Wow. Let me tell you: being at AC basically means never having a spare moment. Between classes, homework/studying, service, activities, trying to talk to the amazing people around you, attending the cool UWC events (for example, national evenings), and sleeping, it can get pretty wild. Before I came to UWC, I always wondered what a day in the life of a UWC student would be like, so I thought I would try to lay it out for you, even though it seems an almost impossible task in something as condensed as a blog post. First of all, here's my class schedule:
(Also, not in pictured in this schedule is Theory of Knowledge, or TOK, which we take during our second and third terms; however, I'm now in my fourth term, so it's no longer in my schedule.)
So, here you can see my classes and my service, but we also participate in lots of activities throughout the week. Everyone is required to sign down for two activities every term, and all activities are student-led. The two activities you sign down for are simply your "official activities," so you can end up doing ninety-seven "unofficial activities" if you so choose. I have done a plethora of activities at AC, and I ended up leading a few myself. I led things like Amnesty International, UNICEF, Mock Trial, and Model United Nations. They're all so fun and very different in their own ways.
While at Atlantic College, you can also choose to take part in councils. There's Student Council (StuCo), Peace Council (PeaCo), Sustainability Council (SusCo), and Student Life at Atlantic College Council (SLACC). I chose to run to be a representative in SusCo and SLACC, and the representatives are elected by each house to represent that house's students within the council and bring back new information every week to pass along about the council's initiatives. SusCo does what it says on the tin: it tries to think of new ways to make the school more sustainable. Living in a thirteenth century castle, that's actually more difficult than you may think, as just heating the castle takes such a large amount of energy. SLACC organizes different activities for students of Atlantic College to take part in every weekend, from organized trips to Cardiff to dances in the Bradenstoke Hall. I don't have as much experience with the other two councils, but I have attended a couple of meetings for each. StuCo addresses things that concern the students. For example, they got us free laundry last year, as we were the last UWC campus that still had to pay to do our laundry. PeaCo has different initiatives that generally resolve around cultural understanding, and they work closely with Ashoka, as we're a partner school.
There are also LOTS of different rep positions throughout the school. I was also elected by my house to be a curriculum rep, which meant I met with the Vice Principal in charge of curriculum every week to discuss how to make Atlantic College a better place in regards to the schedule, classes, and syllabi. This was one of my favorite things at AC.
On top of everything else, you can always work to start up your own initiatives. Although this wasn't a new concept to AC, it was one that was dying in my first year, so my friend and I decided to take up BISH again. BISH reps were reps in every house that dealt with sexual health and healthy relationships. It can be very difficult to start up a new student initiative, and we definitely faced some hardships with UK health and safety laws when trying to get this to be an established and school-recognized position. For example, students aren't allowed to give out condoms to other students and things of the like. It's still a work in progress, but students should always try and get initiatives going whenever they can, in my opinion.
I hope this cleared some things up for you, and gave you some idea of what you can expect as an incoming UWC student or a potential applicant! Although there always seems to be no free time, I will try and update this blog a lot more in my last term here. There's just so much material to cover, and no blog can ever do UWC justice. Time here is so amazing and invaluable, but there are also very hard times as well. There were times when I felt I couldn't handle it all. I think what makes this place so special are the people, and they've always gotten me through.