August 17, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
Wow I cannot believe that this will be my first blog as a William and Mary alum. It is amazing how fast four years can go by and how many bonds you make with phenomenal people. I am sorry for my tardy blog behavior but graduation to work in North Carolina to moving to Indiana, its been a pretty busy and stressful summer. Shout outs to the class of 2015! I know you all will do bigger and better things than the classes that have come before you except for 2011 that is
Today I just wanted to write a short blog for the freshmen and the seniors specifically. Class of 2015 take advantage of the everything you can, get out of your comfort zone, do something random like synchronized swimming, play golf. Definitely hit those books hard so you are not trying to pull up your grade point average during your last three years of college! But, still have fun because its all about balance.
Seniors, Class of 2012, top dogs: this is crunch time! You are applying to graduate programs, filling out job applications (if they exist), busting out those senior seminars, and figuring out what you want to do after W&M is no longer your world. It’s scary and many fret that every other senior has it together while they have not the slightest clue about their post graduation plans. Believe me most of you are in the same predicament and some people are better at masking their unknowingness with big words and long sighs. Seniors, make sure you have plenty of options. Apply to several programs and mix up their concentrations so you have the ability to choose. Take the Graduate Record Exam and the LSAT if you are considering law school because if you do not get into the school that you want, you can always obtain your Masters first and save law school for later. Always have a plan B.
Lastly know that you can do anything that you put your mind to. My mother said that to me all the time and I guarantee those words have plunged me into a world I though I could never go. With a lot of good support from my W&M family, I had many options my senior year and I believe I made the right choice. Remember, cherish W&M and know the struggle makes your success ten times better. Good luck and hats off to all those beginning a fresh start at William and Mary!
April 13, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
It is almost Admitted Students day! I am looking forward to the event which bloggers have a chance to mingle with accepted class of 2015 students in the Sunken Gardens on Saturday afternoon. It is always a pleasure to share my William & Mary experiences with inquiring prospectives and give them the candid run down on my favorite university.
Not only will I participate in the Day for Admitted Students, but I am also hosting for ESCAPE. This is another Admission Office event where accepted students stay overnight with current William & Mary students. Throughout my four college years, two of my prospectives have attended the college. To keep with tradition, I plan on persuading my prospective this year again!
As my senior year comes to a close, I encourage incoming freshmen to grab college life by the horns and live it up. If you put in the work academically, socially and spiritually, you will be sure to get the most out of William and Mary. As an incoming freshman you should remember the following things:
- If you do not have a roommate, randoms are not always nightmares—I had a random roommate for freshman, sophomore, and senior year and I loved them all.
- Take a course with Professor Vinroot in the Mathematics department; he is awesome and even made Abstract Algebra understandable.
- Take a course with Professor Nezlek and Professor Christine Porter in the psychology department; if possible major in psychology.
- Open your eyes to hidden organizations on campus and try something new—for me it was Synchronized Swimming.
- Remember, the real world will not have the love and security that W&M offers you, so bask in it during your four years.
I know you are probably thinking, “That girl is too old to be telling me what to do as a freshman…” But remember, hindsight is 20/20 and with four years in the game I’m basically the Soulja Boy of W&M.
March 14, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
When I say bucket list I do not mean to sound ominous. It is not the end of our lives but it is the end of an important chapter in our lives even if we are obtaining graduate degrees from William and Mary, undergrad is quickly coming to an end and there are a few things that all seniors need to do as undergraduates before May 15, 2011.
This is a list that I compiled during one of my late nights at William and Mary, in between studying for two exams, writing essays for law school, and searching for a job. I hope that my fellow seniors do at least a few of the activities and future seniors start early so they can complete it in its entirety!
- William and Mary Triathlon—if you do not recall what it entails…you are not a true TWAMP (Typical William And Mary Person) and I urge you to ask the next person you come in contact with about it
- Take multiple pictures with multiple statues you find on campus and in Colonial Williamsburg—be sure to put on your thinking face with Thomas Jefferson and if you do not have one of those faces make a silly one
- Visit Colonial Williamsburg on a beautiful day and admire the sheep
- Lay down a track in Swem studios—this may be the only chance you have to pursue your rap career before your real career begins
- Visit the special collections exhibit in SWEM—I know it sounds TWAMPY but there is some very neat history there
- Go to a Wren Ten—soon students will have to pay to see these a cappella groups especially with the rising gas prices
- Visit the new education school and bask in its ambiance and beauty—more importantly, goof off on the terrace when the weather is warmer
- Introduce yourself to a freshman—preferably the ones in your old freshman room and take them out to lunch because you just might make their day and make a new friend in the process
- Plan a flash dance at the sundial with eleven of your favorite people—if I witnessed it, it would literally make my life
- Sharpen a “#2” wooden pencil using an electric pencil sharpener on the 3rd floor of Swem Library—bring your running shoes because someone is going to run after you with a heavy book but that’s the chance you take and the evil glances are worth the laugh
February 19, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
What? There is one of those? I know it’s hard to believe because stress lives on all three floors of Swem Library, especially the third which is too quiet for my taste. However, in the basement of Swem lies the solution to all problems, well at least for a little while.
Though I am revealing one of the most coveted secrets of my junior year, I feel compelled to share this little known fact with you. In the basement, there is a media center where you can book a studio equipped with microphones and recording software.
My friends use it to record our lovely voices to all types of songs, from country to Disney to rap and R&B. It is hilarious and great stress relief. Who knew singing was so much fun. Sometimes we sounded good but most of the time we sounded not so good. We still have those tracks in our iTunes and every once in a while it will play and I just smile.
There is bonding between those laughs. You learn about background sounds that you never heard in the original song—because nine times out of ten they do not exist. You learn that half your friends really can hold a tune and if you all really tried, you all could sound phenomenal. However, it is a lot more fun if it sounds horrible, not record label worthy. So, what usually happens is you mess up and try to hit the high notes of Mariah Carey just because you will surely get a chortle or two. We had good times in Swem’s basement…now it is time to make your own good times.
January 30, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
As my last Charter day approaches, I have reflected on William and Mary’s 318 year history. The history that hides in its walls despite the construction is amazing.
Charter Day weekend, I am looking forward to attending the Roots concert on February 5. Surprisingly, the College’s charter day kicks off my sorority’s charter day on February 7. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated has graced this campus for 35 great years and we look forward to bringing it in with a bang just like William and Mary. Charter day is a good time to reflect on the rich history of the second oldest college and oldest law school in the United States. So just for reminding purposes…
- William and Mary was chartered on February 8, 1693
- At the age of 17, George Washington received his surveyor license and three other presidents: Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler and James Monroe also received undergraduate education at the College
- The first Greek letter society Phi Beta Kappa was founded here in 1776
- The College went co-ed in 1918
- Monroe Hall named for President James Monroe was opened as a men’s dorm in 1924
- In 1967, the College of William and Mary began its Summer Law School Abroad Program on the campus of the University of Exeter in England
- The first African American woman was admitted to the College in 1955
- Lillian Poe was the first black administrator at the college in 1970
I think it is interesting to see what was going on during each centennial since William and Mary’s charter year:
1793~ William H Cabell graduated from W&M law school and he would become the governor of Virginia and Judge after his term ended
1893~ the college fielded its first football team against Norfolk YMCA, Norfolk won 16 to 4
2093~ who knows what this year holds for William and Mary, we shall see
 I lived in Monroe freshman year, “Monroe! You KNOW!”
 I studied abroad fall 2010 in Exeter. Fancy that!
 I visited Wales during my semester abroad.
 I miss Britain already and it has been only a month since I left its grounds.
January 10, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
Since the pound is doing better than the United States Dollar and the exchange rate was nearly double while I was abroad, budgeting was an important factor in my study abroad experience. Before you embark on a journey to Exeter, it is important that you check exchange rates, your banking costs for taking out money, and your credit card policies on foreign purchases. For example, one of my credit cards does not charge anything extra for purchasing something overseas however my other credit card charges 14 cents for every purchase made and though it doesn’t seem like a lot, this small fee adds up after twenty purchases.
In Exeter specifically, there are many ways to save money. During welcome week, you receive a myriad of coupon books from a chain of restaurants called Wetherspoons. This includes the Imperial and Cavalier Inn located in the City Centre. Make use of the steak and curry night savings. During my semester abroad, steak night was Tuesday and curry night was Thursday. For instance, Tuesday’s meal consisting of steak, baked potato—which the British call a jacket potato—and salad with a drink was 4 pounds! I was there every Tuesday and Thursday diligently! These outings are great times to bond with your new friends and flatmates. Pertaining to food, you can also save money by purchasing certain food items with your flatmates and splitting the costs. Since you are in a self catered dorm, you will probably be cooking at some point during your stay. My flatmates and I purchased items like toilet paper, sugar, seasonings, tea and cooking oil. Most of these items lasted us until the end of the semester and between the twelve of us we only paid about 4 pounds. Poundland which is equivalent to the Dollar Store in America has great savings on toiletries, school supplies, food and other small items. This can be a nice alternative to the grocery store for food or a quick stop for a small personal item.
In order to save some time, Iceland and Tesco grocery stores deliver for free to the dorms. This is nice because then you do not have to walk 15 minutes uphill back to campus. I know what you are thinking “15 minutes isn’t that bad!” It is when you are drenched in sweat and rain dragging your heavy knapsack of groceries. Let’s just say, I wish I knew about grocery delivery earlier.
English university nightlife is a bit different than the United States because every day in Exeter seemed like Halloween.
Themed parties are a big deal and almost every night, students are dressed up like cavemen, smurfs, babies, animals, etc… Now if you want to be an adamant participant in this cultural piece of study abroad and not go broke in the first two weeks, you want to buy clothes from Primark. This is the best store for inexpensive clothing options. Thrift stores are abundant in Exeter also so that is also a great option for clothes.
On campus, students can watch recent movies for 1.50 pounds every Wednesday and Sunday. However, you have to arrive early or it will be sold out. The INTO group offers trips to Cardiff, Eden, and Bath for cheap and I took advantage of two of them. If you want to visit other parts of England, take advantage of group discounts for the train. There are ways to save money, you just have to plan in advance.
January 10, 2011 by Adreanne Stephenson
Exeter is probably one of the most beautiful parts of England with weather much nicer than London’s. The Quay, which is the river that runs through the city, has nice shops and cafes to enjoy. It is a twenty minute walk from the campus and makes a wonderful day trip. The Exeter cathedral near the city centre is also a must-see. You can walk or take the bus from campus which costs about 1.60 pound round trip or 90 pence for a single ride. Dartmoor is a nice area in Devon. Its ponies and lush rolling hills are amazing attractions on a sunny day. In order to get to Dartmoor, you would take a coach bus which is not too expensive. Powderham Castle in Devon is also a cool place to tour for about 9 pounds. The castle has a lot of rich history and even a haunted story or two.
Sometimes, you want to go a little farther than the confines of Devon. The city of Bath is two hours away from Exeter. To get there, you can take the train or take a coach. The INTO group offers a cheap Bath trip for students and it is probably your cheapest way to get to this beautiful city. The famous Roman baths, Royal Crescent, and Jane Austen museum are found here.
In the beginning of the semester, the International Office offered a Cruise of the Exmouth coast which was a nice scenic introduction to southern England and a great bonding experience for the international students. London is four hours by bus and two hours by train. This city is nice because you can sightsee by day and party by night. However, make sure you keep tabs on your belongings because if you leave them lying around carelessly, they will get stolen. Put your money in your jean pockets, try not to carry a purse in pubs and clubs, and check your coat into the cloakroom.
Make sure you use all your resources while abroad. View the weekly international pamphlet sent to your Exeter email and keep your eyes peeled for day trips hosted by the International society and INTO. Stay tuned for more Exeter news because if you plan to study here—which you should!!—it is nice to know some things beforehand!
December 3, 2010 by Adreanne Stephenson
If I were asked to describe Guy Fawkes Day at Ottery St. Mary in three words it would be: insane, scary, and amazing. On the 5th of November, the residents of Ottery St. Mary celebrate Guy Fawkes with running through the streets with flaming tar barrels on their backs. The burning of the tar barrels has been practiced for hundreds of years. Starting at around 4pm the small boys run with small barrels on their backs. These are followed at intervals by the women and finally around midnight the largest of the men’s barrels. As the evening progresses the barrels get larger and heavier. The bearers vie with one another to carry the flaming barrels as far as they can before they get either too hot to handle or disintegrate in a burning heap in the street. Historically, the bonfires, tar barrels and fireworks commemorate the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which Guy Fawkes was discovered in a cellar under the House of Lords. The cellar was filled with many explosives and the purpose of the plot was to murder King James I and the Protestant aristocracy. Guy Fawkes was not the instigator but the one who was sent to light the explosives on November 5. Interestingly, Guy Fawkes’ face was the mask of ‘V’ from V for Vendetta—epic and awesome movie.
The night of the tar barrels, I saw my life flash before my eyes more than three times. It was chaos and the square was packed with thousands of English residents. I believe 99% of the University of Exeter was also present. Campus organizations charged a small fee for transportation to the little city outside Exeter. It was the most unique night out I have had in my life. There was no way to avoid the crowd, so if you are claustrophobic, it is not the event for you. The scariest part was getting out of the way of the men with these huge flaming tar barrels. I was right in front of the flaming barrels at least five times that night. Every time, I was frozen in fear and amazement. I was screaming at the top of my lungs most of the night. A local told me it is good luck to touch the flaming barrel and then proceeded to push me towards it. However, you can imagine that did not go well. I almost lost my fingers and he may have lost a few if I had. Overall, it was a very exciting event and if a student is studying during the winter term in Exeter or visiting in early November, they should attend.
November 11, 2010 by Adreanne Stephenson
Even though I am in a different country, my heart is still American meaning it still loves food! Eating is America’s favourite pastime and I am sure most people would not argue with that. For those coming to Exeter one day in the future, it is nice to try good restaurants. First stop is The Imperial. This is a short walk from the campus and has quality food at inexpensive prices. In addition, every student receives approximately five coupon books during Welcome Week for this restaurant. With your coupons, you save lots of money on steak, curry, and breakfast meals. The Imperial is a nice hangout spot for students and I eat there at least once a week.
Second stop is the Blackhorse pub. This is a ten minute walk from campus and has delicious fish and chips. Its relaxed environment allows for students to hang out in small groups and watch football or rugby. The restaurant has reasonable prices and is a nice change from The Imperial. The next stop is Boston Tea Party! Do not leave without getting a latte and a Belgian waffle with bacon. It is the best waffle you will ever have in England. The waffle tastes like cake and with the salty bacon, it is like a meal made in heaven. In plus, the baristas put cool patterns in the steam of your coffee. Sometimes a heart shows up in your cup and other times it is a leaf.
If you want to order in, Great Wall delivers Chinese cuisine and there is always Dominoes! Even though you cannot buy it with Flex points—because you do not have a meal plan—you have to order it for one thing. In exchange for cheesy bread, Exeter’s Dominoes has waffles.
I know what you are thinking “BUT I LOVE CHEESY BREAD!” However, it is definitely an even exchange. The waffles come with two dipping sauces: toffee and chocolate. This meal is a sugar rush that no candy, chocolate, or shortbread cookie could ever match.
Remember to stop by a couple of Chippies to compare the fish and chips. Don’t forget to try cheesy chips and traditional English breakfast. There are a couple of general rules to know when dining out in England. You have to pay to eat-in coffee shops, so take away is cheaper. You have to order at the bar for all restaurants. If you sit at the table waiting for a server, they will never come. You have to choose your table, note the table number, order at the bar, and give the table number to the cashier. Embrace the unique eating culture and remember “when in Rome, do as the Romans”.
November 11, 2010 by Adreanne Stephenson
Greetings from Weekend Irelander,
I am having a blast in England right now, mostly because I have planned a plethora of my big trips in advance. Since you will probably spend fewer hours in class during the week compared to a semester at William and Mary and all the courses are pass fail, you will have more time to plan and explore the world! Less class time does not mean less effort, however.
You have an opportunity to do papers well before the deadline especially since you may be MIA most weekends. Leave some weekends open for planning with your new friends but plan your big weekends like France, Scotland, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Ryanair is a cheap airline to fly with. You will want to fly out of London or Bristol. London is four hours by bus and two hours by train from Exeter. Bristol is only two hours by bus. This route is much cheaper than flying out of Exeter’s airport because this airport has less traffic and raises its prices to meet low demand. In essence, this is the best route for the broke college student. Megabus is the cheapest way to bus to these major cities from Exeter. I am catching a ride to Bristol for a whopping 3.50 pounds which is approximately six United States dollars. Can you say AWESOME?
When travelling, make sure you collect something at all your destinations. I collect postcards for instance and plan on making a study abroad scrapbook to house my memories. My other international friends collect things like rings, license plates, spoons, shot glasses, etc… It is nice to have something to commemorate your travels. If you study during the fall semester, remember Christmas presents for your loved ones. How cool is that? You gave your dad an authentic Ireland collectible straight from the Dublin city limits. None of your siblings will be able to top that. Therefore, you will be the favourite child and maybe your dad will forget about all the money you spent abroad. Well, I have to pack for my weekend trip in Ireland!