by Sulan Bailey, United World College Maastricht
7 June, 2021
Illustration by Thalia Lembong
Before I started attending UWC, everyone who had ever met me could say with confidence that I am an introvert. And I would agree. I had a handful of close friends, with whom I spent the majority of my free time, and I would more likely be found in my room curled up with a book or watching Mean Girls for the 70th time than dressed up to go to a party on a weekend evening.
Upon my arrival here, I quickly got swept up in the excitement of an active school community with 200 new and friendly friends, many of whom shared some common interests and passions with me. I dove into this experience headfirst, engaging with the new world around me as much as I possibly could. Throwing caution to the (strong Dutch) wind, I quickly found every day filled with activity and conversation, going from class to meetings to rehearsals to chats with friends and floormates until insane hours. And I loved it. It was an exciting and refreshing change of pace from what I knew back home.
As my time at UWC comes to a close, many of my friends and co-years have expressed feeling some amount of pressure; an internal burden to spend this last month socializing as much as possible, to go to every community event and spend every free moment with friends. However, I don’t really feel that way. It’s now, as I prepare to leave, that I find the most value in the periods when I am alone. The few precious moments that I have to reflect and relax among the chaos of exams, packing and finding the perfect grad dress. In the final days, events and goodbyes, I feel like I’m back where I started: in the quiet moments, at my own pace, looking back on the last two years gratefully and looking forward to my next chapter hopefully.