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A Love Letter to St Andrews

Five years ago I started exploring universities. Driving up and down the country with my mum, seeing so many  cities and towns, feeling a rush of excitement as each weekend brought me somewhere undiscovered. I based part of my art and design A-Level around these new places, painting and exploring their architectures and histories through whatever creative outlet I desired. I spent months trying to find a place that would not only set me up for life through a respectable degree but also felt like home. Somewhere that I could move to and see myself thriving there. Continuing to explore and grow and change with each step through my degree.

It was mid February of 2019 when my mum and I made the trek up to St. Andrews. We spent the weekend exploring Fife and touring the university town. I had my first Jannettas; found a cheeky Chinese takeaway in Cupar. And I haven’t looked back since. We walked the beaches, the coastal path, the pier, and the streets. We visited halls, schools, and cafes too. We spent a weekend doing literally anything and everything we could think of to get a feel of the place. And when the weekend was over, when we were getting home from our six(ish) hour drive, I knew where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life.

I find St. Andrews is always beautiful, whether in the rain when it’s looking like the backdrop to a noir murder mystery or in the sunshine and everyone’s clustering around Sallies and St. Mary’s, jostling for picnic space. St. Andrews is undoubtedly a place that anyone would call beautiful. And my time here has been beautiful too. I’ve grown, I’ve changed, I’ve done all the stereotypical things people are expected to do when they come to university and become their own person. I still feel like there’s more to do.

St. Andrews gave me the opportunity to develop interests I never even knew I had. Like completing the first year of a mediaeval history course whilst studying Astrophysics (fun but let me say, life was so boring in the 400s). I joined a sports team and began an obsession with the gym that is still ongoing. And I began putting my writing out into the world. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d do any of that. But my time at St. Andrews showed me that with some courage, perseverance, and outright force of will, I could, and can, do pretty much anything I set my mind to.

Joining women's rugby in second year was a part of my time at St. Andrews that turned my life on its head. I went from hikes and bikes to scrums and rucks in a matter of weeks when it came to exercising. I’ve had my body pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more. Battered and bruised, I see those teams turn up every week, and whether they’re coming off an incredible winning streak or a surprise loss, those players turn up ready to try again. Be better. Learn. They inspire me greatly, and if you take anything from this love letter to this town, let it be that I love that team with all my heart. I’ve watched them grow as individuals and as a team, battling injuries, the tumultuous weather of Scotland, academic deadlines, and more. They’ve grown into a team that not only am I proud of but one they should be proud of too.

If you’re reading this, you’ll know that I’m writing for The Gay Saint. My first writing “job” and one that I have enjoyed immensely. The team here has made writing and expressing myself the easiest, and most fun, thing. They’re supportive, and creatively very gifted. If you haven’t, you really need to go and read any of the other blog pieces here. This team shares so many insights that you’re never lost for a good read. It’s been a great addition to my time in St. Andrews, and has given me the confidence to be proud of my work, to speak up more often, and to always be open for discussion with others.

My time in St. Andrews may be drawing to a close, my chapter turning to its final page. But for many of you it’s just beginning. You’re just starting a journey that I’ve trodden before, and it’s exhilarating. In a few years you’ll be where I am now, getting ready to leave and become something new again, and my hope is that you’ll find your own love in and for St. Andrews the same way that I have. In the people, in the town, in all that you do, I hope you find love in it. I hope you find joy in it. And I wish you all the very best for the rest of your time here.

By Teigan A (she/her)


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