One thing I had forgotten about Williamsburg is that in the fall, all the trees change colours. Like, brilliantly so, and I had totally forgotten. St Andrews doesn’t really have enough trees for me to witness autumn on such a grand scale. There were so many things I had forgotten about William & Mary that now, when I am reliving them, I am filled with an inexpressible amount of awe. I can’t help but compare Williamsburg to St Andrews because as a student of the Programme, you do it unconsciously. Between St Andrews and William & Mary, I think everyone has a favourite. Or at least one that they prefer over the other. Or maybe they like both equally. This isn’t a bad thing, nor is it an uncommon thing. You should not feel ashamed for preferring one campus to another; everyone is allowed to play favourites.
This isn’t to say that I haven’t found things I love about both places. I love British spelling and footnotes and word counts. London Fogs from the Old Union (I really suggest you get one and also the punch cards; so useful!). I love the smell of salt air on a green golf course and Tesco meal deals. I love how it’s sweater weather almost 24/7 and how when it hits even close to 60 Fahrenheit/15 Celsius people are sunbathing in the McIntosh cabbage patch. I love how my only pair of boots reverberates wildly in the quad and the feeling of a strong North Sea wind pushing its way through tall doors. I even love the sound of seagulls perched on the tops of cobbled towers, shrieking at the tops of their lungs at 7 am.
And I love the Barnes & Noble renting policy and the walk from the Wren Courtyard into Colonial Williamsburg. I love Wawa and the iced chais from the Grind and how quiet it is at 10 am. I love the willow tree by the echo wall and pictures of the Wren Building. The chorusing of the Alma Mater at random times. I love the groups of friends greeting passersby and how the sound of the Crim Dell subtly plays in the backdrop of the Terrace. I love the Sunken Garden, early in the morning, in the middle of the day and late at night. I love the colour of the sky at twilight and College Delly’s warm light spilling onto Richmond Road. I love the sound of soft shoes in the Tucker Atrium and ringing laughter from the Wren portico. I even love the never-ending construction, drilling and banging for what seems like an eternity.
It seems like I have a lot of things to love, but I assure you there are also things I didn’t think of so highly. Maybe I’ll try and make those poetic one day. But there is so much to say about both schools that it is impossible to contain to one conversation. And my experience is most likely totally different to someone else’s; everyone experiences the Programme differently. None of that is bad nor should be discounted as better than another. The Programme lets you have the best of both.