A student from my high school started emailing me a few days ago asking me all kinds of questions about William & Mary. It got me thinking… my time here is almost halfway over. People aren’t kidding when they say that college goes by in the blink of an eye. Now I’m panicking asking myself if I’m I squeezing every last ounce out of my four years here as I can. Let’s call this my mid-college-life crisis, shall we? Looking back on my experiences during the past year and a half, though, I don’t think I would have changed anything. Some of the highlights include:

“Battling the Elements”
During the first few weeks of school I discovered the joy of having to walk to class in the rain. (Invest in rain jackets, people. You’ll thank me later.) More importantly, I discovered how important Wawa was to my personal well-being. One night during September of my freshman year, a group of my hall mates and I were running around our dorm causing all kind of mischief–and let me tell you, this is hard work–so we worked up an appetite. We had a team huddle and knew what we needed to do: Wawa run. We got our wallets and shoes and walked out the door. BAD IDEA. Retreat! Retreat! Williamsburg is at it again! Unfortunately, Williamsburg’s mother nature decides to surprise us with unpredictable weather patterns, and on that night there were flash flood warnings. Wawa was still a priority, though, so we geared up, boots and all, and set off in search of food. We trekked all the way across campus to the almighty Wawa just in time for it to stop raining upon our arrival. We still ate our sandwiches with pride, knowing that we combated the downpour, and saw many of our friends in the same situation. It was time to go back home…when it started raining again. Of course. But, alas, we had to get home. We took off, but because we were already soaked from our first trip, we decided to take a detour. We danced in the middle of the streets because there were no cars out, we went mud sliding in the Sunken Garden, and we made a makeshift raft and floated down the overflowing Crimdell. I don’t think my rain boots have ever recovered, but I think it’s a sacrifice well worth it.

“The Swem Crazies”
As William & Mary students, we do take our studies seriously. We’re here for an education, after all. During the spring semester of my freshman year, I had an exam on East Asian Art that I’d been stressing over for a while. Though I had been studying, the night before the exam came, and I realized I didn’t know the paintings quite to the extent I needed to…CRISIS. One of my good friends joined my in a study room in the library and we cracked down. I reached a point where I just wasn’t retaining information, so my friend showed me a youtube video of a dance called “The Wop” (feel free to look it up—hilarious). Being the terrible dancer I am, I decided to give it a try. A video of me doing the dance that night in the Swem study room is now available on youtube for your viewing pleasure.

“OA Bonding”
Freshman Orientation is a huge part of the experience here. You always get the question, “Oh, who was your OA?” (OA = Orientation Aide) and then the conversation flows from there. Orientation not only allows freshmen to get to know one another, it also allows us as OAs to get to know one another. Little do you know, OAs get to school over a week early in preparation for the incoming freshman class, bonding, chanting, making up weird dances, and eating. Let’s be realistic—the two things William & Mary students value the most: free t-shirts and food. Now all this sounds a little bit odd, but many of the people I met as an OA have become my close friends. One morning during orientation, OAs had to wake up at 6am in order to help freshmen register for classes, and once that was over, everyone got a two hour break to recharge. My fellow OAs and I went downstairs to the dorm lounge and just sat there having life discussions. We quickly realized how tired we were and fell asleep on one another. Someone was kind enough to take a picture of the four of us while we were asleep. It now hangs above my desk.

I’ve come to realize that it’s not always the ‘organized’ activities that make your time here. It’s the people you surround yourself with. You’ll only be in this environment for four short years, so take advantage of the uniqueness William & Mary provides. If you’re a prospective student reading this, know that you need to jump right in and get your feet wet rather than tiptoeing through college. Disregard your vulnerabilities and take William & Mary by storm! (No weather pun intended.)

Joe Foster
Class of 2015

Categories: Campus Life, Move-In & Orientation, Student Blogs, Traditions & Events

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