At the end of every interview with a prospective student, I give the interviewee an opportunity to ask me questions about my experience at William and Mary. I would say that about 99% of the time, I am asked about my favorite part about life at the College.
So, here is my answer: The people.
Yes, the classes are extremely challenging and rewarding. Yes, there are over 400 clubs and organizations on campus. And Yes, Williamsburg is a great place to live for 4 years. However, this would all be unimportant and irrelevant if it weren’t for the friendly, compassionate, and genuine people that populate our campus.
The past three days have only further confirmed my love and appreciation for the students at the College. On Friday, a friend from home (Sarah) came to visit me for the weekend. This was her third visit to William and Mary, and they have always been a lot of fun. When a non-student comes to campus (a friend, parent, sibling, etc.), I like to take a step back and try to see the College through their eyes. Not only is it interesting to get a fresh look of the campus where I spend about 10 months of the year, but I usually come away from these visits with a greater appreciation for my school.
Throughout her visit, Sarah complemented the beauty of our campus and the convenience of being so close to Colonial Williamsburg. She also loved the fact that there are so many stores and restaurants within a short drive from campus (we ate at both California Tortilla and Panera). However, as she hopped in her car to head back to Maryland, she told me that this was her favorite of the three visits because she had the chance to really get to know some of my friends. She said that everyone she met was so welcoming and laid-back and that it was extremely easy to strike up conversations with people she had never met before.
As I thought back to what we did this weekend, I realized that she was right. On Friday night, we went to see Bruno with a group of about 15 of my friends. Although it was too crowded for us to all sit next to each other, my friend Austin ran up to us in the middle of the movie and introduced himself to Sarah with a smile. On Saturday morning, we met up with my friends Taylor and Jen for brunch at a breakfast restaurant on Richmond Road called Mama Steve’s (this is a weekly routine that I’ll explain in an upcoming blog). After brunch, Sarah commented that both Taylor and Jen were extremely nice (and hilarious) people. They welcomed her into our weekly routine with open arms and really made her feel comfortable right off the bat.
After showing Sarah around the Prime Outlets and Colonial Williamsburg, we met up with some more of my friends to watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in preparation for the midnight showing of the sixth movie on Tuesday (yes, we are truly William and Mary students). In the middle of the movie, Sarah and I ran with Porter and Janet (another blogger) to grab some donuts from Dunkin Donuts. Porter is a student at Vanderbilt University but is interning in Williamsburg, and I think he is an excellent example of someone who may not be part of the Tribe but who has still experienced the friendliness and sincerity of everyone on this campus. Once we got back, we decided to go with three graduate students (Molly, Bryce, and Kaitlin-collectively referred to as “The Graduate School” throughout the night) to Paul’s Deli. We had a great time and by the end of the night, Sarah and Kaitlin seemed like they had been friends for years. I think that it’s extremely refreshing to see that undergraduate and graduate students don’t simply pass one another on campus but actually become friends, as they are at William and Mary. I look forward to getting to know all three members of “The Graduate School” throughout the upcoming school year.
So, what was the point in recounting my weekend with Sarah? I want to show that there is a lot more to William and Mary than brick buildings and challenging classes. You may not see it on your hour-long campus tour, but the people at the College are some of the most down-to-earth and genuine people that you will ever meet. They are extremely driven, talented, and hard-working, and they all share a passion for changing the world. However, if you take away the papers, exams, clubs, and internships, you will see that William and Mary students are simply good people.
I could honestly write about the students and faculty at the College for hours (and continue to give you names and examples), but this blog would end up single-handedly shutting down the William and Mary website. So, I’ll cut myself off. If you do come for a campus tour or to visit a friend or family member, I really hope you have the chance to experience the people at this school. You won’t want to leave.
Have a wonderful week.