I’m a New Englander, through and through. I simply love the acoustics of the autumn season in the northeast. I grew up in the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Berkshires of Massachusetts. The arrival of September and the passing of summer’s humidity was always heaven to me. The crunching rustle of fallen leaves, the sigh of cool winds blowing through warm sweaters and polyester winter coats- even the sound of sniffling noses had its appeal. I love hats and gloves, warm red cheeks, hot chocolate and the amber glow of a fireplace after enjoying time outside amidst the oranges and purples of changing trees. I’m an apple picker, a snow hiker and a pumpkin patch visitor… I love fall. So, what a joy it has been to be a part of the Williamsburg community for the past eight years, smack dab in the middle of the mid-Atlantic, and learn that the sights, sounds and smells which so vividly mean “home” to me, aren’t wed solely to New England!
William & Mary’s campus is an incredibly beautiful and festive place in the fall. Colorful poplars, oaks and magnolias line cobblestone walkways, caramel apple cider is a readily available at a number of local coffee houses (Aroma’s and The Coffee Beanery are my favorites) and (despite popular belief) the temperatures do drop. Better still is that this beautiful and festive campus is filled with spirited people. Students and faculty celebrate football and homecoming; Halloween and fall break- and they do it together. They chat about the world around them while enjoying time in the Sunken Garden, they agree (and disagree) over coffee, they plan for spring internships, class syllabi, global study programs and yes- even find time to visit pumpkin patches (Pumpkinville seems to be a favorite).
This past Sunday, I had an occasion to chat with a student who is preparing to take part in a particularly challenging student teaching role next semester. I say “particularly challenging” because she actively sought out a role in the kind of teaching environment she feels least comfortable with. She said, “I really want to stretch myself-to use this time to grow. I know I’ll have the support of my professors and the teacher in my classroom, so I can’t fail.” It is truly a vibrant and diverse group of folk here at W&M and the enthusiasm for learning present during the autumn months seems to be special somehow.
This season, beyond the wonderful autumn sights and sounds which have always been near and dear to my heart, I’m grateful for the things that make William & Mary unique. I’m grateful for the community of people who make their way here, share varied and rich perspectives and inspire all of us to seek out personal growth.
– Jennifer Scott