Last week, I traveled to Oxford University for the first week that I have ever spent away from home. The UNIQ summer school is an opportunity for people from public schools to experience university life and their prospective course which, for me, was music.
It is hard for me to explain the anxiety I feel just at the thought of leaving home for more than a night. I do not expect anything bad to happen; I don't even think that I will not enjoy where I am going. And yet, the thought still terrifies me. I said goodbye to my parents with a genuine feel of panic that I could neither justify nor curb.
And yet, from the moment I first introduced myself to one of the many, wonderful UNIQ mentors, the panic just left. Surprise, surprise: the world did not collapse around me.
Image sourced from here.
Instead, I had what was most definitely one of the best experiences of my life so far. I was given the opportunity to explore somewhere I've never been whilst doing things that I have never done before. I was reminded that yes, I do actually have opinions (on things other than politics) and not only am I allowed to state them: I am allowed to explore them.
But most importantly, I met so many amazing people, twenty-two of which I had the pleasure of living with for a whole week. It is their amazing personalities, their passion for their subjects and, above all, their hilarious minds which made my week so, unbelievably amazing.
Sat in the car on the way there, I very nearly chickened out. The risk of upset very nearly allowed the wuss in me to not even try. Had I not gotten over myself and just tried, I would have missed out on something that has not only provided me with invaluable help in terms of planning my future, but has given me an experience that I am unbelievably lucky to have had. I have friends for life and memories to remember.
And suddenly, the thought of spending more than a day away from home seems just that little bit less scary. I have all of the incredible people at UNIQ to thank for this.
Want to know more? Visit the UNIQ website.