Maybe I don’t need to tell you our student-faculty ratio. You know exactly where and when a Wren 10 happens. The idea of walking across the Crim Dell—or even just swimming it—makes your heart feel something weird, like anticipation and nostalgia at once. You remember exactly what you ordered at The Cheese Shop that fateful day you decided that W&M had to be part of your future. You may also accidentally find yourself browsing for frames for your diploma on the W&M Bookstore website, even though that acceptance letter hasn’t quite reached your mailbox yet.
Or maybe you saw that funky ampersand on a list of colleges, your high school guidance counselor had a W&M poster on his or her office door, or you had a Williamsburg magnet on your fridge for a while. You never visited campus, or maybe you did and just applied to see if you would get in. You’re hesitant to go to college somewhere so close to home, so far away, with no one from your high school, with twenty other people in your graduating class. College might not be the best place for you right now; you could really see yourself anywhere, nowhere. William & Mary is, in gesture form, a shrug. No spark, no problem.
There are hundreds, thousands, of schools that you could have put some faith in, and now you almost have the final say about where you go! It’s overwhelming, but it can also be empowering.
I decided to come to William & Mary on November 30, 2012. Before that, I had been on campus maybe twice: a fourth-grade field trip which may or may not have touched on the Wren Building, and an ill-fated quiz bowl team trip here during the spring of my freshman year of high school. My college search was limited to public, in-state schools, none of which I toured, and I sent out three applications in early October. When I got accepted Early Decision, that was that. My parents and I drove down the day after, bought a grand total of four sweatshirts and three sandwiches, and drove back. Done.
Except for the part where I had no idea what was coming.
I didn’t just pick a name to put on a pair of sweatpants to wear to school the next day, or a place to announce on Facebook. I didn’t even pick an institution to put, front and center, on my resume. When you pick between amazing colleges and weigh where you want to relocate your life on a gloriously humid August day, you’re also picking a future alma mater, and that stays with you, from now on.
Where do you think will push you and challenge you and give you endless opportunities to find and be the best version of yourself? It sounds cheesy or idealistic, but believe me, you don’t have to settle for huge lecture halls, disinterested professors, and classmates who think they’re too cool to do the reading.
William & Mary has a funny way of giving you the opportunities you didn’t know you wanted or needed, like a Room of Requirement with an Honor Code and tons of rogue bricks. This place isn’t special because of a certain label—I’m looking at you, Public Ivy—or from a statistic. It’s more than that. This place will make you work and laugh harder than you thought humanly possible, gives you endless chances to be you, whatever that even means to you.
No matter if you are Tribe Pride incarnate or if you’re taking a more casual approach to this whole college thing, those who come here, belong here. Bring your preconceptions, bring your stereotypes, bring your hang-ups, and leave them in the trunk on move-in day. This place is a whirlwind, and it’s all yours for the taking.