September 3, 2012 by Ryann Tanap
Dear classes of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016,
Welcome back! And for the freshmen and transfer students: Welcome to the Tribe family! Green and gold now flows through your veins, so do the Tribe proud! I write to you from a little town in northwest Thailand called Mae La Noi. Tucked between picturesque mountains and rice paddies, I am appreciating the peaceful view. This is my new home, and it will be home for the next year. But realizing all of this is starting to bother me a little. Let me explain:
A little over a year ago, I was in your shoes. I was gearing up for the beginning of fall semester—which actually means battling Banner for the classes that I wanted (or needed to take) and jumping back into the sea of organizing/attending meetings and events. I cannot fathom the fact that this semester I am not on campus to join in on the festivities, traditions, and late-night adventures (in and outside of Swem, that is…). You’re all incredibly lucky!
Did you catch that hint of jealousy? Yes, I am having classic W&M withdrawals. But that is because I consider the College my home. Realizing that I’m somewhere else (where I’m becoming more comfortable in my surroundings) instead of the College truly scares me! The uncertainty of the “real world” is a terrifying thing. Between graduation and now, I’ve realized that a major part of what made W&M a home were the people. I met some accomplished and inspiring people during my time at the College. These people became my support network of friends, classmates, faculty, staff, and mentors. They became my family. Not a day goes by that I do not think about how the people at W&M helped me grow. When I was faced with troubling times, there was always someone I could turn to for advice, comfort and strength. I am grateful.
A little over a year ago, I also started to panic. I was stressing out about life after college, even though I still had my senior year to enjoy. The pressure to find something for post-graduation was weighing down on me. I was afraid, but I wasn’t paralyzed by that fear. Instead, I did something about it. Between the job search/applications and W&M life, I started a new project. I decided to reach out to my mentors (from the classes of 2009, 2010 and 2011) once more. This time, I had the intention of receiving advice for not only myself, but for others at W&M. After graduating this past May, I finally released my project to my friends and family. This is what I came up with:
The Happiness Handbook: A collection of inspiration, advice and love
Members of the William & Mary Tribe: I hope you can find some inspiration and strength somewhere in it’s pages. Let its wisdom serve and guide you. Know that the Tribe family (current and alumni) loves you, and is always willing to help. Best of luck to you all!
From someone who never chose to pull an all-nighter in undergrad (and neither do you!),
P.S. If you have trouble accessing the Handbook, let me know! I’ll gladly email the PDF to you.