By Jackie Deacutis
Originally from Massachusetts, Jackie started the Programme at William & Mary in 2013. She is a member of Delta Gamma, joined Anza at St Andrews, and loves to travel! Her favorite tradition is the Foam Fight on Raisin Monday in St Andrews.
It’s crazy to think I am about to start my third year as a WaMStA at St Andrews in just a few weeks. At this point I have spent one year each at William & Mary and St Andrews and have finally gotten to experience both schools, both countries, and both sides of this unique program. I have learned from each experience and feel ready to start the second half of my time in college.
One of the toughest parts of the programme is dividing your time between the two schools because, even though you get to enjoy both incredible places, you have to sacrifice time at the other. When I started the programme, I did not think about this aspect very much and how challenging it would be to leave my new home and friends at William & Mary. However, last year I did my best to throw myself into life at St Andrews and take full advantage of the opportunities there instead of focusing on what I was giving up. I joined societies that interested me like dance and the charity Anza and spent some time meeting new people and making new friends. Even though I missed William & Mary, I really tried my best to appreciate all that was around me at St Andrews and ended up falling in love with the town and opportunities I had there.
Similarly, academics at St Andrews were also an adjustment. I was used to the academics at William & Mary, which were like those at my high school. St Andrews puts greater emphasis on independence with fewer grades and lots of reading – not to mention I had no idea what the 20-point scale was when I started out. I definitely struggled a lot with the different academic system and wish I had approached tutors, lecturers, and even other WaMStAs more for an easier transition.
Despite the challenges, I truly had a wonderful first two years in this program. I have had rich and exciting experiences at both schools and would not trade one for the other. I have had the chance to meet tons of great people, get involved in two special and unique student communities, travel, and, of course, study at two renowned universities. This program does require adapting and willingness to try new things, but I have gotten so much out of it and learned so much from being at both schools.