Admit It! You’re excited to attend Day for Admitted Students tomorrow. We are beyond excited to meet all of you and have you on campus. I feel old writing this (and I’ve been feeling old all week since I just entered a new decade last Saturday) but my admitted student program at W&M was now well over a decade ago and yet in some ways, it feels like yesterday. And I know with 100% certainty that tomorrow I will retell the story of my admitted student day to students and families alike. What I experienced that day confirmed my decision to attend W&M.
I actually didn’t attend Day for Admitted Students. At the time, Day for Admitted Students and the Monroe Scholar Weekend were held on separate days (we’ve clearly gotten smarter in the past decade and now have those events on the same weekend) and I was invited to the Monroe Scholar Weekend. I really didn’t want to attend the program. I was pretty sure that I was going to attend W&M after I got the thick envelope in the mail (back then there were no “good things” emails…again I’m old) and I didn’t feel the need to get on a plane and fly 1600 miles to campus. I had just returned from my high school spring break and I had an impending mock trial competition to prepare for. Now, in retrospect, I cannot thank my father enough for forcing me onto that plane.
I came to campus by myself (my parents wanted me to come to campus but they took a pass). I arrived on campus late at night. My cab driver dropped me off in front of the University Center (now called the Sadler Center) and sped off. I walked into the building’s lobby, suitcase and sleeping bag in hand. As a high school senior on a college campus I couldn’t have felt more intimidated/uncool/out of place. I couldn’t find the person I was supposed to be staying with only adding to the feeling of intimidation/lack of coolness. Since this all happened long before the age of cell phones there were really no easy solutions to the lack-of-finding-my-host dilemma. I was beginning to feel a knot in my stomach like maybe I had made the wrong decision. My mind began to spin: was it too late to visit other campuses? When were those admitted student programs again? How were my parents going to feel paying for additional plane tickets?
And then, it happened. I got that feeling, the one where the hair on the back of your neck stands up and you know something great is about to happen. As I sat there dejected, overwhelmed and uncool, everyone who walked by me stopped and asked if they could point me towards a phone, take me somewhere, help me find where I was supposed to be going. That niceness lasted all weekend. When I tried to navigate my way from new campus to Colonial Williamsburg I found kind people eager to help me at every wrong turn. When I had questions about my potential major and the Monroe Scholar program, people took time out of their day to chat. I thought to myself that everyone on the William & Mary campus was simply nice. And, if I was going to attend college half way around the country, I might as well go somewhere where people were nice. And that was it. That sealed the deal. The final gut check. It’s now 12 years later and I’ve yet to leave this place. I can’t describe it other than to say this: a) W&M becomes a part of you and b) those who come here belong here. Don’t believe me, check out our new W&M Parents Blog and you’ll start to see what I mean.
So, if you’re like me and not really feeling yet another campus visit tomorrow, set your alarm, wake up early, hit the road and come to campus. We’ll be here to welcome you and to show you what W&M has to offer. Tomorrow, my colleagues and I wouldn’t be anywhere else but campus.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ’09
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission