So, I’m a senior.
It’s still a bit of a shock, actually. I mean, I’m waiting for this big, huge, transformation where I’m going to suddenly look like a grown-up, not a little kid (I mean, surely there’s an indicator other than height? I’ve given up on breaking 5 feet…). When I was a senior in high school, I had it all figured out. I knew where I wanted to go (incidentally, I got into William and Mary early decision; it was the only school I applied to), and I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Then, around my sophomore year here, the panic set in. I realized that to go on and get a job in the “real world,” I had to make more decisions, and take more tests, and get even better grades. It was a huge shock. Graduate School is something that the high school guidance counselor doesn’t tell you about at all…and once you hit college, you’re expected to figure out the whole application/decision process on your own.
But I figured things out, and I’m really glad for it. I took the LSATs, and I’ll be applying to law schools this semester. I’m not naive enough to think that I know exactly what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, but I’m hopeful that I at least have a pretty good idea as to where I’m going and what I’m going to do when I get there.
Anyways, being a senior, I can look back on my college experience (I mean, I’m 90% done, right?) with both nostalgia and regret. That being said, I have a couple of lists:
The Top Three Things I Regret (Doing and Not Doing)
[three]: Not Trying Out For a Main-Stage Play: I was a theater person in high school, but more of a backstage, pit orchestra theater person. I didn’t really act all that much until I came to William and Mary. While I’ve been in several student-run productions (“the Vagina Monologues” and the bi-annual Director’s Workshop are two of my favorites), I never got up the courage (or made the time) to try out for a main-stage production. I wish I had. College is about getting the courage to try new things, and I had an amazing support system of friends and family. The only thing holding me back was myself.
[two]: Not Really Planning Out my Post-Graduate Career Until Later: While it is incredibly naive to assume that as a freshman, you can plan absolutely everything in terms of your academic goals and aspirations, I wish I had the gumption to realize that I could be a double major (English and Music) before my junior year. As a result, I didn’t have enough time to complete a second major. I have a music minor, but I think I would have been happier if I had just decided earlier. Also, I wish I had started prepping for the LSATs sooner, to allow myself multiple attempts. I’m happy with my results, but I wish I had the chance to see if I could do better. I feel like you need to assess your future at the beginning AND the end of each academic year. Otherwise, you’ll end up panicking and unsure.
[one]: Not Instituting a Work-Out Routine for Myself Throughout All Four Years: In college, you gain weight; it’s pretty standard and expected. A lot of people here did sports in high school, but then didn’t have the time to go to club practices or even intramural games. I was one of those people. Thankfully, I lived in Botetourt my freshman year, so I was really close to the gym…but then it got harder (the only really bad thing about living in Jamestown is that it’s a little bit far from the gym). I’m working out now, but those two years in between were really rough on my body. Walking/Biking everywhere just isn’t enough. If you don’t want to gain those “freshman fifteen,” then you really have to go out and exercise. Also, Wawa is NOT a healthy choice for every single meal. Unfortunate, but true.
Now, on to the AWESOME part 🙂
Top Three Things I’m Glad I Did
[three]: Took a dance class. Taking a dance class is something that I feel like everyone should do. It’s a great way to express yourself, AND work out. Also, dance classes are INCREDIBLY fun. I only wish I had taken more than Modern I. In general, I feel like you should take at least one “fun” class per semester–a class that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with your major, but that focuses on something that you’re interested in, and that you know you’ll enjoy.
[two]: Went Greek. My sophomore year, I rushed Phi Mu informally. Greek life at William and Mary is amazing. Each sorority and fraternity is unique in its own way, and the entire recruitment process is much more low key than at other colleges. Each Greek organization attends each other’s philanthropy events, and you meet people that you never would have met just going to classes. Coming into William and Mary, I never would have pegged myself as a “sorority chick,” but that was just because I had a stereotype in my mind as to what being in a sorority meant. That changed immediately. Phi Mu has been an amazing support system for me, socially and academically. If you’re a girl, I would definitely recommend going through Formal Recruitment in the fall. It allows you to visit each one of the houses, and you have recruitment counselors to answer your questions and guide you throughout the entire process.
[one]: Applied to live in Mosaic House. Special-interest housing is a great way to avoid the whole housing panic. After freshman year, it’s possible that you’ll be forced to live off-campus if you’re a sophomore or a junior. If that’s not really an option you want to consider, then apply for Special-Interest housing AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Deadlines vary from house to house, as does the application process, but it means that you have guaranteed housing with people that share your interests. I’ve been living in Jamestown North for the past two years, because I applied and got into Mosaic House. And you don’t need to worry if you don’t get in immediately–I was actually wait-listed my junior year, but managed to get in at the last moment, and then became the Mosaic House Chair last year. You can apply to multiple houses, and you can decide from there. It means you can still maintain close-knit hall-mate relationships throughout your entire time at William and Mary.