February 1, 2013 by Skyler Paltell
“That one may walk in beauty, discover the serenity of the quiet moment, and dispel the shadows.”
So goes the quote on the plaque by the Crim Dell Bridge. It is true that the beauty of this campus is striking, from the banks of the Crim Dell, to the hiking trails around Matoaka and the facades of Washington and Tyler Halls. It doesn’t seem like I’ve been here for two years already. It can be so easy to get caught up in the menial responsibilities of work, studying, and extracurricular activities. College life, like anything, has the ability to become monotonous.
My parents’ new mantra in regards to my college experience is to “have more fun”. They tell me not to get so caught up in schoolwork and bad days, because college lasts only so long before it becomes a memory. I find, already, that this is becoming true. While I have been chasing grades and writing resumes, time has been quietly slipping through its sieve. And so, my resolution for this semester and this year is to have more fun (#yolo), stress less, and celebrate the last months of my adolescence and my last years as a student.
Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by life and underwhelmed by leisure, I begin by remembering why I chose this college over thousands of other American universities. The principle reason was beauty. From the elegance of the cypher to the tree lined paths around the Sunken Garden, William & Mary is undeniably beautiful—even more so in the spring and fall. Beauty also lies within the majority of the students here, as I was reminded today when I dropped my credit cards and health insurance somewhere along Ukrop Way. I had only just realized their absence when a student (whom I recognized from a government class last year) pointed them out and began picking them up. I chose William & Mary for its beauty; I chose William & Mary because I believed I would grow, learn, and love more here than at any other campus.
Now I just need to ensure I don’t waste these years living to get through the week. Fun is of the utmost importance. This semester, I resolve to get coffee on the Terrace instead of at Swem. I resolve to streak the Sunken Garden, I resolve to stay up late for no reason, I want to make questionable decisions on a regular basis. I want to fall in love. I’ve spent my life being responsible, in tedious pursuit of good grades and prestigious internships. I have never been grounded, and I have never had detention. Never once, with the exception of emotional outbursts, have I acted like the teenager that I technically am.
I’m not saying I want to go crazy, but I want to live my life for me—for my enjoyment—and not for the societal standards to which I feel obligated to conform. I don’t want to let the days go by. Hence, YOLO—you only live once. You’re only in college once. This semester, I want to live it.