlantic College. Thank you all for that.

United World College Student Magazine

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