As we prepare to release admission decisions at Colorado College, it’s got me thinking that decision release is coming up at W&M as well. Almost a year after graduation, there is not a single day that goes by that I don’t miss William & Mary, sometimes so much it hurts. I’m probably not typical, though — for me, William & Mary was love at first sight. It is the only time in my life, to date, that I knew I had found exactly where I was meant to be.
My crush on William & Mary began, at first, with a crush on a boy. I was 16 and a junior in high school; he a senior and was admitted Early Decision to William & Mary. As I lacked any sort of direction in my college search at that time, and as I lacked most of my frontal lobe development, I began my college search in earnest because of this boy. If he thought William & Mary was so awesome, it must be worth looking into.
As soon as I had glimpsed the website, I knew I wanted to take a tour. And interview. And attend. William & Mary was, from start to finish during my college search, the only place I wanted to spend my undergraduate years. Campus visits only reinforced what I already knew — from the shady walkways around the Sunken Garden, to the incredible history, to the quirk and intelligence prominent among the student body, William & Mary was the only place I wanted to be.
In retrospect, I’m very fortunate I was accepted Early Decision — I honestly had no backup school that I liked even remotely near as much as I loved William & Mary. As soon as I received my acceptance, I was walking around Baltimore, MD in full W&M gear, I knew what freshman dorm I wanted to live in, and I had memorized the campus map.
And, in the four years I spent at William & Mary, I never doubted that I had made the right choice. Call it a gut feeling, call it fate, but thanks to a high school crush I ended up exactly in the right place for college.
From freshman year spent in Barrett Hall – the year I experienced first campus traditions, the year I became a tour guide – to senior year and leaving behind the most wonderful sorority, campus, and family, William & Mary held its magical allure. And still — aged bricks hold the echo of our founding fathers’ footsteps, afternoon sunlight filters through tree tunnels, and multi-syllabic words are thrown around in casual conversation; for me, William & Mary felt more like coming home than my childhood house in Baltimore ever could.
And so, W&M class of 2020 (whoa), as you ponder your piles of acceptance letters this spring, know what you will gain by attending the second-oldest college in this country. We had a saying at W&M: those who come here, belong here. More than a prestigious degree, more than an in-state bargain, William & Mary is home to the brightest, kindest, quirkiest students, and you could be one of them. You could find your closest friends, your future spouse, your purpose, your strength, your Tribe at William & Mary, under the canopy of trees and atop the uneven bricks. Know how fortunate you are to have these years ahead of you, blank and untarnished, awaiting the intention of your touch. William & Mary is yours.
Unfortunately, I graduated. I wish I could go back, but life only moves in one direction — forward. There is not a day that I don’t miss William & Mary. I’m waiting for that same feeling again, surrounded by friends and beauty, the sense that I am exactly where I am meant to be.