Hello! My name is Marie Leighton McCall. I am a returning lower from North Carolina and am excited to be a part of Big Red Bloggers!
My first year at Exeter was full of change, challenge, and opportunity. Not satisfied with spending just the school year with my fellow Exonians, I decided to apply for an Exeter summer program and on June 27 found myself in Tokyo with nine of my schoolmates. My host family spoke little English and as a result I learned more of the Japanese language. My friends and I tried too many foods to count, interned with English teachers at Kumon Jr. / Sr. High School in Yokohama, and visited temples, gardens, a hot spring, and some fun shopping districts in Tokyo. It was a wonderful trip and I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with my friends while we toured parts of Japan and learned about its language and culture.
Fast forward to September and you don’t realize how much you’ve missed Exeter until you return from summer vacation and spend your first night back in your dorm. That doesn’t mean you don’t miss your family, but after spending a year living with thirty plus caring, interesting and fun girls, my dorm has become my second home. Turns out getting back into the rhythm of Harkness comes quickly as well. The teachers gave us time to re-acclimate to Harkness, but most of us were ready to jump in. Within a couple of days of returning to school, it felt completely normal to walk along the paths to classes, go to d-hall with friends, and spend hours with five other girls in my room laughing and talking. My friends and I were excited to dive back into Exeter life and one way I chose to do so was to get involved in more clubs this year. In addition, I decided to go out on a limb and sign up for two dance groups on campus, just to try something new. Over the last year, I have learned that Exeter is where I can take chances, try new things, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and find what I love to do.
One of my favorite days of fall term, Academy Life Day, gave me a chance to really spend time with my dorm mates. We had breakfast together in d-hall in our pajamas, spent time in the art studio painting large mugs while often breaking into song, and played games together outside. We had perfect weather and it was a great day to just be together as a dorm and have fun.
I am so happy to be back!