William & Mary is my dream school. So it surprises people that I only go to my dream school half of the time. Why would you go anywhere else if you already go to the place best suited for you? Its complicated. I am in the Joint Degree Programme with the University of St Andrews, so for the past year and a half, I’ve been in Scotland, pursuing my degree. So effectively, I’ve only been at William & Mary for a year. That doesn’t change how I feel about it for a second. I would use all capitals to help me emphasize, but that is a little aggressive. William & Mary really is and always will be my dream school. My dream school has given me everything I could have possibly dreamed. The Joint Degree Programme with St Andrews is a one of its kind chance, and it wouldn’t be without its other half, William & Mary, that I could be able to do it.
I chose William & Mary because it, as a combination of the students, faculty, atmosphere, and activities, makes me feel safe. I cannot tell you how giddy I become when I see that Historic Triangle sign or when the sight of those old buildings rises from the colonial landscape (ask my family, they’re the one in my car with me when I start screeching). William & Mary has the ability to be anything I make it. The whole institution makes me feel extraordinarily passionate about my work and drives me to constantly excel in myself and my academics. William & Mary is one of the first places I have felt so driven and confident in myself. I cannot begin to express how proud I am to be a student here and to be able to say I go to the Alma Mater of the Nation. There isn’t a moment I don’t miss it while I am in Scotland. Thought St Andrews has a magic of its own, there is nothing like Williamsburg.
In the one year I was a student on campus, I changed so much. I found my life-long friends, I found a community of people I could call family. I was challenged, socially, academically, and I made it through. And come May, when I knew I wouldn’t be back until I was a senior, I was frantic to make sure that William & Mary wouldn’t forget me. William & Mary has become a part of me, and I have packed it into my suitcases, in my backpack everywhere I go. I am so lucky to have found my amazing friend, to have persuaded my younger sister that Williamsburg is her home too (and now she’s a freshman here!), to have forged bonds deeper than the ocean’s trenches. I have to say, William & Mary is home. And wherever William & Mary lives, physically or mentally, that’s home too.
I chose William & Mary because though it’s safe, it challenges me. Let’s start with the Programme. That is something I can barely even imagine undertaking, and I’m currently living it! William & Mary has been pushing me beyond my boundaries since day one, and I could not be half the person I am today. What William & Mary has continues to drive me from 5,000 miles away and I still feel a part of the community across the pond. I have been given so many opportunities from William & Mary and I have been so fortunate to be able to take them. This university has shown me that I can become whoever I want, and that to achieve my dreams, I have to put faith in my own abilities. Somehow, this physical place has taught me metaphysical lessons. I have been able to design my own independent study to pursue a brand new minor to campus, and the faculty has been supportive of me the whole way. You can create your own major, travel to any country; I could list the incredible resume William & Mary has written with me, but that would last a lifetime.
So yes, I have only been to William & Mary for a year, technically. But there isn’t a moment I don’t wish I could be back, sitting on the Sunken Garden, enjoying beautiful swamp weather. The Programme is one of the many things William & Mary can offer you, as it has gifted me. Just as every student deserves a place that makes them feel passionate and energized, William & Mary deserves to have it.