If my math is correct, I have interviewed 150 students and given tours to around 900 people this summer. This means that I have told more than 1,000 people why I chose William & Mary.
As you can imagine, my response started to sound rehearsed. I noticed in mid-July that the words would be coming out of my mouth but my brain was thinking about lunch or the most recent episode of True Detective. I had a moment of clarity, a moment when I realized how lucky I was to tell people everyday why coming to William & Mary was one of my best decisions.
So here it is, here is why I chose William & Mary, and why I choose W&M every single day.
As a junior in high school I had never heard of William & Mary. Coming from a large public high school in Florida, if you didn’t go to UF people looked at you like there were two heads on your shoulders. I knew what I wanted. I wanted great academics, great students, and nice town (that was preferably not in the Sunshine State). I took a few quizzes that boasted: “FIND THE COLLEGE THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU!!!” and my mom was the one who encouraged me to look at the school that was routinely on the results page of those hokey quizzes (hint: it was William & Mary). We did one of those brain numbing Spring Break tours where we saw five schools in three days. I continually thought: “If I hear the word ‘holistic’ or ‘blue light’ one more time I am going to cry.” William & Mary was the school we visited last, and it was the one I was looking forward to the most. The day was cold and nasty, but our tour guide was a literal ball of sunshine. My tour was her last tour she would ever give as an undergrad, and right when she started walking backwards she had tears in her eyes. After the tour I was hooked – I applied Early Decision and never looked back.
So what did I get from that tour that I did not get anywhere else? It’s simple really. Everything about William & Mary was elite, elite students, elite academics, elite professors, and even elite facilities. However, it was in no way elitist. I never got the feeling of “oh, you would be lucky to come here” or “maybe if you jump through 10 flaming hoops we will read your application.” Instead the feeling that overwhelmed me on the tour was that this is a community that is showing me how I could grow, thrive, and belong. Already on the tour I was not a number, but rather a real student that could not only benefit from this amazing place, but also add value to the community.
When I came on campus I was instantly humbled. Humbled by the students surrounding me, ones that were doing amazing things, or had done amazing things or were going to do amazing things. I was humbled that I was chosen to be a part of this. However, it was so enriching to know that other students were looking back at me and thinking the same thing.
That is why I chose William & Mary. That is why I chose to sell William & Mary to over 1000 students and their families. I believe in this community, I believe in these people and I believe in finding the next members of the Tribe that will make it even better when I am gone.
One of the other senior interviewers said something that I will constantly remember senior year. She said, “be as excited to be here, as all the students you interview.” As senior year carries on, I will constantly be thinking about that 17-year-old girl who felt giddy after her first tour.
So for the last time as a Senior Interviewer: Go Tribe.
– Catie Pinkerton ‘16