On the evening of March 26th, I realized that I was no longer enrolled as a student at William & Mary. I discovered this when the William & Mary online portal wouldn’t let me register for classes. Not understanding at first what was wrong, I immediately called the registration office to determine why I was having issues. (I am currently studying abroad in Australia so I couldn’t visit them in person.) The woman who answered the phone informed me that William & Mary currently had me listed as an inactive student. When I expressed my surprise, she followed up by asking if I was abroad. When I told her I was she let me know what department I needed to contact to get my account sorted out.
In the 45 minutes between that phone call and the offices I needed to contact opening for the day: I freaked out over the phone to my mom, emailed all the professors with classes I wanted to take asking them to hold a space, and emailed my study abroad program about the situation. Thankfully, I was able to calm down after talking to my mom and having a few phone calls with some lovely William & Mary employees. It was through these conversations, and some online research, that we discovered that this complication occurred because I hadn’t filled out a few forms that were necessary for study abroad students. I’m not sure how I missed the information that I had to fill out these forms to study abroad, but somehow I had and I recognize that this was completely my fault.
After about a month of talking to many different William & Mary employees to sort out the various departments that my mistake impacted, I am currently on the path to having my courses approved once I return home to William & Mary in the fall. This situation has only reemphasized to me how lucky I am to be a student at William & Mary. Even though this dilemma was completely my mistake and required extra work on the part of the staff assisting me, everyone remained incredibly understanding and helpful. While I can laugh at the whole situation now, during the moment it was terrifying and if it hadn’t been for the reassuring words of countless William & Mary staff members, this situation would have significantly impacted my study abroad experience.
Right now, I’m looking forward to handing thank you letters to everyone that helped me sort this crazy mess so that I can meet the faces behind the incredible staff members that I’ve been communicating with through phone and email. If you take anything from this story, I hope it’s the understanding that William & Mary is a place where it is OK to mess up—there are people here that are more than willing to help and support you so that you can learn from your mistakes and move past them.