The Odd Mac Out – A JSA’s experience

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St Salvator's Quad

Two weeks ago I was really enthusiastic about my arrival in the so called “Bubble”. Although I hadn’t looked up much about the city, I did have a few ideas about what to expect, all of which were obviously connected with the Royal family and a bunch of students dressed in white and running on a beach.

Has St. Andrews met my expectations? Well, so far I haven’t met any Royals but I have gone running on West Sands. My first impression of St Andrews was that it is a charming town inhabited by an army of students who wear Hunter boots in the most outlandish colours, all of whom own a Mac. I bet at this point, virtually all readers will have a cynical smile on their faces and will admit they have either one or the other or even both.

Was my first impression wrong or not? After a few days I wanted to blend in and since I lack the funds to purchase myself a Mac, my only option was to invest in a pair of Hunter boots (in black though, they have to match almost all my outfits). On Sunday morning I put on my shiny new wellies, and accessorized with a big beige bought-in-the-sales hat, I headed to the Farmers’ Market. After buying a few lovely pies and some free range eggs (which I highly recommend) I couldn’t help but eavesdrop at what the two girls walking in front of me were saying. The two scruffy-looking girls glanced at me for a few second and then one said “Katy, I think we should have dressed up a bit more, after all this is St Andrews”. On the way back home, I must have looked incredibly stupid, as I kept smiling and telling myself “Girl, you’re in, they bought you as a local!”.

When, I got back home and was about to write down my silly little story on my travel notepad, I came across the first sentence that I had written. It was a quotation from Shaw which goes like this “I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.” It suddenly dawned on me that in my eagerness to make St Andrews my home, I had somehow seemed to betray my own identity. However after a few more days spent in this new town, I began to notice that St Andrew has a huge community of different students from all over the world. I guess that is what makes us so culturally rich; the students of St Andrews, may look similar on the surface with our fancy laptops and shiny-boots but, we all have different backgrounds. So, now, I am happy to embrace my old 3 kg laptop and won’t mind being the Odd Mac Out.


  1. Cris I read your article and I think is true, we want to have things that we never use or someone has, we want to be someone who we are not. Be yourself crazy, charlatana and remeber you have only two houses Spain where is you family and Poland where they treat you like a family. Great, true and sad but this is our life.

  2. There’s this old cliche that says “home is where X is” and the other one about house not making a home. I guess they wouldn’t be so old if they weren’t at least partially true. Your identity is always something that grows and changes with you. It’s not something that’s constant and given. Psychology say so too ;).

  3. Beautifully written and I must say I absolutely agree with you. Sometimes not trying to look sleek–as hard as it may be for you, though– is the best decision. Accept who you are and where you come from. If you follow these two points you’ll get wherever you want to…. and as A.Gutteridge said once “there is not better path to reach humbleness and success along with an authentic personality than baring your soul with a smile”


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