In about a week, I’ll be walking through the Wren Building one final time as a student. This time will be my second since I also graduated here yesterday – I mean, two years ago! Wow. What a privilege it’s been not only to get to walk through those doors once, but soon, twice. I realize that the main reason I’m looking forward to the walk is because I’ll get to complete it with so many of my friends. One of my favorite quotes is by Ram Dass, in which he states, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Thinking over these past few years at William & Mary, I’m filled with gratitude, both for my friends who have walked the bricked paths before me and now those friends who will soon be walking with me. I am grateful to be graduating with so many friends, and I’m also grateful for supervisors I’ve had who have guided me in my path toward graduation because they have walked the same or a similar path before me.
A few friends in my graduate program after we finished our last exam at the School of Education.
I’m not in the higher education program at William & Mary, but my graduate assistantship is in higher education and has given me an interest in student development theories. One of the theories is Marcia B. Baxter Magolda’s self-authorship theory, in which she talks about the importance of students finding “good company” at higher education institutions. By good company, she means the people who help you develop as a student. This year, more than previous years, I have been highly aware and impressed by the good company I have at W&M.
For me, this good company has taken various forms. One supervisor has been phenomenal in helping me narrow my interests, writing recommendations for me, and reminding me of my strengths. Another supervisor has met with me every week for the past three semesters, encouraging me and helping me gain confidence as a professional. My professors have given me resources and their time. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the guidance of these mentors.
If I could return to my freshman year, I would start intentionally pursuing good company earlier. I would go to more office hours, reach out more to upperclassmen, and connect more to supervisors. Yet despite my delayed development of good company, I feel I have stellar people within my good company now, and I will continue to benefit from the encouragement, knowledge, and skills they’ve imparted to me as I begin the next chapter in my journey.
As I leave William & Mary, I know I have this team of good company behind me, and one of my next goals is to find good company at my new place of work. After all, no person can have a journey without a guide or two.