I'm a University Student.
That's right - capital U, capital S. University Student.
I paid my dues (literarlly, the university dues, not like "I paid my dues" as if life had treated me so badly that I paid for it with tears, sweat and pain... I just slid my card and paid my dues. No tears. No sweat. No pain. Kinda anticlimactic, now that I come to think of it...) earlier today, and tomorrow I will get my official ID and my official documents and my official schedule (which I already know, btw. It's awesome!). So I guess today I'm a university student, lower-case u and lower-case s. But as of tomorrow, as of tomorrow I get to officially place capital letters on those two words!
A city viewed from the perspective of a University Student (I've waited 8 months, I get to use capital letters a few hours before it's official, ok?) is completely different from the city viewed from the perspective of a "normal" person (OMG, I just made it sound like university students and University Students are abnormal... but that's OK. We are. Right?).
I don't know if I would appreciate Augusta as much now, an ASU Alumni (alumn? alumna? alumnus?), as I did during the four years I spent there - the best four years of my life, no doubt.
I got to experience Kiel first as a normal person, as a normal citizen. It was interesting, it was new, it was first world, it was... it was a city. A normal city, filled with normal people, with a normal routine.
But as of tomorrow at 10 a.m. my time, as of tomorrow I will get to experience Kiel as a University Student. I will be surrounded by people who also crave further education, who use big words and don't find it arrogant. I will walk around a city within the city (you actually have to ride a bus to go from one building to another, that's how big it is...) having the confidence that I belong there, that I know where I am going and where I came from (though, let's be honest, I might have the confident face on, but I will more than likely be lost all the time...). I will deal with topics that only a few select find interesting, I will be able to ask questions without being laughed at (the laughing is mostly due to ignorance, I know, but it doesn't hurt any less).
I will return on the path I left six years ago. I will go back to school, I will go back to being taught, I will go back to taking notes.
Looking back at the last 6 years, and thinking about what the next 6 might bring, I don't regret having left that path. I don't regret it at all. The past 6 years have included more growth experiences, more personal insights, more deep, strong emotional connections, more... well, more, than in the past, ahem, 23 years.
Yesterday, I was a person, a normal person (lowe-case n, lowe-case p). Today I am a university student. Tomorrow I will be a University Student. Again.
Capital U, capital S.