For the past year and a half, I have whipped in a golf cart across campus as an employee for Student Accessibility Services to help limited mobility students get around campus. I decided to put my skills to good use during commencement. During the golf-cart training session, they asked who had driven a golf cart before, and I sarcastically said, ‘please, I do this for a living.’ Volunteering for commencement was exciting, the end of an era, but also the beginning of a new chapter for so many.
I loved the sentiment that spread across campus. Families of two, four, and sometimes more individuals than I could count. I would drive from the ceremony to parking lots offering rides to families who lit up with thankfulness from my offer.
‘Who are you here for?’, I would ask. Hoping that I would know the graduating senior, yet I rarely did. I always describe William & Mary as the perfect sized school, small enough to know at least one person anywhere you went, yet big enough to see several never before seen faces in a short 5 minute walk across campus. One rider, a grandmother, got so excited when I knew her graduating grandson that I didn’t even notice her call him on the phone until she asked for my name. I laughed, and quickly commented that I didn’t know him that well, just knew of him. Apparently, he said hi back, so I guess he knows me (or perhaps he was just being courteous).
Volunteering at commencement is an opportunity for any current student, and I got involved after my freshman year. I loved driving the golf carts to assist individuals with limited mobility, mainly because my job was literally to sit in a shaded area, meet new people, and do what I do best — baby-driver golf cart edition. I got a kiss on the cheek, the camera was pointed at me more often than you might think, no requested autographs, and I almost got tipped $20. I had to explain, I am a golf-cart escort, not THAT kinda escort.
It’s unbelievable that I am half-way through my college career, and I am looking forward to graduating. However, I recognize how quickly time passes, I am taking my time and savoring every minute. Most importantly, I am taking the advice of the upperclassmen who precede me to get involved on campus, make great friends, and create the best memories.