Atlantic College: Expectation vs Reality

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Article by Wiet Debruijn (UWCAC 2016-2018)

It is now well into October and the school year is well on its track. Strange to think that just a year ago I was studying in Amsterdam. These past six weeks have gone by so fast yet it feels as if I have been here for months. AC is a community where you feel comfortable excitingly fast. I know more about some of my friends here than I ever have of some of my friends back home. Friends here are friends for life, but how do the pressures of grades and social interactions play into this? And how is this place different from what I expected?

When I first heard I was accepted into UWC I was so thrilled and then hearing I got into AC, my excitement only increased. AC has such a huge legacy and I was so proud to be able to become a part of it. From that day onwards I was already preparing myself for how it would be. In my mind this was a place for a bunch of teenagers, all in the same state of mind, wanting to change the world for the better. However is this really how everyone feels here? I expected an idealistic community, where everyone lives in a bubble of promoting peace, equality and acceptance. We would all be holding hands and singing songs. I am well aware that this is the most stereotypical image of UWC, but that is a it’s portrayed but it’s advertisers. The reason I applied to UWC was because I wanted something different and I wanted to be around people that inspired me. People that lived and followed the mission statement and obeyed its meaning.

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Photo by Yanting Chen (UWC AC 15′-17′)

So far my expectations haven’t come true. We do not hold hands while singing songs, at least not outside of my music therapy sessions, and we do not all have the same beliefs. But what we do have is originality. Everyone has a passion, and everyone has their own interests. What makes us come together is our ambition and somehow, our uniqueness. Since we are so different, we can easily discuss or argue with each other about anything. People from two countries that are usually at war with each other, are now in the same house or dorm and are probably forgetting about those conflicts. This is also mainly due to the bad wifi. AC is different from what I expected, but it is a good type of different. I somehow always knew that this was not an ideological school, however it does not have to be. I just love people’s embraced individualities; their unique styles, their colorful accent, their weird interests and the special ways in which they act. At AC there is someone and something for everyone. Everyone will always find something to keep themselves busy with and this will always help them find friends wherever.

AC is very different from the fairytale place it is made out to be, however that is what makes it such a special place. It does not have teenagers all in the same state of mind, but that is okay. That is what creates the diversity in some way. If everyone at AC would think the same way, it would be a very boring place. If everyone had the same views on the world, then what would we even talk amount amongst each other? If people wouldn’t be different then AC wouldn’t be as interesting and discussion based as it is. Although not everyone has the same views on the world, this is what makes us unique, and this is what makes the UWC community so valuable. People from all over the world coming together to discuss beliefs, always accepting one another. Diversity is what makes AC such a great place.

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