Senior Year Let Down

I thought that I would share the biggest downer of my senior year here at William and Mary. This is not a bad thing, I just let myself down. I let myself down a four story parking garage with a rope, a harness, and three classmates that I trusted with my life.

As a bright-eyed freshman, when I first saw the zip-line spanning Lake Matoaka I was excited. I was even more excited to learn that there was a class I could take that would let me zip 600 feet across the lake suspended by a single wire. Adventure Games is the most fun I’ve had earning credit towards my degree. At only 1 credit hour, it won’t take a chunk out of your schedule, but the release of energy in a constructive and physical manner is such a refreshing and welcome change from my hours in the basement Morton Hall poring over political theory.

At any rate, I wasn’t able to enroll in the class until this fall, the beginning of my senior year. I was fortunate enough to take the class with four guys from my freshman hall as well as a number of my fellow Orientation Aids and Tour Guides. Those who I did not know previously, I already trust with my life. Under the confident leadership of our instructor, Randy Drake, we were all able to master a number of trust activities, obstacle courses, and puzzles that were both mentally and physically rigorous. If you ever have the opportunity, I can’t stress enough how rewarding this class has been.

So back to the let down. We’ve been preparing for a few weeks to rappel off of the campus parking garage. After mastering the correct knots, equipment set-up, and technique, today was proving time. I’ve been looking forward to this day since I signed up for the class over the summer and it was everything I dreamed of and more. After hooking in and getting a final safety check from Randy at the top of the tower, I called over the edge to the relay team at the bottom. We confirmed that everyone was ready and I swung my first leg over the edge onto the small wooden platform on the shear face of the four-story wall. I leaned back slowly until my backside was even with my feet, feeling my weight in the harness around my hips and legs, and slowly began to let myself down.

If you’ve never gone rappelling, go. It’s a rush. I was at the bottom in about 15 seconds and I realized upon landing that I had gained some confidence in myself through this exercise and this class. With the economy the way it is, that last thing I’ve wanted to do is graduate and face the real world and the job market. But after days like today, I realize that William and Mary doesn’t let her students out into the world until we’re ready. We prove ourselves day after day on this campus and these little victories, which don’t seem like much at the time, add up to create the well-rounded, confident, and able graduates this school churns out year after year. I look forward to my final procession through Wren in the spring, letting myself ease into the real world. I know that when I get there, I’ll be prepared.

Mike Wilbur
Class of 2010

Categories: Academics, Student Blogs

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