Admit It! This blog title is probably not overly appealing on its face but I think it’s a good reflection of where my colleagues and I are at the moment (at least those of us who write with our pens pressed firmly against our thumbs). On my thumb is a rather tangible and painful reminder that it’s reading season; the time of year when admission officers go into a virtual hibernation surrounded by application files, caffeine and pens as far as the eye can see.
Two months, 20 ball-point pens and two delicate, womanly-looking hands ago, reading season commenced. It starts out slow with Early Decision and then crescendos into January and February when my colleagues and I manage to be physically and mentally drained yet also palpably excited about our work simultaneously. Our fingers are calloused from writing and cut from various upturned papers, our shoulders have permanent indentations from our Land’s End file bags (our bosses give each one of us a gigantic Lands End canvas bag with our monogram when we start our work in the offices) which hold hundreds of files and weigh 20-25 pounds. Our backs have a distinct hunchback-like bend to them from leaning over desks/dining room tables/lap-desks. Some of us rise before the sun and read like fiends each morning while others of us sleep until the afternoon and read until the wee hours of the morning (I’m not sure if these blogs are time stamped but in case they’re not, I’m the latter). Whenever we have a spare five minutes we pick up a file and read, read, read.
No doubt it sounds exhausting. And it is. But it’s also enthralling. We are working together to build W&M’s 319th class; a group of 1450 accomplished, smart, talented, diverse students that will become part of the fabric that completes the nation’s second oldest college. We get absolutely giddy over our applicants’ amazing accomplishments, their many talents, their successes, their failures and their humor. We often text each other at some un-Godly hour to mention a great essay we read or to share the stats of yet another wicked smart applicant. We share essays, optional submissions and a lot of anticipation with each other. And we have all of you to thank for that.
So callouses, paper cuts and back pain be damned. We will keep reading, our excitement level will sustain itself and we will continue to enjoy all that you have shared with us until the Class of 2016 is formed. And just in case we’ll keep some Advil, Band Aids and an extra cup of coffee close by.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission