I’m new. New to UWCSEA East, new to the UWC message, new to Singapore, new to everything.
It’s a refreshing in a way, like a reset button. My past all hidden away in another country and my future to be anything I desired.
Back home they would call UWCSEA East a “prestigious” and “pretentious” school but a school is only what you make it out to be.
I found out in March. I had just come home from a conference with a friend when my mum said from the couch “WE GOT IT!” and I knew. We were moving to Singapore. My life was about to be turned upside down and everything I knew was about to change. The first order of business was the school. UWCSEA was at the top of our lists and we wanted to shoot our shot. Endless nights spent up with the neighbours parents planning and evaluating what to say and understanding why we wanted what we did. Once we had the confirmation from the school that we had passed the first round I was ecstatic. I, Lavanya Kauffmann, had made it pass the first round of the UWC admission process. I remember telling everyone and showing pictures of the school to anyone who wanted to see. Next was the emersion day. I rehearsed what I would say to every question at least 53 times. I remember going in, in business casual attire and getting weird looks from all the other candidates who were dressed casually. It was a good day. I was confident of who I was and why I wanted to join the school and I was more excited than nervous.
Three days later I found out that I had made it and we were jumping around celebrating for hours. We went out for a special lunch just to commemorate it. Now all that was left was to actually move. So we packed up our house, and came with all my pets and chaos.
It took us a full two months to move in and it wasn’t an easy process. Majority of the time was spent lugging boxes around. But throughout it all, I was counting down the days till August 15th, the first day of orientation. I met up with one of the girls from my interview who made it into Dover and we spent all day planning and discussing school.
Eventually the day came and it was my orientation. I had my outfit planned out, when I would see my mum, everything down to the minute. Walking into the school filled my with a mix of adrenaline and fear. It had been 6 years since I had been the knew kid and I was determined to do it right. I had done my research before and made sure to go out of my way to say hi to everyone and ask as many questions as possible, all while my insides were screaming butterflies in fear. I managed to get people to remember me with silly puns to my name but I could not remember a souls name for the life of me. I would definitely say that going around saying hi to everyone helped me today, a week later, because it gave me people to hangout with and we all had something in common, fear of the unknown. In fact on Tuesday this week we all went out and are planning to go out with all of FIB on Saturday to a picnic.
The one thing that was constantly repeated was how much of a community the school was and how everyone always got a long and were depended on each other but when you’re an outsider, all you hear is that everyone already has someone so they don’t have space for you but one week later I can safely say that I have a better understanding of why it’s called community and I can’t wait to learn so much more.