In the weeks leading up to my departure for Harlaxton, I spent hours scouring the internet for each country I wanted to travel to on the weekends. My list included big hikes in Ireland, canal tours in Amsterdam, and oceanside resorts in Greece. However, when I got to Harlaxton at the beginning of this semester, those plans came to a screeching halt.

I wouldn’t say my plans were ruined, but I got a big reality check. Travelling to major cities every weekend is expensive and stressful. Even though I realized this, it didn’t make the let-down any easier. Frankly I was disappointed and felt like I was wasting my time at Harlaxton if I didn’t go adventuring every weekend. I didn’t want to spend weekends in the UK, I wanted to see Paris and Rome. I just knew that I wouldn’t enjoy my semester if I was “home” when others were out travelling.

Yet, after just one short week, I proved myself wrong. I noticed that every day, a new part of Harlaxton Manor revealed itself. My mindset flipped completely. Not only did I feel truly at home, but I wanted to spend as much time here as I could. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on seeing Paris, Rome, and so much more, but I feel so lucky to spend time at the manor as well.

The manor itself is just as grand as everyone says it is. The architecture both inside and out is truly beautiful and leaves me in awe every morning. But it’s the little things about Harlaxton that really make it a special place. Little things like Waffle Wednesday and Sunday night roast. Or the way that the Junior Commons Room is freezing, yet no one ever seems to leave. I love the lights in the Bistro and the quiet music that plays while I do homework in there. I feel so lucky to pass by windows every day that give a view of the grounds that I have never seen before. It’s these small things that make me want to stay at Harlaxton every day.

Not just things, but people too. Every member of the staff is truly caring and most make it a point to remember your name. Nothing makes me smile more than being greeted by Joanna in the Carriage House every morning and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder than when Kurtis joins us for karaoke. Making everyone feel seen is a large challenge to tackle, but no one shies away.

Every crack in the wall and creak in the chairs is a sign of students who came before me; students who have called such a grand place their home. All the students who came before me and all those who will come after me have experienced the little things Harlaxton has to offer. Yet, the things that make us comfortable are often the most overlooked. If you come to Harlaxton, which I highly recommend you do, look around for these things. Don’t get too caught up in trying to leave the manor, because I have a feeling it is these things I will truly miss.

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