Once upon a time there was a grand Manor, nestled on a hill overlooking a small, charming village. A majestic building whose stones blended into the English landscape surrounding her, the Manor was breathtaking to any guest who walked through the large, double wooden doors. Lush gardens, oversized state rooms, elegant suites and sophisticated architecture defined the Manor as “perfectly grand.”

And that she was.

Just like every fairytale has heroes, prince charmings, magical characters and plot twists, so does the tale of Harlaxton Manor. If walls could talk we would discover the many secrets absorbed by the nearly 200 year old structure — a structure that thousands would describe as “home.” From grumpy Manor guards and servants, to hobbits and artists who wander the corridors of the estate, the Manor has an elaborate story to tell.

An elaborate story that changes every six months.

The Harlaxton College Spring 2017 semester is a fairytale like no other. Just like the past students have a unique story tailored to their time abroad, so does the class that just departed. And while one rarely lives the Harlaxton fairytale twice, I am fortunate to have two Harlaxton Manor stories.

And I have to admit that my Harlaxton 2.0 fairytale was better than my first.

I told myself not to get emotionally invested in the lives of the Spring 2017 students when I arrived on January 1 as the new media coordinator. There wasn’t really an excuse for me to build relationships and connect with the students. My job required me to live behind a camera, distancing myself from the conversations of those around me in an effort to solely document their Harlaxton fairytale. But here we are, at the conclusion of the Spring 2017 semester and I find myself struggling with the now empty Manor. The floors creak, the silence is deafening and the anticipation of running into students around each corner is never satisfied.

The Spring 2017 semester was one that I found full of laughs, tears, drama and stress. A conglomerate of emotions that would make the old Nolan scream. But with the many laughs, tears and drama shared among the Spring 2017 students, comes opportunities for personal growth, bonding and developments of dear relationships. So while the students saw me as the sassy, sarcastic media intern, I saw them as marvelous individuals who taught me many things throughout the last four months. Individuals that I grew to care deeply about, despite the sarcastic and un-invested façade I often displayed.

Shout out to the students for teaching me things about myself that I didn’t think to discover at the Manor. I was challenged as their residence assistant, I was enlightened by their independence and courage, and I grew to be protective of their vulnerability to the world. I ended up caring about them to the point that I almost hated it. Hindsight is 20/20 and now that the students are gone I wish I had the opportunity to get to know each of them even more. But at Harlaxton we have a way of never saying goodbye because we all know we will reunite in the future. So I end by thanking the class of Spring 2017 for enriching my Harlaxton 2.0 fairytale and look forward to seeing you again to continue our newly found friendships.

And they all lived happily ever after.

—NM

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