Well, summer has officially come to an end. My internship in the Admission Office concluded last Friday, and I’ve now started Orientation Aide (OA) training. After nearly two and half months of campus tours, phone calls, information sessions, and prospective student interviews, I can honestly say that there is no other way that I would have liked to have spent my summer. First of all, I had the chance to work with a phenomenal group of interns–10 people that really did amaze me each and every day. It certainly takes a lot of heart and dedication to give two tours in one day in 90 degree weather, which my fellow interns did regularly with a smile and A LOT of personality. Between the incessant challenges to death matches at the sundial (in front of Swem Library) from KP to the never-ending comments about South Dakota and Croakies from Austin, I have certainly had to brush up on my witty remarks and come-backs this summer. Not only have the interns been an absolute pleasure to work with everyday in the office (cue inside jokes: High School Cheerleader, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Stephanie Berger, etc.), but we have also had a lot of fun on our own time with Mug Nights, kickball (first intern class EVER to beat the Deans), and The Cave.
But of course, none of this would have been possible, if it weren’t for all of the wonderful prospective students and campus visitors. After interviewing almost 140 rising seniors this summer, I must say that there are some extraordinary high school students in the world. I had the chance to speak with a decent number of 17-year-olds who have done more during their four years of high school than most people do in a lifetime–founding philanthropic organizations, partaking in international service trips, developing research projects, and much more. I also met students who bring an unparalled level of passion to their studies, including a young lady who knew more about American literature than anyone I have ever met. These are students that left me both awe-stricken and inspired–students that would bring so much life and energy to the College. It was certainly a privilege to be able to contribute to the designing and molding of the Class of 2014.
Despite the intense heat and sometimes-exhausting walks, I also really enjoyed giving tours, which gave me the opportunity to meet and speak with hundreds of people on a daily basis. Looking back over the summer, there is one experience that really stands out in my mind. Toward the end of May, there was a special tour scheduled for William and Mary alumni and their children (prospective students). Before giving the tour, I knew that it would be an interesting experience because the visitors would know just as much about the College as I did. This tour was hands-down one of my most favorite experiences of the summer. The alumni never hesitated to throw in a brief bit of history or tell a personal story, which made the tour so much more enjoyable. As I spoke about Morton Hall (home to the government and economics departments), I mentioned that it is where I spend most of my class time. Immediately after making this statement, a gentleman in the crowd yelled, “ME TOO!” We then spoke for a minute or two about the government department and its wonderful home on campus. Later on in the tour, the same man and I found (with much excitement) that we both lived in Dupont Hall during our freshmen years. I can’t quite explain it, but there was something so fulfilling about discussing William and Mary with this gentlemen. This was a man that I had never met before, but it was obvious that we had a very unique bond. It was extremely gratifying to be able to speak so comfortably with a complete stranger, who was at least 20 years older than myself, about our common experiences. I think this is only a small testament to the strength of the community that exists at William and Mary, among both the undergraduate students and the entire body of alumni. Once you join our community, you are always a part of the Tribe.
As you can probably guess, I have learned a lot about myself and the College this summer. My internship in the Admission Office was an unforgettable experience and a wonderful opportunity; it certainly gave me greater appreciation for William and Mary and all of the people that make up this remarkable community. This Friday, the Class of 2013 will arrive on campus, and I CAN’T WAIT to meet them. I am sure that they will quickly find through personal discovery why it is that I love the College so much. I will certainly keep you updated on everything that happens during our 5-day orientation program.
Have a fantastic rest of the week!