As I mentioned in a previous blog about being an out-of-state student, there’s something about this place that takes hold of you pretty quickly. As you’re meeting new people during the first few weeks on campus and you ask someone where they are from, they will respond with their hometown. However, within a few weeks or months students will start to answer with their freshman residence hall, not the place where their parents live. William & Mary has now been my home for more than a decade. Given that I’ve actually had my mail sent to seven different addresses in those 10 years, William & Mary has been my only consistent home. This coming weekend is Homecoming which is always an odd weekend for me. Because I have worked at W&M since graduating, I’ve gotten to celebrate Homecoming nearly every day for a decade!
While that term homecoming is standard across campuses I think it takes on special meaning for those of us here at William & Mary. No matter where we go, no matter what we’ve done, this place will always accept us and welcome us with open arms. Faculty and staff will be here to support you and celebrate your accomplishments. Friends will be here to laugh with you and work through your failures. This community will be here to carry on the traditions of which we all were a part.
As several of us have mentioned in our blogs, the first tradition at William & Mary according to the 1949 version of the Student Handbook is the tradition of belonging. This is a value that carries more weight and importance than the rest. “Those who come here, belong here”; a simple statement with a very rich meaning. For ten years this institution has provided me with a roof over my head, a steady paycheck, a place to learn, a place to play, a place to grow, friendships of unimaginable magnitude and impact, the love of my life, and a home in every sense of the word.
Home is where the heart is. And my heart will always belong at William & Mary.
– Wendy Livingston