Senior year everyone would always tell me, “Visit the campus. Then you’ll know.” I’d visited plenty of college campuses by that point, all over the east coast and midwest, yet none had particularly stood out for me. I began to fear the mundane – maybe it wasn’t about finding that perfect fit. Maybe it was whoever accepted you and you made yourself fit there.
Then I visited William & Mary. It was as if the clouds parted and a beam of light seemed to shine down upon yonder campus. After the tour, I described the various traditions to my family: “Another tradition we have is the Yule Log ceremony”… Then I realized – I had said “we.” I was already associating myself with the College and all it had to offer. Something inside of me knew right away this was the place I was meant to be. If it wasn’t apparent enough after my visit, my application was another clue. With no other college application did I actually enjoy and have fun with preparing my supplements. For once, a college that actually realized that no student fits perfectly into 500 words. William & Mary obviously inspired something in me that came alive through my application, and I was happily accepted – as a person, not just as an SAT score or transcript.
There are a million tangible reasons why I chose to come to the second oldest college in America: the traditions, the academics, the unique service opportunities, location. But it truly was this feeling of belonging that truly stood out and made me want to be a part of the Tribe. I did not have to change myself to fit William & Mary. This college, with all its tradition, is unique in its dynamic ability to change and adapt with the times and the individual personalities of the students.
As the stressful storm that is the college admission process fades into the distance, it’s time for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the end of senior year with your friends. It is likely that if you worked hard enough to get into a school like William & Mary you care enough about grades to not let them slip too badly (don’t prove me wrong on that one.) But my one piece of advice for finishing the college search process ON TOP is to go with your gut. What school was the first place you read about or visited and really saw yourself in the cliché pictures you saw? Playing Frisbee, studying under a shady tree, listening intently to a professor… they may be cheesy, but they really do happen. Choose the place at which you will see them happening for YOU – not your parents or friends.
– Anna Mahalak ’12