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Wrapping Up at WAC: The Home Stretch of My Study Abroad Year

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Well, I've reached the end of the semester and the end of my academic year at Washington College. It's already time for final exams, and with most of campus permanently set up in the library and cramming their brains full of facts, the 2012-13 academic year is officially in its last week.

Before anything though, I ought to tell you about War on the Shore. Each year, Washington College and Salisbury University take turns hosting each other in what many perceive to be the biggest rivalry in Division 3 men's college lacrosse. Dubbed the War on The Shore for both school's proximity to the Maryland Eastern Shore, the game for the Charles B. Clark Cup draws thousands of fans, and this year it took place on home soil. If you're in any doubt of the match's significance, then look no further than the very existence of a Wikipedia page.

In a fixture that Washington hadn't won since 2002, and had not won at home since 1990, a 6-3 deficit heading into the 4th quarter didn't bode well. Yet, a storming four-point run by the Shoremen had Salisbury on their knees, with Washington delivering a 7-6 victory which sent shockwaves around the Division-III world and shot the campus into overdrive. With the majority of students packing The Hill, conveniently located behind the turf for reasons which I'll leave to your imagination, the sense of school spirit in the dying moments was like nothing I thought I'd ever be part of on a college campus. You can check the YouTube video below to see the wild celebrations from the student-packed hill:

I was also able to enjoy a last bit of sport myself, as our football team had two Spring games during April. We beat Hood College a resounding 5-0, and also played our traditional alumni game versus a squad consisting of previously graduated students from the school. I was able to score one final goal for the school, and it was fun to meet those players who had played such a huge role of in the establishment and success of the program we are now proud members of.

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A photo with some of the alumni before our game.

Alas, just like the War on the Shore celebrations and WAC Soccer, all good things must come to an end. It's astonishing to think about just how much I've done, how many great people I've met, how many fantastic places I've visited, and of course how many papers I've written this year. Thus, with less than a week until I board a flight bound for London Heathrow, I am naturally feeling a little melancholic.

They said this would happen. Nine months ago, those wise study abroad veterans who had already worn the shoes I was yet to put on, told me that I'd be standing here nearly a year later, pensively asking myself where all the time had gone. I didn't want to believe them, if nothing else for fear of quelling the overwhelming excitement of my impending adventure. Yet, it seems only yesterday that I first set foot on American soil, enamoured by the sights and sounds of New York and Washington DC.

In reality, a lot of time has passed since I first got here. The green leaves which had welcomed me soon bled into warming tones of red, orange and yellow, and the bare skeletons left behind by the winter snap have once again sprouted vibrant green foliage. The September sunshine gave way to Sandy, Sandy gave way to snow, and the snow gave way to Spring.

D.C. finally saw its cherry blossoms bloom after a longer wait than usual, and people went to the polls in November to re-elect President Obama. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and May Day all came and went, and the ball once again dropped in Times Square. America crowned a new Super Bowl Champion (Go Ravens!), and LeBron James picked up another MVP title. No matter how you put it, nine months is a long time, and I've certainly managed to squeeze a lot in.

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From bare to blossomed: changing seasons.

Making new friends, studying new things, trying new food and drink, learning different words; it's all been part of a wider life experience which I'll without doubt find impossible to forget. There have been ups and downs, both on the field and in the classroom, but I've come out of this better than I could ever have imagined.

Although I am filled with great sadness at the prospect of leaving, the indelible mark that the entire spirit of Washington College and everything it embodies has left on me this year, will ensure that every memory I have of this incredible journey will unconditionally dwarf any amount of sadness. To all of those people who have made this the greatest experience of my life, thank you. I could not have had a better time, or felt more welcome in this wonderful community. Have a great summer, everyone!

Until next time,

George