Advice from a Senior Interviewer

Choosing a School

I Admit It! When I was in your shoes in the college admission and application process, I had every idea of what I wanted while simultaneously having no clue whatsoever. “Junior Year Jerry” as I call him, needed excitement and adventure, something far from home, and certainly anything but ordinary. A city school felt like the perfect option – something completely different from what I believed was the “typical college experience.” So, I set my sights on big cities and turned my nose up at my parents whenever they suggested anythings else.

Jerry Shaen on a bench in front of Tyler Hall

Needless to say, when I got to William & Mary’s campus, I almost made my parents turn the car around and take me all the way back to New Jersey. I remember fighting with them on the terrace, thinking my independence began with me asserting what I thought I needed out of college. My Dad, in the most diplomatic way possible, encouraged me to give it a shot and stay for the information session and tour.

What I saw that day was anything but typical. My tour guide, Tony Sung, was giving one of his last tours, and to see what that meant to him was shocking to me. He did not want to leave this place, let alone give that final tour. As he talked about chicken pot pie in Sadler and everything he did around campus, I got the feeling that maybe that “typical” experience was anything but that. And if I was going to get that experience anywhere this would be the ideal place to do so. Turning my back to the Wren Building at the end of that day, I had a feeling I was walking away from my home (but of course I didn’t tell my parents).

And that has been what this place has been to me. I came here because of the chance I was given to meet some of the most intellectual, supportive, and caring people, an understanding I gathered just by hearing them say “Join Our Tribe” to the timid senior overwhelmed by the decision in front of him. I have learned more from those people in my time here than I ever could’ve inside of the classroom alone.

What About You?

I want to encourage you to find that within yourself: what are you looking for out of this experience? Is it an exploration into the passion that drives you each and every day? Is it the opportunity to better yourself? Or is it something that is unknown? I had no idea what I needed out of this experience, but the unexpected nature of it all meant more to me in the end than I think anything I could’ve planned.

Jerry Shaen ’19

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