Choosing W&M

In 2008, I had a bad day at work. Unlike other days, when I would brush it off and move on, I thought it was a sign that I should get serious about looking for a new gig: one that would offer new challenges and stretch me a bit, while also being fun. I saw a post online that night for my soon-to-be-new job at William & Mary. I wasn’t familiar with W&M, so I (what else?) Googled it. Seeing that the students were engaged and driven, and Williamsburg had not one but two rivers, I decided to apply.

My phone interview was fun; it was relatively spontaneous as it happened on the same day it was scheduled. My conversation with my future supervisor, Drew Stelljes, was organic and interesting, and I remember laughing with him about the highs and lows of collecting items for donation drives as well as reflecting on the complexities of engaging in service from a position of privilege. My in-person interview was more of the same. Breakfast with Ginger Ambler and Sam Sadler gave me the big picture; the search committee asked candid and engaging questions; conversations with Drew and student leaders sparked with possibilities for what my work could look like here. A confession: I didn’t really imagine taking the job when I came to visit, but ultimately, I was impressed by the people here, their lightness in work but seriousness with which they took the work, and a sense of shared values in community and justice.

Taking a new job that involves an out-of-state move is rarely a simple yes, and in my case, it was a rather complicated yes. I am a city person to the core, and as much as I hoped that Williamsburg might be my new Stars Hollow, I struggled to imagine how I’d build a life here. When it all came down to it, I made pro and con lists, listened to my gut, and at the eleventh hour, had a dream that pushed me toward a yes. What I found because of that yes: a community of people on campus who went out of their way to be hospitable, students who welcomed me with restaurant recommendations and binders full of ideas, and a community that continues to unfold in its uniqueness. Ten years in, that “yes” to W&M has led to many more yeses in my life, and I am grateful for all it has offered.

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