It’s three in the afternoon on the last day of work–the calm before the storm.
The last day has been surprisingly tame (excepting the 3-minute group rendition of “Proud to be an American” in the basement hallway, which was cut down in its prime by Dean Livingston’s announcement that she could hear the noise in her office on the next floor up). Come 5:00, I’ll wash out the crusty oatmeal bowls that have been accumulating in my office, wrap up the internship that has exponentially increased my love of the College, and start the work on orientation.
It has been strange to see heightened levels of activity on campus lately. The college is stirring again; people are arriving back in town, formerly unlit windows in dorms brighten up at night. It makes me a little sad. For a summer, rather than the frantically active place it usually is, the College was a hallowed nook, an empty playground–we had the place to ourselves. As senior year begins, relinquishing this sense of total ownership will be difficult. Once everyone comes back, the madness starts, and once the madness starts, senior year begins. And after senior year–?
Working in the Admissions Office has been a glorious job, minus one thing. In the lobby, it’s tough to overhear snatches of conversations in which the dearest place in the world to you–where you’ve developed as a person and a scholar for four years– is reduced to a commodity, a few statistics and a price tag. I guess that’s the game we signed up to play as the college process gets increasingly more competitive, but it is heart-breaking to hear prospective students and their parents completely ignoring the soul and the intangibles of William and Mary sometimes. The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about giving tours is that I am able to possess and to be the College, at least for an hour (usually more like 1.5 because of my freakish verbosity), to make sure people hear the whole story.
That idea of possession, and losing it once I graduate and move away, has been on my mind a lot lately. I loved high school, but rarely visit anymore. The place just doesn’t feel like mine. I ate lunch on a bench by the Blair statue yesterday and wondered if a day would ever come when I felt that way about William and Mary. It was a beautiful day and the spot was so peaceful, and I sat there getting emotional and just hoping it never happens that I have a chance to come back and pass it up.
That’s enough of me waxing philosophical. For anyone who might’ve scrolled down to the end to see when the hell this blog would stop, here are some closing words. To any prospectives: make sure you talk to students wherever you visit and don’t just go by the numbers when you look for a college. You’re missing the most important part if you do. To W&M alums: come back and visit. I firmly believe that you own a piece of the school once you’ve been here, and don’t let years or distance diminish your sense of ownership.