Tomorrow is Travel Day! | Holly Goes Abroad

The day I’ve been awaiting for months is finally around the corner: travel day. Tomorrow I hop on a plane and leave the United States for the first time (eek!).

As I talked about in a past post, I’ll be studying English literature at Mansfield College within Oxford University during this academic year. Even just writing it out like that feels so surreal– I still can’t believe this is actually happening! I can’t wait to solely focus on studying literature for an entire year (of course, the fun adventures and exploring that come along with it aren’t too shabby, either).

This summer has been filled with packing, doing required reading, and preparing in any way I can for the huge leap I’ll be taking. I’m incredibly excited (and nervous!) for what this next year has in store for me!

My plan is to post weekly updates on what I’ve seen, experienced, and done throughout my study abroad experience. Not only is this a fun way to share the experience with others, but it also allows me to have a record of my year at Oxford. I’ll also be posting plenty of photos to my bookstagram (@nutfreenerd) so be sure to check it out!

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me along the way– your kindness and generosity means everything! ❤

Cheers!

Yours,

HOLLY

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AUGUST 2017 | Wrap-Up

August has always been one of my favorite months of the year. I love the feeling of transition that it brings, mostly because for the majority of my life it has meant starting an exciting new year of school. This year my academics are starting a little later (I’m coming, Oxford!) but August nevertheless brought a lot of change for me. Here’s what I was up to last month:

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In August I read a total of 10 books:

  1. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  3. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  6. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  7. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  9. Light in August by William Faulkner
  10. The Portable Faulkner by William Faulkner, edited by Malcolm Cowley

As per usual, it’s difficult to choose a favorite book of the month because I was fortunate to have read many great ones. This month it’s a tie between Flipped and The Sound and the Fury because I love them both for different reasons.

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August mainly consisted of working, reading, and saying goodbye far too often. Many of my friends have left for their study abroad adventures or simply moved back to campus for the semester, which means that I’ve had to say goodbye to them before I leave for Oxford in a few weeks (eek!). Among the many farewells was one to my brother, a freshman at Wheaton this year. It’s so strange to be home while everyone is back at my favorite campus!

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Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month (there are so many!!):

How was your month of August? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

HARD TIMES by Charles Dickens

Hard Times by Charles Dickens is the first book I was assigned to read over the summer to prepare for the English Literature 1830-1910 tutorial I’ll be taking during my first term at Oxford. I was thrilled when I saw this title on the list because I’ve been meaning to read more by Dickens since reading A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations during my senior year of high school. While doing a bit of research I found that Hard Times is often considered to be his least successful and least read work. This surprised me: What was it doing on my reading list, then? Determined to come to my own conclusions, I set out to read this novel in a single weekend.

If this is Dickens’ “least successful” text, then I’d say he’s done pretty well for himself.

I imagine that the primary reason we’ve been assigned to read this novel is its focus on the “social problem” in England during the nineteenth century. The factory workers of Coketown are known as the “Hands” and are nearly always viewed as a homogenous, ungrateful, lazy group by those in the upper classes. Mr. Bounderby, an owner of a mill who prides himself on being a so-called “self-made man,” believes that all Hands have one object: “to be fed on turtle soup and version with a gold spoon”. (In other words, to live lives of luxury without earning it through hard work.) We see how entrenched this ignorant opinion of the Hands has become when Louisa visits Stephen Blackpool’s room and realizes that not only is it the first time she’s visited the house of a Hand, but it’s also the first time she’s thought of them as individuals rather than as a single group. Prior to this visit, Louisa “had scarcely thought more of separating them into units, than of separating the sea itself into its component drops.” On the whole, Hard Times exposes the unjust gap between the rich and the poor and criticizes the way the lower classes are treated as less than human.

An important and fascinating theme that runs through the entirety of Hard Times is the duality of “Fact” vs. “Fantasy.” Thomas Gradgrind impresses the importance of Fact on his children, essentially brainwashing them into believing that fairy tales and imagination deserve no place even in the lives of children. On the flip side of this rigid mindset are the zany circus members that thrive on creativity, spontaneity, and fun. As Louisa Gradgrind grows older she begins to realize that she can’t live a happy, fulfilling life without the emotion and passion that comes with “Fantasy.” I think this theme is incredibly interesting because it’s both connected with and disconnected from the socioeconomic issues of the novel. The coldness of apathetic “Fact” is what allows people like Mr. Bounderby to treat the factory workers like they are mere numbers, whereas Louisa’s internal struggle mainly revolves around her own emotional dissatisfaction. The message here is overwhelmingly clear: a balance between Fact and Fantasy is key.

At the core of every Dickens novel is his undeniable gift for storytelling. I can’t help but become incredibly invested in his stories once I begin reading them. His characters are carefully crafted with unique struggles, desires, eccentricities, and beliefs. Hard Times has been criticized for its “puppet-like” characters that sometimes said to be mediocre representations of actual “Coketown” residents (much of the novel was constructed from Dickens’ observations of a manufacturing town rather than personal experience living there). Whether or not that criticism is warranted, I wish to highlight an important redeeming quality of Dickens’ characters: they evoke emotion and human connection. I found myself holding my breath whenever a plot twist occurred (and trust me, there are many), anxiously awaiting to see how it would affect the characters involved. At one point while reading I actually gasped out loud when something bad happened to one of the characters I particularly liked– needless to say, my family members in the next room were pretty confused. The fact that readers can connect so easily and deeply with Dickens’ characters is a major strength of his work and abilities as a writer.

Though Hard Times is not my favorite Dickens novel, I still believe it deserves to be read widely and often. Definitely don’t let a misleading reputation keep you from reading this gem!

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! I think this is an excellent read whether or not you’ve read Dickens before.

What are your thoughts on Hard Times? What’s your favorite Dickens novel? Which one should I read next? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

“Well, at least you’re reading something…” | Discussion

Have you ever heard someone say to someone else: “Well, at least you’re reading something…“?

I hate that phrase.

I’ve usually heard it said in reference to a “fluffy” romance or young adult novel (Twilight often falls victim to this). It bothers me because it appears to come from a place of supposed superiority, as though the person saying it is somehow “more literate” or “intelligent” simply because they read different books. This phrase automatically categorizes certain books as being “better than nothing… but barely.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Reading is reading.

We talked a lot about stigmas attached to certain genres of literature in my Approaches to Literature and Culture class last semester and it all ultimately boiled down to a socially constructed divide between high and popular culture. This divide has been around for centuries in some form or another and it boggles my mind that people still get righteous and uppity about it today. For instance, we read this article written by Ruth Graham that was published by Slate in 2014. In the article, Graham argues that adults should not read books like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because “if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something.” She asserts that young adult novels are inherently less complex than novels written for adults because the plights of teenagers are also inherently less complex than those of adults. In her mind, “great” literature and “complexity” are inextricably linked, though how she measures this enigmatic characteristic of “complexity” is yet to be explained.

To me, Graham seems like the kind of reader who has likely said “Well, at least your reading something….” at one point. The idea that there is some sort of hierarchy of “great” literature is incredibly frustrating, especially when people are just reading for fun. Who cares if I read Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury or John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars? I’ve enjoyed both novels immensely and see nothing wrong in being able to do so. This is one of the main reasons I try to read a wide variety of literature and reflect that in the book reviews I post on this blog. Reading is reading is reading and there’s nothing wrong with reading what you enjoy.

I might be preaching to the choir here because most book bloggers I’ve interacted with are wonderfully accepting of what other people read. Nevertheless, I think this is a really important topic to keep in mind.

Do you agree or disagree? What are some things people say about what people read that frustrate you? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: MUGS

Happy Tuesday!! There’s still some time until the bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish return with their weekly Top Ten Tuesday themes, so I’m back with another one of my own. Today I’ll be talking about things that are incredibly near and dear to my heart: MUGS. If you know me, then you’re probably aware of my mug problem. I own SO MANY mugs, it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s hard to explain what I love so much about them… they’re just so cozy and comforting and cute. In no particular order, here are my top ten favorite mugs that I own:

1 || The Blue One.

I got this mug at Bennington Pottery a few years ago when I drove up to Vermont to tour Bennington College. Though I ended up not going there for school, I would definitely take a trip back up just to check out that pottery store again. This mug is the perfect size and the stuff it’s made of keeps the heat of steaming tea in for so long.

2 || The One with Quotes.

I received this mug as a Christmas gift from one of my best friends during our freshman year of college. As you can tell, it didn’t take her long to realize how much I love books! This mug is covered in famous first lines from classic novels.

3 || The One with the Cool Handle.

Isn’t this the niftiest mug handle you’ve ever seen??? It’s perfect for when your hands are really cold because you can rest your hand right in there and absorb all of the heat from the tea. I don’t remember where I got this mug, but I love it.

4 || The Figment One.

I got this mug on my first trip to Disney World when I was younger because I LOVE Figment the dragon. Come to think of it, this might be the very first mug I ever owned?!

5 || The Wheaton One.

I adore this mug so much. It’s simple, it’s the perfect round shape and size, and it holds just the right amount of tea. (It’s also great for eating ice cream out of…) I got this at the Wheaton bookstore when I first decided I wanted to go there.

6 || The SGA One.

Being part of the Student Government Association is one of my favorite things about Wheaton. This mug was a Christmas gift to all of the Senators during my freshman year and now I use it as a pencil holder on my desk.

7 || The Pizza John One.

I was SO HAPPY when I got this mug back in middle school because it finally made me feel like an official Nerdfighter. I love this mug so much that I use it to hold my toothbrush and toothpaste when I’m at school. (I bet I’ve freaked out some people in the bathroom that way…)

8 || The Big One.

Shhhh! I don’t actually own this mug!!! Technically this is my brother’s mug, but it holds SO MUCH tea that I can’t help but steal it on chilly mornings.

9 || The One from White Lake State Park.

My family has gone camping at White Lake State Park every summer for the past twelve years. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, so naturally I had to purchase this mug.

10 || The Oxford One.

My amazing parents recently surprised me by ordering this mug from the actual Oxford University shop in England. You should have seen my face when I opened the package—I was ECSTATIC. Just look at this adorable mug! I love the small size, the simple design, and the fact that it’s specific to the actual college I’ll be studying at within Oxford.

Do you have a favorite mug (or mugs!) that you like to use? What do you think of my mugs? Do you have a collection of random things? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf | Review

Months ago when I was choosing what tutorials I’d like to take at Oxford I asked my roommate if she knew anything about Virginia Woolf. She said that she had a really interesting life, particularly the circumstances of her death (she committed suicide and left a note). Based on my roommate’s vague interest alone I decided to take an entire term on Woolf and her writing… without having read anything by her myself. (Look at me being academically spontaneous.) Of course, I had heard mountains of praise about her famous works such as A Room of One’s Own and Mrs. Dalloway, but I knew nothing about her writing style at all.

Eager to brush up on Woolf before heading to Oxford, I decided that she would be one of my priority authors to read this summer. I arbitrarily started with To the Lighthouse solely because it was the only Woolf novel in my local public library. (A discovery that made me stare at the shelf angrily and promise that if I ever win the lottery I will most definitely donate money to this bookish abode.)

+ Stream of consciousness writing style. The first thing that struck me while reading this novel was the stream of consciousness style used. Little introduction is given of the characters, setting, or general premise of the story in the beginning; rather, the reader is thrown head first into a sea of thoughts and worries and hopes that one must wade through in order to understand the story as a whole. Woolf also writes via a variety of perspectives, each one focusing on the inner workings of a specific character. A major strength of this novel is the way Woolf uses this stream of consciousness style to seamlessly flow from one focal point to the next. The transitions are nearly imperceptible in the sense that you don’t even realize they have occurred until you’re already reading in the perspective of a different character.

+ Lily Briscoe. I knew that Lily would become my favorite character from the first time she was mentioned. Her position outside of the Ramsay family makes her perspective one of the most interesting and important views in the novel. I couldn’t help feeling an emotional connection with Lily as she yearns for the support and love of others. She views the Ramsay family as an idealized symbol of love and perfect unity; however, the other perspectives reveal a very different reality. Lily is a constant throughout the entire novel, much like the lighthouse itself. Even when time passes and certain characters come and go, Lily is always there with her painting, optimism, and fascinating introspection. She is both feminine and independent, a contrasting figure to Mrs. Ramsay.

+ The lighthouse. Ah, the lighthouse. It’s the common thread running through the entire novel, that elusive destination so greatly desired by Mrs. Ramsays’s children and so persistently avoided by Mr. Ramsay. The continual emphasis on visiting the lighthouse reminds me of Jay Gatsby looking out across the sound in The Great Gatsby, reaching towards that green light that embodied everything he had been working towards his entire life. Like the romanticized idea of the “American Dream” that Gatsby desires, the lighthouse represents a sort of unattainable end goal. When James finally reaches the lighthouse after years of wanting to visit it, he realizes that it cannot compare to the lighthouse he envisioned as a child. It is interesting to see everyone’s relationship to the lighthouse as the novel progresses, especially in the final section of the novel.

Overall, To the Lighthouse randomly happened to be a great introduction to Virginia Woolf’s writing. This is a captivating, fascinating, thought-provoking novel that sparks endless discussion points with its many intriguing themes. I’m so glad I took my roommate’s advice and chose to study Woolf for a term in Oxford. Hopefully I can read more of her work this summer!

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! I think this is a great Woolf novel to pick up even if you’ve never read anything written by her before.

What are your thoughts on To the Lighthouse? What Woolf novel should I read next? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Kinds of Summer Readers

Happy Tuesday! Since the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish are taking a little break from providing TTT topics this summer, I’ve decided to create a few of my own. This week I’ll be talking about Ten Kinds of Summer Readers. (You know who you are…)

This reader has just a single summer reading goal: CONQUER THAT TBR. Absolutely nothing will stop this bibliophile from checking every last book off of her list by the time autumn comes around.

TBR lists, reading goals, and an aesthetically pleasing agenda book are must-haves for this meticulous bookworm. The Planner knows what she’ll read, when she’ll read it, and what flavor of ice cream she’ll be eating while doing so.

This reader spends the summer doing two things: reading books and talking about reading books. Whether it be recommending books to others, ranting about a recent disappointing read, or gushing about a new favorite, one thing is certain: you never have to worry about having nothing to talk about when this one is around!

This reader simply goes with the flow. They’re so easy-going and spontaneous that “TBR” isn’t even in their vocabulary. They read whatever and whenever suits their fancy without giving a second thought to numbers, page counts, genres, read-a-thons, reading challenges, recent releases, or the latest hyped books.

School might be out for most people, but not this ambitious reader! Whether or not classes are actually in session, this reader is determined to educate themselves by reading a meticulously chosen selection of books.

If you’re looking for this reader, the only places you need to check are ones within a few feet of water. This reader can always be found reading by the ocean, lake, or pool with some snazzy shades and a bottle of sunscreen nearby.

Though this reader is always on the go, she never forgets to bring a book along. You never know when you’ll have time to read while waiting for an appointment, on your lunch break, or even while standing in line at the store (not really, but how funny would that be?).

We’ve all been there: you’re reading in bed, nose-deep in a completely engrossing page-turner, when suddenly you see something outside of your bedroom window… is that DAWN?!?! This reader is perpetually staying up past her bedtime!

This bookworm isn’t just hungry for literature– she always has a snack nearby to crunch, slurp, or lick. Crumbs in the spine? Smears on the pages? That’s simply the price to pay for deliciousness!

This reader keeps up with all the most recent releases and latest bookish treads– and even sets some of her own! You can always rely on her to have the most up-to-date reading recommendations up her sleeve.

What kind of summer reader are you? (If you’re curious, I’m definitely a Planner and a Student at Heart.) Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

My Problem with Shakespeare | Discussion

Confession: I don’t particularly like Shakespeare.

Usually when I tell people I’m not a huge fan of Shakespeare I receive a piercing glare and a disapproving “Really?” This conversation inevitably results in me trying to defend my opinions while undergoing intense scrutiny from the opposing party. Apathy towards the Bard was the norm when I was in high school, but people’s expectations seemed to change as soon as I entered college. Some people apparently view being an English major and a Shakespeare enthusiast as characteristics that always go hand in hand, as though one cannot be the former without also identifying as the latter.

I hate that this stereotype of English majors exists. Though I love British authors like Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte, I’m actually much more interested in American Literature than British literature. Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Kate Chopin– these are the writers that fascinate me and make my little English major heart beat with bookish excitement. However, whenever I hear Shakespeare mentioned I can’t help but let out a little sigh of indifference.

The core of the problem is that I haven’t connected with Shakespeare’s works emotionally or deeply in any way. None of his plays have ever resonated with me personally like other texts often do. Does this come from my general disinterest in the time period? Or maybe it stems from the way I was taught to read Shakespeare in high school without actually seeing his plays performed? Whatever the reason, I find it difficult to empathize with his characters. For instance, Romeo and Juliet frustrated me endlessly with their impulsive decisions, melodrama, and plain foolishness. (Juliet, girl, you knew him for mere days!!)

Sometimes I feel like I’m missing the point of Shakespeare. I tend to take his works seriously and often literally when they’re probably meant to be comedic, ironic, sarcastic, or satiric. It’s probably safe to say that the Bard didn’t support the rash decision of the star-crossed lovers to give up their lives for one another; instead, he was probably trying to show how dramatic, emotional, and intense young love can be. (Never mind the fact that it makes for a really entertaining story.) I’m just not good at picking up on Shakespeare’s humor, which means that most of his works tend to fall flat for me. I completely recognize that this is an individual preference and I’m certainly not blaming Shakespeare for my inability to understand his intent– I just don’t the process of trying to figure it out!

I don’t mean to say that I hate Shakespeare’s works; rather, I’m sort of indifferent to them. Sometimes they’re enjoyable and entertaining, whereas other times I’m counting down the pages until I can close the play for good. However, I can say that I’ve recently gained a greater appreciation for his skill with language as well as his significant contributions to English literature in general. I still plan to continue reading as many of his plays as possible this summer to expand my Shakespeare horizons– fingers crossed I find one that I love!

Until then, the Bard and I will just have to agree to disagree.

What are your thoughts on Shakespeare? Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play? Have you encountered this English major stereotype before? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Liebster Award | 4

I’m back with another Liebster Award! Being nominated for these kinds of awards and tags is always such a pleasant surprise and brightens my day considerably. Thanks so much to May @ Forever and Everly for nominating me!!

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
  • Nominate 11 blogs and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

If you were to stop blogging, what would be the reason?

Probably a lack of time. This happens to me sometimes when classes are in session because I go into total homework mode and basically lose all free time. Fortunately in the past I’ve been able to schedule enough posts in advance to avoid stopping blogging altogether during the semester, but a lack of time to blog is always a concern of mine. I miss it so much when I can’t do it often!

What are some hobbies you have?

Writing, taking bookstagram pictures, hiking, crafting, journaling, knitting, tap dancing… the list goes on!

Would you rather be dead or die? (Yes, there’s a difference.)

Hmmm… this is a difficult question! I think I’m going to say that I would rather be dead because I feel like the experience of dying could potentially be very painful and scary. Although neither of these is a preferred option!!

Do you like mangoes???

Not particularly. I would eat them if someone offered them to me, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek them out.

What book would you not feel guilty about stomping on, tearing, and burning in a fire?

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. I loved The Maze Runner (the first book in this trilogy) but this second installment took the series in a disappointing direction. The story had so much potential but I can’t help feeling as though this sequel squandered it all by resorting to a bizarre, confusing, and unoriginal explanation for the mystery set up in the first book.

What blogs do you ALWAYS look forward to reading? (Or, if you’re afraid your dear readers might feel bad: What type of blogs do you tend to follow? ie. book blogs, lifestyle blogs, writing blogs, etc.)

I always look forward to reading posts by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books. I’ve been following her blog forever and she writes such thought-provoking, interesting, creative discussion posts. She’s also just a really kind and thoughtful individual in general. Definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already!! ❤

What’s one moment in your life you’d choose to play over and over again (aka re-experience over and over again?)

I would definitely choose to relive the moment I learned that I got accepted to study abroad at Oxford for a year. I was sitting in the dining hall at school eating lunch with some friends when I first read the email with the good news and it was such an incredible moment. ❤

You have the choice of reading a book you HATE, every single day, or reading one good book per year. Which do you choose?

Oooh, this is a tough one! Although I would hate to read a book I dislike every single day, I think I would really miss the act of reading on a regular basis. On the other hand, I’d much rather read a book that I actually enjoy. So… I think I would rather read one good book per year.

What’s one food you will never get tired of eating??? (ONE food, people, ONE.)

My mom’s homemade granola. I have eaten this granola almost every day for breakfast for YEARS and I still love it. It’s so delicious!

What would you do if someone walked up to you and gave you 100 bucks?

Thank them immensely and then rush to the nearest bookstore.

How are you right now? ❤

So swell!!

Since I love May’s questions so much I’m going to pass them along to these bloggers as well!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

I’m studying at OXFORD?!?! | Study Abroad

I’ll be spending the entirety of my junior year of college studying abroad at Oxford University in England.

There. I said it.

I was accepted to study English literature at Mansfield College (one of the many colleges within the Oxford University system) back in late February of this year, yet I’ve put off actually talking about it on this blog until now. Why? There are a few reasons, the first of which being that part of me is afraid that it is too good to be true. What if something happened and I ended up not being able to go after I announced it to everyone? (In reality: nothing would happen. I would just have to explain to everyone that I wouldn’t be going abroad after all). Another part of me recognizes the stigma that can sometimes be associated with Oxford due to its academic and social status as a prestigious English university. But I can’t hold in my excitement any longer: I’ll be studying at OXFORD!!!

To be honest, when I first entered college I highly doubted that I would ever actually study abroad. I’ve always been sort of a home-body, preferring to hang out with friends and family in familiar locations rather than go out exploring and adventuring all of the time. There’s also the added wrinkle of being severely allergic to nuts, since airlines and international programs are sometimes not the most allergy aware organizations. Food allergies complicate everything, and travel is definitely no exception. I also worried about the financial expenses of studying abroad– how on earth would I pay for such an adventure? However, deep down I knew that the biggest thing holding me back was my fear of living on my own for an extended period of time. Living on the Wheaton campus an hour and a half from my childhood home was one thing, but living an entire ocean away?! I wasn’t sure if I could handle that much change all at once.

Then one day during my spring semester of freshman year my English major adviser suggested I think about applying to the Oxford program the following spring. He explained that several of the students he’s advised in the past spent their junior years there and absolutely loved the experience. Still skeptical that I would actually take the leap and apply, I thanked him for the suggestion and then proceeded to tuck it in the back of my mind.

I felt my feelings towards studying abroad slowly change as sophomore year progressed. The more I learned about the Mansfield College program, the more interested I became in the prospects of actually going. To think that I could also study at Oxford!! The idea seemed crazy to me, and in many ways it still feels surreal. As the application date neared I told myself that I would at the very least apply and see what happened– given the high GPA requirement and competitive application process, I highly doubted that I would even be accepted in the first place.

And then I received the acceptance email, and everything changed.

Suddenly it was happening– suddenly it is happening. I’m actually going to study abroad in Oxford, England for an entire academic year!! I cannot even begin to describe how excited (and nervous) I am, especially considering that I’ve never even traveled outside of the United States before. I can’t wait to walk through those Hogwarts-esque halls and visit all of the independent bookshops and drink tea in cute little cafes. Most importantly, though, I am beyond ecstatic to be able to spend an entire year focused solely on studying English literature.

I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and so indebted to everyone who has helped me along the way. This is by far the biggest leap I have ever taken in my twenty years of existence– fingers crossed that it’s the experience of a lifetime!

I wanted to bring this up on this blog because up until this point I’ve felt like I keep avoiding mentioning it, even though it’s constantly on my mind. Get ready for a lot more Oxford/England discussions coming your way!

Have you ever studied abroad or traveled to Oxford or England in general? Have any tips or advice? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY