A Different Kind of Spring Break

I finally finished my first week back after spring break of my junior year at The College. It was a unique experience, but nothing unexpected from The College. I initially traveled down to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina with some friends who were staying all week and relaxing together. I enjoyed my time hanging out and catching up with my friends while experiencing the wonderful Myrtle Beach. After two days with my friends. I jumped back into my car and continued through the back country roads of South Carolina seeing all the beauty of the American South that the interstates usually miss.

I then traveled down I-95 through North Carolina, Georgia, and finally Florida. The first week of March means that only in Florida is it 70 degrees and constantly sunny. I drove down the coast (not literally, but on an interstate unfortunately) continued on I-4 and made it to Orlando.

What is in Orlando? Well, Professor Sean Tarter of course! I decided to spend the majority of my break down in Orlando with Professor Sean Tarter of the Economics Department who teaches Applied Financial Derivatives (I highly recommend it) along with 5 other current students, a graduate of The College who lives in Chicago, and even a student from Norway. The student from Norway came because her older brother graduated from The College and took Professor Tarter’s class and told her she needed to experience the teaching, the experience, and the legend that is Sean Tarter. We all decided to sacrifice a week in Orlando (the horrors) to attend his Institute for the Study of Advanced Applied Financial Derivatives, or ISAAFD. Each day we learned about advanced mathematics and financial models, and how to apply them to finance. This was a very challenging and riveting experience. The students would gather after a lecture sit by a pool and review the lecture of the previous night. We covered so much material in a short amount of time, but it was worth it. I came out of it appreciating mathematics even further and reconsidering my world once again.

I write this post to articulate how The College has changed my life. The College allows professors the opportunities to really connect with students and provide unique avenues to continue their studies. Professors want to engage with their students. I have come to know my professors family and become closer with my fellow students as me attempt and succeed at understanding these advanced topics. Professors truly want to know their students at The College. My professor, fellow students, and I spent the early evenings discussing theology and philosophy and then spent the night talking about how missile guidance systems relate to finance and advanced modeling techniques sometimes until 4am. This is not your typical spring break and is not a typical William and Mary trip, but this opportunity is only possible at The College of William and Mary.

This professor was willing to give his time, energy, and even his wife’s (spectacular) cooking to students who had developed an insatiable interest in quantitative finance after experiencing his class. Professors at The College of William and Mary are not only dedicated to their students, but they inspire their students and even change their lives. I am grateful to Professor Tarter and his family for the opportunity they gave all of us.

I finally left Orlando and headed up to North Carolina to visit a friend of mine at another university. While I was there I began to comprehend how special the previous four days had been. I stayed for two days and then returned home to Williamsburg. The entire journey was a great experience listening to music or Game of Thrones on tape as I drove through the South, but getting back to campus always fills me with a subtle excitement. The College of William and Mary is my home in Williamsburg, but The College is anywhere and everywhere that you experience The College even sometimes in Orlando.

Only at W&M,


Categories: Academics, Student Blogs

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