May 1st is a big day. For current W&M students, it means the start of two hectic weeks of finals and one more semester is coming to a close. It means stress and late nights and catching up with friends before we all head our separate ways for the summer. But for some, May marks the end of their last semester as undergraduates at the College. In just two short weeks, the members of the 2012 senior class will walk back through the Wren Building to symbolize the conclusion of their time at William and Mary. It’s a time of sadness, but more importantly it is a time of celebration. With each year, the members of the Class of 2012 have left their mark on this campus. In turn, they have been forever touched by the community found here. They will venture into the world strengthened by the education and unending support that accompanies being a member of the Tribe. And there is no doubt that their presence will be missed on this campus.
May 1st also marks a beginning. May 1st marks the deadline for college decisions and they day we finally solidify the incoming Class of 2016.
For some incoming students, May 1st is a relatively unimportant date. Early decision students have know as far back as December, and other deposits have come in consistently since letters went out in late March. But for many, the decision hasn’t been quite so easy. For those students, the last month has meant long talks with guidance counselors, teachers, parents and friends searching for advice and visiting campus after campus trying to find a place that clicked. Meanwhile, the May 1st deadline crept closer and closer.
And now, the wait is almost over. For those students who choose to attend other institutions, I wish you the best of luck. I hope you have found the right home for you, and that you fully embrace the next four years of your college experience. I also hope that you will look back fondly on your experience with William and Mary. Although this wasn’t the place for you, I hope that you enjoyed exploring the campus getting to know the Tribe.
For those who have chosen to join the Class of 2016 – I cannot express how proud and excited I am to welcome you to William and Mary. Those of you I have had the privilege to meet are so incredibly talented, enthusiastic and passionate about this school. I cannot wait to see what you will bring to this campus, and I have no doubt that it will be extraordinary. As you enter the semester in the fall, I know you will shape this campus community into an even better place than before. But also realize that this place will shape you. The people you will meet here will challenge and inspire you beyond anything you could imagine.
So as I watch the seniors say goodbye to this campus in a few short weeks, I will undoubtedly be sad. Not only will I greatly miss their presence on this campus, but their departure also marks the halfway point in my own college experience. But that moment of sadness will be accompanied with great excitement—I’m excited for the new group of fantastic students that will soon be starting here at William and Mary. For as the college experience of the Class of 2012 is ending, the experience of the Class of 2016 is just beginning.