I’ll never forget my freshman year as I picked up my fraternity brother’s resume and was completely floored by it. He’d had incredible internships and working experience listed and a job at J.P. Morgan already lined up for him when he graduated. I was both impressed and intimidated, and wondered if I’d ever be able to achieve anything close to what he had in his four years at the College.
After the class of ’08 moved on and had showed me what I had to live up to, I then started sophomore year with new energy and inspiration, making a strong effort to get involved on campus. As I signed up, applied and volunteered for every campus position that was put in front of me, I soon watched myself get overwhelmed. My friendships started suffering, as did my schoolwork, and I was in way over my head. Gone were my mentors that got me through freshman year, but at the same time in stepped new people to look up to. I was given daily inspiration from dreamers and outside-of-the-box thinkers. While seeing the stress in my life, I got the keen advice to “do what I love, and forget everything else.” I made it through sophomore year, was newly involved on campus, and had met incredible people who helped me focus my mind and my ambitions.
Junior year it was good to be one of the older students on campus (and being 21 was a great perk as well). I started saying no to people and focusing on the things that meant the most to me. Things were finally coming together, yet now I saw myself growing up and the future was seeming entirely too close. Only the class of ’10 was above me, and they were getting jobs, or at least applying for them, and a lot of the doubts I had had freshman year were coming back. What did I want to do? What was I passionate about? Where would I be five years from now? And again, yet another senior class stepped in and gave me the confidence I needed while grounding me and showing me what I was capable of.
So when people ask me why I love this school, my answer is pretty easy: the people. My peers here have made all the difference, giving me an education that no college course ever could. Through those around me, I have learned more about myself and what it truly means to be a friend, and it honestly scares me to try and imagine what I would be like if I’d attended a different school.
But now what scares me even more is that I’m a senior, and I’m supposed to be seasoned, wise, and ready for the real world. And yet I’m not sure if I feel that way. What’s worse is that there is probably some underclassman I’m supposed to influence, to pass some piece of advice down to, and I’m not sure how to go about that. What will I leave behind?
I guess I’m sort of seeing senior year as a quest, and hopefully it’ll end with me leaving others with the same wisdom that was once passed down to me. W&M people are incredible, but I think it takes a nudge in the right direction before each student here figures that out. For all the people who I’ve met in my three years here, thank you for that nudge; I’ll do my best to do the same for others.