Hello! My name is Tom, and I’m writing this introduction in the aftermath of UK A-Level results day. That means (rather peculiarly for the rest of you I believe) that I only just found out I can definitely come to Princeton and Bridge Year! Few! I mention this as it brings me nicely on to what I am most excited about for my time in India. Since backpacking around Central America last summer all I have ever wanted to do is travel, and while I enjoyed school greatly it was always something I viewed as a method of propelling myself to be able to achieve my goal of travelling.
By moving myself to university in a different country, I hoped to build the skills and resilience to be able to live freely and without being tied down to any particular place. I cannot remember exactly what made me apply to Princeton early, but I can certainly say that I am so pleased I did as when I heard about the Bridge Year programme it occurred to me that my desire to travel could be realised before I even set foot on campus. It goes without saying that I am incredibly excited and indebted to everyone that makes this programme possible!
I go to a public school in the North East of England, and I’m the first person from my school ever to have applied to US university. Between working so hard to achieve my UK grades and trying to understand how it’s possible to complete a 5 hour ACT successfully, it’s fair to say that this last year has been a rollercoaster (I’m still not sure what the common app really is). In amongst all this work, sacrifices have had to be made, and I cannot wait to arrive in India and spend that precious time doing exactly what I have dreamed about all these months. That is not to say that I think I know what a Bridge Year will entail, I’m sure I’m in for a colossal surprise! Just that there’s nowhere I’d rather be then on that incredibly long flight with you all in the not so distant future!
At this point you may be wondering why I chose a picture with multiple people in it! For the record, I’m on the right hand side wearing the OTT sandals (wanted to give them a test drive before BY) and offensively pink shorts. I chose this picture, which was taken a few days ago while I was in Croatia with some friends, as I hope I can draw some parallels from it to Bridge Year. I am thoroughly looking forward to visiting some amazing places, such as the beautiful waterfalls behind me, travelling with only the possessions I can carry on my back (and possibly my front depending on how successful packing goes later today), and making the most amazing friends along the way!
In terms of India specifically, I can’t wait to thoroughly explore its culture and the opinions and perspectives of its people. I am currently reading “Third Class Ticket” by Heather Wood which has been a joy, and there has recently been a 4 part special on British TV set in Udaipur. I have been blown away by the beauty of the city – I can’t wait to see it for myself. Finally, my anticipation of the first glimpse we catch of the Himalaya has enthralled me from the first moment I read the old guide for the Varanasi programme, yet I presume the feeling I will get will be far in excess of anything I can conjure up in my imagination.
That’s all from this muddled introduction for now! I look forward to meeting you all a week tomorrow 🙂