King and Queens

King and Queens

If you were walking past the sunken gardens today, you would notice a rather large structure taking up about half of the field that isn’t normally there.  It is finally that exciting time in the year when students de-stress from school work, forget about exams (for the time being), get all dressed up in their favorite dresses and shirts and ties, and head out to the sunken gardens for a night of dancing under a beautiful white tent.  I always know it must be getting close to the end of the year when I see that white tent go up in the sunken gardens.  King and Queens Ball is the perfect event to bring the academic year to a close.  It seems to be perfectly situated in the semester schedule at a time when the weather is beautiful and everyone wants to be outside.  The dance always features a live band, a large dance floor, a cash bar for the 21 and older crowd, and an amazingly good time! 
Tonight is the big night this year!  I look forward to this event every year.  I always love seeing all of my friends all dressed up and enjoying an evening together.  It’s most fun to make an entire afternoon and evening of the event.  I know my friends and I always plan a big dinner together and hang out as a group before going over to the actual dance at night.  Maybe it’s that I have such great memories of King and Queen Balls from the past three years, but I already know that tonight will be nothing short of fantastic.

Alumni, free coffee, dance shows, and sketch comedy

A bunch of the interns from this past summer met in the Admissions Office this morning and it wasn’t long before our conversation turned to what everyone was doing over the weekend.  Now, most weekends there are always a handful of events going on, not to mention plans you might individually have with friends, but I love when a weekend approaches that is so chocked full of activities you have been counting down the days for weeks.  This coming weekend seems to fit that profile.
First, it is Young Guard weekend!  Young Guard consists of alumni from the five most recent graduating classes (I’m only a few weeks away from being a member of Young Guard, myself!).  For students currently on campus, this means that we get the chance to see a bunch of friends and recent graduates that we haven’t seen around the college in awhile.  I’ve heard from a number of friends that are planning to be back and I’m really looking forward to catching up and hearing what they’ve been up to since venturing away from the Tribe.  I know there are many events planned for the Young Guard, but mostly I think the students on campus are hoping to just get to see some old friends and feel like old times.  It is always great to see alumni return and I wish they would do it more often.  You don’t leave William and Mary without taking a piece of it with you so it somehow feels more complete when past students return to visit.
That’s not the only thing going on around campus this weekend.  Tonight, one of the RA staffs is sponsoring a campus-wide tab at a local and favorite coffee shop called Aromas.  Starting around 9PM tonight any student can get a free coffee or a free dessert at Aromas while the tab lasts.  In true student fashion, “free” anything is usually worthwhile so there is bound to be a long line of people waiting for their sweets and drinks, talking to friends, and listening to live a cappella performances.  Not a bad way to kick start the weekend.
I’m getting really excited about a dance performance that will be happening tonight as well as a show by a sketch comedy group.  (I can tell its going to be one of those evenings when you just run from one event to another.)  Syndicate, our hip-hop dance group on campus is putting on their semesterly show this evening.  Don’t be fooled by the scholarly habits of William and Mary students, they have so many hidden talents.  I am always amazed by these dancers every time I see them perform and find myself feeling so envious of their moves.  The group is completely student run and all of the numbers are choreographed by the group members.  Another event tonight will be a show put on by  Seventh Grade, a sketch comedy group composed of undergraduate students.  One of my close friends and fellow interns from this summer, Kelley Quinn, is a member of seventh grade and if you even spend fifteen minutes around her you would understand why.  She’s so naturally hysterical!  The group members practice weekly, writing scripts and rehearsing to put on shows all throughout the semester.  They play off each other and the many quirks of being a William and Mary student to put together a show that never fails to make my sides hurt from laughing.
With all this going on in one weekend its hard to figure out how you will fit it all end.  On nights like tonight its always a good idea to get a group of friends together and just run from one thing to the next.  Inevitably the problem with weekends is never that there is nothing to do but that its so hard to decide what to do and what to miss because you can’t possibly do it all.  I’m definitely going to miss this once I graduate and I actually have to make up my own plans for my weekends!  However, Sunday evenings always hit you with a dose of reality when you realize that you forgot to factor in time to finish up all your readings for class!  Oh well, can’t do it all right?!

Decision Time!

Working in the admissions office is a bit of an exhausting job at the moment!  I really have no right to complain as I’m not in the office nearly as much as the dean staff and operations staff.  With pieces of applications still appearing in the mail, over 12,000 applications and files, committee meetings lasting all day, and the printing of the much-awaited decisions letters there is not a lack of activity at 116 Jamestown Road.  While this might be the busiest time of the year it is also the most exciting, not just for the soon to be newly accepted students but for the office staff as well.  There is a lot of relief and pride felt by all of the deans who have essentially worked all school year to create the newest class at the College of William and Mary.  Its kind of like that feeling you get when you spend weeks working on an art assignment for elementary school: you make a huge mess in one room of your house (usually the dining room that never gets used but you still have to cover the table with an old sheet so you don’t ruin the finish) and will probably be vacuuming sparkles off the floor for months but the final product is beautiful.  This is the moment, as soon as all the letters are mailed, when the deans get a much deserved round of applause and a chance to proudly look at their finished product…and hopefully a day off! 
The pause is only brief however because the office is quickly consumed with organizing, planning, and implementing admitted student days during the warm weekdays and Saturdays in the spring.  Its so exciting to see the potential newest members of the Tribe!  I really really recommend coming to one of these events if you receive the coveted admissions letter.  It’s the best way to see the campus, especially from a student perspective, and it gives us a chance to do our best to convince you to attend! 
So hang in there, the wait is almost over!  All of the chaos in the office is proof that the letters are being prepared to be mailed out soon.  Start checking the mailbox daily and good luck, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

Sunburns and Snowflakes

So, not to rub it in or anything, but as I was waking up to another day of sun and beach in FL, my roommate texted me this morning to let me know that as she was waking up to snow in VA.  Hard to believe that the spring break weather could be so different in the two different areas.  Sometimes spring break seems to come so early in the semester that it doesn’t feel like spring at all.  I really lucked out this year with the weather at home in Panama City.  One of my closest friends and I have been spoiled by the surprisingly warm days, sunny skies, and clear waters of the northern gulf coast of Florida.  Its been great having my friend home with me because I have loved showing her all around the town I grew up in and the place that I love.  Not to mention, I would take the sun over the snow any day!
All of the rays and lazy beach afternoons is going to make returning to cold temperatures and school books a lot more painful.  I was really keeping my fingers crossed that VA weather would be turning mild and beginning to warm up, allowing me to keep my shorts and bathing suits out and pack up my winter jacket and scarves.  I’m starting to think that the snow found on the ground of the state this morning is a sure sign that I might have to hang in there for a little bit longer before spring really breaks on campus.  It is definitely worth it though, once the warm weather really does hit!  Its always exciting to see how pretty the campus looks when the trees all bloom around the sunken gardens and the tulips show up around the sundial outside Swem Library.  Not to mention that spring brings the promise of a whole new group of accepted students who swarm the campus to visit during their last few weeks before making a decision about where to go to college (…the many William and Mary students enjoying the outdoors and putting off doing all of their school work as soon as the weather warms up are more than happy to add in their encouragement, devotion, and good old fashioned tribe pride to try and convince accepted students to come to W&M as they pass by in their HUGE tour groups).   Spring also means the end of the school year is in sight meaning King and Queen’s Ball, last day of classes, and for the eager seniors: the long anticipated graduation. 
I’ve got one more day of spring break left before I catch a plane back to Williamsburg and school.  You’d probably think that this would make me a little sad (and don’t get me wrong, I’d be crazy if I was wishing to leave FL and the sun!) but somehow it is never all that hard to get excited to go back to school for the end of the spring semester.  There is so much that goes on and the warm weather in general makes everyone happier and more excited so that the last few months go by in a whirlwind of fun activities.  My sunburn might be a bit out of place right now on the still cold campus, but give it a few more weeks and I’m going to fit right in.

Spring Break!!!

As much as my friends and I try to stop ourselves from pointing it out, its hard not to recognize all of the “this is the last time” moments in our last semester.  Spring break starts today and its really bizarre to think that this is essentially the last break from college for me…ever.  After so many years of school you really start taking it for granted that you get a week off at Thanksgiving, a month off in the Winter, over a week off during the spring, and a few long weekends thrown in here and there.  I mean, lets be honest, you don’t get breaks like that in real life.  With this in mind there seems to be a lot of pressure to make this spring break count since there won’t be another one.
I woke up before the sun this morning (4AM!!!) in order to get to the airport and make my 6 AM flight.  An extremely kind friend agreed to wake up that early with me in order to give me a ride (its safe to say that I owe him big time now!) and we were talking about all the places our friends and classmates go over break.  So many plan amazing vacations with friends to beaches, islands, and sometimes cruises.  Its a last hoorah to their college experience.  Possibly even more popular than this however are service trips.  It always impresses me how many students at this school compete to be able to go on service trips to several different countries over spring break, bringing medical supplies and skills, education, and simple compassion to others.  Many of these service trip groups raise money all school year to be able to afford their trip.  So, while I’ve never had the chance to go on a trip myself, I feel good that so many of the fund-raising date auctions, concerts, comedy shows, themed dinners, wardrobe sales, and sport competitions I have participated in have gone to help fund these trips.
For me, my last spring break promises not to disappoint.  I’m headed home to Panama City, FL…a spring break destination itself for many college students!  I’m really excited to get to spend ten days home with my family and enjoying how relaxing it can feel just to be back in my own room.  Best of all, my best friend, Chelsea, will be flying into my home town on Tuesday to spend the rest of the break with me before we fly back together the following weekend.  Having spent practically every day together at school since we met my sophomore year, I can’t wait to show her my home and hopefully get a chance to enjoy some sun on the white, sandy beaches.
The last thing I want to think about as I head home for spring break is traveling back to VA for what promises to be a busy last few months of papers, projects, and exams at school.  But I figure by the time the ten days are over I’ll be recharged for the final stretch of college.  Not to mention, its always great to see all the William and Mary students gathered around the gate for Newport News  (the closest airport to campus) in the Atlanta Airport…which I am convinced is the melting pot of the eastern U.S.  With so many people in one building, you never know who you could run into! 
So Spring Break, here I come!  Ahh, the last one!

Miles and Miles and Miles and Miles….

I bet you wouldn’t think that hundreds of people would willingly subject themselves to a 13.1 mile run on a Saturday afternoon.  At the very least there better be a good reason for it or a huge incentive to make it worthwhile.  Well, this past Sunday tons of people gathered at the starting line on Landrum Drive for the hilly half marathon course in the rainy/snowy, cold weather for no apparent reason except its what some people call fun.  All of you runners out there know exactly what I’m talking about but the rest of you probably just think its crazy! 
Every year that I’ve been at this college I’ve told myself I was going to run this race, and like so many other things, I had yet to do it.  So when a friend told me she was planning on running it and wanted a partner, I decided this was my year.  In the weeks leading up to the race we met up and ran a long run around campus and Colonial Williamsburg – which gave me a chance to unwind from the week and have a renewed appreciation for the town that I live in.  Race day was less than ideal, but the rainy start and snowy finish (which is rarely seen in Williamsburg at all) made it all the more interesting.  My friend and I were able to talk the whole way and ultimately crushed the goal time we had set for ourselves.  Possibly the best part was after the finish when we were able to meet up with and cheer on our other friends that had run the race and down cups of water and gatorade and fill up on bananas and bagels.  (Not to mention the fact that the race is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, so some of the after-race-beverages are particularly satisfying!)  It might not be everyone’s favorite way to spend a Sunday, but it was perfect for putting off doing homework and let me check off one thing off my long list of “must-do’s” before I graduate!

Favorite Philanthropy!

One of the great things about the  Greek system is the many philanthropic causes that are represented.  Each sorority or fraternity is associated with a national philanthropy and usually a regional philanthropy as well.  In order to raise money for these causes there are countless events happening on campus year-round.  Ranging from huge soccer games in the sunken gardens, volleyball tournaments in the dark, massive spaghetti dinners for the whole campus, and frisbee competitions…just to name a few.  While all the different events are tons of fun, there is one that stands out from all the rest: Campus Golf!   For one day, the entire campus turns into a huge miniature golf course and students are seen everywhere hitting tennis balls with golf clubs.  (yup, tennis balls, can you imagine how many golf balls we would lose on this campus if we played with those!)  This philanthropy is run by one of our sororities,  Kappa Delta, and the proceeds go to Prevent Child Abuse America and Avalon.  Its the largest philanthropy on our campus and definitely a campus event that students look forward to all year.  Usually students play in teams of four or five at various times throughout the day.  For someone visiting campus, it probably looks like the most bizarre thing ever.  Teams usually dress up in crazy costumes and themes, occasionally cheering and running around after a particularly good shot! 
I’m playing for the first time this year!  Somehow,  something came up every year that didn’t allow me to play and as a senior I decided I had to make it happen this year before I graduated.  As of yet, my teammates and I haven’t decided on a costume idea but we still have the rest of day to figure that out!  It’s practically become a tradition on this campus and I can’t wait for my Campus Golf debut tomorrow!

The “Random 25″ Fad

So, I am sure almost everyone has either written or read one of the “25 Random Things About Me” lists that people are putting on facebook.  It never really ceases to amaze me how much facebook is the most influential social medium:  I’ve read random lists from friends from high school and even back from middle school.  Once you read one list you can’t help but read others, even if you resist writing your own.  Part of the intrigue seems to come from the fact that people find it easier to be more honest…even though lots of people might possibly be reading it.  As a reader, I love to find out things I didn’t know about close friends (even the ones that I’ve known forever) and hearing about people I haven’t had a chance to talk to in forever.  So far I haven’t given in and written a list of my own, however, reading other people’s had really got me thinking about what I might want to include if I were to generate my “random things”.  I’m not going to go all out and do a complete list of twenty-five, but I’d thought I’d do an abbreviated list now, just to give it a shot!  So here it goes:
My Top Five Random Facts:
1.  I love mornings!  I find it as hard as everyone else to get myself out of bed, but as soon as I do I’m awake and happy.  This is probably the reason why I actually like getting up around 7AM throughout the semester whether its to run, finish some reading, or get coffee before classes start.  Plus, it makes the days that I do sleep in even more worth it!
2.  I find music addictive and really believe that it is so varied and intoxicating that everyone can find a type of music that they connect to.  I am constantly impressed with the talent of the members of the group I sing with on campus.  Cleftos has become one of the most exciting and fulfilling thing I’ve done at this school and I look forward to the four hours a week I get to be with and sing with them. 
3.  I’m probably the only 21 year old that I know that not only knows all of the Disney Channel original movies but has seen almost all of them as well.  I attribute this to the side of me that loves happy endings, and Disney channel never lets you down in this area!  I have a particular weakness for High School Musical! 
4.  Running and biking are my stress releases and they are what keep me sane even when school work seems impossible.  I always wanted to be some cool soccer or volleyball star in middle school but I was always awful at those sports and picked up running by default because it seemed to be the only thing for which I had some natural talent.  I didn’t fall in love with it over night, but now its something I can’t live without.  I love running and biking with my Dad when I’m at home and I’m always happiest when I’m training for something. 
5.  I have met the best friends imaginable at college and am so lucky to have been able to go to school with my sister, have a roommate who I’ve been best friends with since 7th grade, become so close to one of my sorority sisters that I couldn’t imagine a day going by without talking to her (and she’s coming home with me for spring break!), and spent last summer working with an intern staff made up of the most amazing people!

So Much More Than A Class

First, let me preface this with a disclaimer:   I’ve always enjoyed school.  Not in the kindergarten-everything-is-happy-kinda way that you grow out of when you hit middle school, but in a much more sincere sense.  I really do like academics and choosing William and Mary as my only choice for a college seems to prove that.  However, I can’t lie, classes aren’t exactly something  I would throw a parade for (I think most students would agree) and while learning is great, nothing beats the feeling of being done with classes for the day.  Now that I have set the tone with this statement, my interest in my history seminar class this semester will show just how different this class is from all the rest!  Up until last semester I was simply an English major with no second major or minor.  But when I looked at my degree evaluation I realized I was only one class shy of a History Minor and figured that having that secondary degree would compliment my English major really well!  I made a last minute declaration of minor with the registrar’s office and it was official.  Basically all that means is that when looking for classes to register for in my final semester, the only specific course I needed was one more upper level history class.  To be honest, I only selected the course I am currently in because I had taken a class with the professor before and had liked him.  I gave little attention to the description of the course, feeling confident that I would manage to make it through the class and simply complete my minor.  The course is titled “Slavery, Myth, and Memory” and I had no idea what I was in for.  The first thing I realized upon walking into the classroom on the first day was that it was not a lecture class but a seminar, meaning there were only about fifteen people in the class and we all sat around a conference table with the professor.  From day one, the discussion was incredible.  There wasn’t one person who sat quietly and just took notes but rather everyone was engaged and participated.  Every class since has been much the same.  The instructer, Professor Allegro, is one of the best in the department and he does such a great job with pushing conversation beyond the text.  While we are expected to have readings completed before we come into class, Professor Allegro doesn’t allow us to get “comfortable” and merely accept the texts without questioning facts, considering different perspectives, and introducing new ideas whether they are complimentary to the readings or contradictory.  In a school where all classes have such an interactive atmosphere it is hard to convey how much this class stands out in my mind.  It changed my perception of what a class should be, to the point that I don’t even think of the 12:30-2:00PM Tuesdays and Thursdays time slot as a class I have to go to.  Its hard to put any other word to it, but it actually feels more like a dinner or lunch party than a required academic course.  Because its such a small group of people, we really get a chance to know each other well and I find myself really looking forward to what others will say or add to the discussion.  I usually go to class with coffee in hand (especially now when the weather is so cold) and feel like I’m spending an hour and a half in a comfy book club.  I know that must sound nerdy, but I really don’t know how else to express how enjoyable this class is and it isn’t even a month into the semester!  What I’ve realized is that I signed up for one of the best classes of my college experience and it was practically by accident!

The Disgusting Type of Friends

Ok, so we all know those types of friends that are so close, tell each other everything, constantly hang out together, share too many inside jokes, and in general spend far too much time together.  We usually take one look at a group of friends like that and the first word that comes to mind is “gross”.  Lately I find myself being a lot less critical of groups like this however because I suddenly find myself in one: the admissions interns from last summer have become the “disgusting type” of friends.  Between the eleven of us, we have an email thread that can range anywhere from two emails a day to over fifty…not kidding.  We try to get together as often as possible, most often meeting at one of our three delis (food and drink are great motivators for get-togethers).  This past week, there was an information session for rising seniors who are interested in the internship this coming summer.  As much as I love to see people interested in the position that I had such a good time in, as a group we are territorial of our positions and hate to give up our titles to someone else.  Proof of this came in the form of our overwhelming turn out.  Dean Livingston, the director of the program, asked if a few of us veteran interns would be willing to come by and speak about the program…in true “disgusting friends” fashion, all of us showed up!  Talking more with each other than about constructive information about the program, we might have scared the prospective interns more than anything else.  I’m biased to the admissions office and think the summer internship here is the best, but the truth is that William and Mary offers lots of opportunities for summer work, research, classes, and internships.  Talking to professors within different departments, asking student offices on campus, and talking to other students quickly reveals how many opportunities there are!  Just more proof that this school is about so much more than just classes!