Among the most frequently asked questions when giving a campus tour is about the workload at William & Mary. “Will I be able to handle the work?” “Am I able to thrive here?” “Is William & Mary a sweatshop?” (NO!) Two years ago, I was debating on the same issue and had similar concerns with you guys. Now as a graduating senior, I want to share some of my thoughts with you and hopefully, they will be helpful as you make this important transition in your life.
First of all, I will admit that William & Mary is not easy. As one of the eight “Public Ivies” in this country, William & Mary is known for its world-class education and rigorous curriculum. A great education meant to challenge you in all aspects and academics is one important component of it. In the meantime, please bear in mind that academics here is challenging for everyone. We believe every student that comes to William & Mary is well-prepared to embrace all the challenges and can benefit immensely from this process.
Please do not forget that there are abundant sources available for you. Our small faculty to student ratio ensures every individual has plenty of time to chat with their professors. I can’t recall how many hours of joy I have spent with my professors. They have looked at my paper drafts, discussed interesting movies I watched over the weekend and encouraged me to be a better self when I am feeling down.
There is also help you can get outside of the classroom. Tribe Tutor Zone and Writing Resource Center are always available for students who need extra help. I have literally used the writing center for every one of my research papers and it worked perfectly! Also, there is a special history writing center staffed by brilliant W&M history graduate students (talk about the pros of studying at a research university). If you are taking any history class, please make sure to take advantage of that.
Do not worry, you will get enough time to sleep and relax. Our 450+ student organizations are great assurances that students here get involved and have fun. If a twampy student like me who enjoys taking hard classes still gets plenty of time to be involved, you would do just fine. It might be a cliché, but here at William & Mary, we work hard and play hard.
Life is a long road trip and college is just one stop of it. Nonetheless, it is an important one as it can fully charge you for the rest of your trip. Reflecting back on my past years here at the university, the intellectually challenging and stimulating environment of William & Mary has pushed me outside of my comfort zones and made me grow so much as a person. In the end, you will be thankful how much this education has prepared you when you are ready to embrace the real world around you.
I will see you guys next time and meanwhile, please take great care!
Alfred Ouyang ’18