August 14, 2011 by Carter Rosekrans
It’s hard to believe that summer is over, and I’m done with my job as a senior interviewer. It went by too quickly, but fortunately the admission office liked us so much, they asked us to come back and do more interviews in the fall. While I don’t have a hard time filling my schedule during the school year, I’m really excited to keep talking with applicants and helping to shape the class of 2016.
If you missed a summer interview or are just now starting to look at W&M, I’d highly recommend making an appointment in the fall, because the interview is a great way not only for us to get to know you better, but also for you to get to know us better. The purpose of the interview is to add a much more personal dimension to your application, but because they are run by students like me, you will have the chance to talk with a real live student who is more than eager to answer any questions you may have after about 20 minutes asking you some questions about yourself as an applicant first. They are much more informal than most people imagine, and are a great chance for you to make yourself stand out in our applicant pool. With that in mind, after reflecting on my summer interviews, I’ve come up with a few pointers to keep in mind should you decide to interview;
1. Every question is an open-ended question. One-sentence answers do not help you, and the interview should be more of a conversation than an interrogation, but that’s up to you. If you don’t explain yourself, I can promise you the interview will turn into an interrogation, which is painful for me as an interviewer, and perhaps even more so for you as an interviewee.
2. Be original! W&M sees thousands of applicants, and I see hundreds of interviewees, so understand that this is a rare opportunity for you to distinguish yourself. Make me laugh, make me cry, get me excited, just do whatever you can to separate yourself from the pack and make me fight for you as a candidate. That is, after all, my job; I want to like you, and I want you to do well, but you’ve got to give me something to work with so I can advocate for you as a candidate.
3. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. If you’re anything like me, you may not like talking about yourself. Well get over it (I know I’ve had to), because an interview is one of the few chances in life where it’s completely appropriate to talk about how awesome you are, and it is to your benefit to take advantage of that opportunity. I want to know how awesome you are, you just need to have the guts to tell me.
4. Don’t be nervous. I’m really not an intimidating person, and there’s no reason to get worked up over a simple 20-minute conversation. So take a deep breath and relax; this isn’t going to be life changing, and you WILL make it through this, I promise.
5. Know yourself. This is hard to prepare for, but I can usually tell when a candidate has a strong sense of self, or self-confidence. Be confident in your answers, and you’ll do well. Even if you have doubts, you know what they say in showbiz, “you fake it until you make it”. That works, too.
6. Not answering is not an option. It really is an option, but it doesn’t reflect positively on you if you say “I really don’t know” in response to one of my questions. I’m not going to ask you for the meaning of life, or the square root of 253, or anything too complex that you can’t answer if you give it a little bit of thought. Any answer is better than no answer.
If you keep those things in mind, you are sure to succeed in any interview. People always ask me what I look for in a W&M applicant, and there is no one good answer. But what impresses me the most is when I see a candidate who is passionate about something, and can clearly articulate that passion in a way that gets me excited about what they’re talking about. This could be an activity or an organization or an area of study or whatever. I like to think that I’m good at selling candidates to the Admission Committee, and I promise you that if you show me true passion, I will do everything I can to get you a spot in the class of 2016.
So, you may wonder, how should you prepare for an interview? Well, I hate to break it to you, but since there are 12 of us interviewers, we all do interviews differently and ask different questions, so there is nothing standard you can prepare for. What I would recommend is just spending some time with a parent or friend beforehand talking about your high school experience thus far, and what you want to do in college. Make sure you can articulate yourself and what you’re interested in academically, but also (and perhaps more importantly) what you do outside the classroom, and what makes you unique. All we really ask is that you be yourself, because we want to get a better sense of you not just as a candidate but as a person and potential member of the W&M community.
Again, I know I’m biased, but I highly recommend doing an interview. It’s a very positive experience, and we really do love talking to you. Who knows, if you sign up, you may find yourself in an interview room with me this fall, but if not, I promise all the other interviewers are awesome. Just keep in mind my pointers, be yourself, and you’ll do great!
August 3, 2011 by Carter Rosekrans
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”
As a rising senior, I do feel like it is indeed time to talk of many things, mainly what I’m going to do after graduation. In the context of “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, the Walrus delivers this line to a group of oysters he has lured away from their oyster bed so he can eat them. It works here because for many people my age, facing graduation can feel like you have worked hard through college and followed that Walrus but you have finally gotten to the point where reality hits and he tells you that he is going to end your life as you know it by sending you out into the real world to be devoured. Okay, so maybe the real world isn’t filled with talking animals, winged pigs, or a boiling sea, and it may look nothing like Alice in Wonderland, but to a college graduate-to-be, it can be a very scary prospect.
Fortunately, we here at W&M are well equipped to deal with the real world when the Walrus says it’s time. Thanks to the Career Center, W&M graduates are not a bunch of clueless oysters, but a force in the workforce. Job placement for W&M grads actually went up through the recession, reversing a national trend. And as the summer draws to a close and summer internships reach their conclusion, I’ve already heard of several classmates with job offers in hand.
Personally, I’ve had the great fortune of having 7 different internships during my time at the College in Williamsburg, Washington, and back home in Michigan. They’ve really run the gamut from a law office to a mortgage bank to two different think tanks and more. I am a firm believer in the internship system and getting practical work experience in a variety of fields to narrow down what potential careers you may be interested in, and I’ve been lucky to have had several different work experiences.
Fortunately, the Career Center maintains close connections with Alumni employers and employees alike and has the resources to help you find potential internships or jobs, and prepare you as a candidate. During the school year there is a constant flurry of career fairs, networking opportunities, interviews, resume-building workshops, et cetera. The Career Center as a counseling resource is also great; they have individual counselors for different majors, and will gladly work with you during their generous walk in hours. Take a look at their website to get a feel for the tremendous work they do on campus.
A side note; even though I’m fairly confident in my own prospects post-graduation, I do dread the question “what are you going to do with the rest of your life”. It’s not that I don’t have an answer, it’s that it bothers me. Why is it appropriate to ask this to 20 or 21 or 22 year olds, but seemingly no other age group? I often wish I could turn around and ask the other person what they intend to do with the rest of their lives, no matter how old or young they are. Does anybody ever have a good answer?
Well anyways, I do, as promised, have an answer to that question, but it is a long one. With my international relations major, my eventual goal is the Foreign Service. I would like to be able to live abroad, like I did last semester, and still serve my country, hopefully by helping American businesses flourish in an international setting. Foreign Service applicants usually have graduate degrees, work experience, or both, and I’m not quite there yet as a candidate, so in the mean time I’ll look for a job in the fall.
I really am fortunate because the job hunt isn’t as scary for me. To start, I’m going to contact the people I met in those 7 internships first and see if there are any opportunities that they know of for a fresh college graduate. Beyond that, I’m specifically looking into jobs with federal consulting, perhaps through a larger company like Deloitte or PricewaterhouseCoopers, companies that W&M keeps a special connection with. I’m sure it will be competitive, but fortunately my W&M degree (and W&M connections) and the resume I’ve developed (available upon request!) will hopefully ensure I am not unemployed come next summer. Hopefully I will find something I love and stick with it, as I already have a good sense of what I want out of a job through the internships I have had.
Of course, if I want to go a completely different route, I could take immediate advantage of that accounting minor I took, and stay an extra year at W&M to get my Masters of Accounting. That’s an option, and I’ll explore that more in the fall. At one point in my life, I wanted to go to law school, or perhaps get a Masters in Diplomacy, but I think for now, it’s smarter to wait and get some real work experience (and a steady income) before thinking about any graduate school.
Either way, I can start to hear the Walrus saying that the time has come. Fortunately, I know I’m not an oyster and I’m prepared for what comes next.
July 27, 2011 by Carter Rosekrans
If you’re like me, sometimes the best way to blow off steam is by going for a nice, long run. Running is not just good for your health, but it also gets your brain to release Endorphins into your blood stream, which makes you feel happy and positive. If I’m having a long day, I’ll often just try to drop what I’m doing so I can head out on a run, refocus, and get those Endorphins going. It can be a great study technique, depending on the circumstances of course.
Here at W&M I am fortunate, because Williamsburg, in my humble opinion, is one of the best places to run in the world. Just stepping outside my doorstep, I often find myself struggling to decide where exactly to go because of the wealth of options around me. Here are a few of my favorites;
1. Campus – Start with campus! It is very run-able, and you can put together several different loops that wind through quiet roads where you won’t have to worry about cars. Running the boundary circle with Jamestown Road, Ukrop Way, and Richmond Road comes out to 2 ¼ miles, and there are countless points to duck into the heart of campus from there and create your own run.
2. Duke of Gloucester/DOG Street – This is the quintessential Williamsburg run. From Boundary Street at Confusion Corner to the Colonial Capitol is exactly ¾ of a mile through the heart of Colonial Williamsburg (CW). Adding a few laps or side streets, you can easily turn a CW run into a decent length run. It’s crowded during high tourist season, but it’s a beautiful run, and you don’t have to deal with cars. In addition, DOG Street is lit and patrolled around the clock, which means it is a prime, safe spot for late night runs.
3. South England Street – South England Street is about midway through CW perpendicular to DOG Street. If you take it south, past the Williamsburg Lodge, it turns into what is basically a 1 ¾ mile access road that winds through a golf course and features some good size hills (for Williamsburg). It ends at the starting point for the aptly-named Carter’s Grove Country Road, which winds at least 4 more miles through the forest all the way to the Busch Brewery and Kingsmill, and is the path of the annual Colonial Half-Marathon.
4. South Henry Street – Starting again at Confusion Corner, if you take Boundary Street south it turns into South Henry Street, a two lane road that winds past the Law School and the Cedar Grove Cemetery. It is about 2 miles out to Route 199, where you can either turn around or hop on the Colonial Parkway and head back.
5. Colonial Parkway – As I mentioned in an earlier post, from the Newport Avenue entrance near campus, Jamestown Beach is about 3 miles away on the Colonial Parkway, and makes for a nice long run that you can combine with a dip in the James River. There is usually ample shoulder space on the Parkway, and it is a beautiful place to run. Something to take into consideration; the Colonial Parkway Murders from the 1980’s remain unsolved. I’m just sayin’. (Side note: the Colonial Parkway Killer is an overblown urban legend, most of the murders were really far from Williamsburg.)
6. Fitness Trail – The Rec Center maintains a mile-long Fitness Trail in the back of campus that winds through the woods surrounding Lake Matoaka. Not only is it a dedicated trail for running, but it also features stations with different things like pull-up bars and parallel bars, to give your run an extra kick.
7. New Town / Around Lake Matoaka – If you start again at Confusion Corner and run up Jamestown Road, take the first street on your right past the Business School, Mill Neck Road, which winds through Walnut Hills, a quiet neighborhood. Mill Neck will put you out onto John Tyler / Strawberry Plains Road, which eventually meets up with Monticello Avenue at New Town. If you take a right on Monticello, take that all the way to Richmond Road, you can take a right and follow that down right back to where you started. There’s ample shoulder space and a few sidewalks, but it makes for a good 5 ½ mile loop.
Well I’m not going to give away all my secrets, but that’s a good sampling of my favorites. As you can see, there are plenty of options in Williamsburg, long and short, that give you the opportunity to get those Endorphins going.
July 13, 2011 by Carter Rosekrans
Every night I toss and turn, and I can feel my soul yearning with a hunger I cannot presently fulfill. It has been two months since I’ve last satisfied this longing, and the serious void that has been left in my life has left me struggling to function as a human being. What is this yearning for you ask? What is my hunger? My soul longs for German cooking, of course.
In the past I thought that the Italians had the whole cuisine thing figured out, and they can certainly make a good case for having the best food in the world. I’ve found that Korean dishes, too, have their merits and could make a good case for the title. Others will stake out a particular region of China that has, bar none, the best food in the world. Yet others of an Iberian persuasion swear by Paella and Tapas, while still others praise the Argentineans’ dexterity with a cow, and even more point to the Indian sub-continent as the world’s culinary heart. Many settle on a burrito from Chipotle as the ultimate gastronomic experience. In Williamsburg especially there seems to be a consensus that there’s nothing better than the foods emblematic of good ol’ Southern cookin’; pit barbeque, sweet potato pie, grits, and sweet tea. And by my own admission, my fellow intern Kylee does make a mean banana pudding unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.
However none of this food speaks to me, or rather my stomach, the way that German cuisine does. I didn’t grow up on German food, but I’ve certainly decided to adopt it as my own after a blissful 4 months abroad in Freiburg, Germany. When I tell people how good the food was, they look at me cross-eyed, like I just did the Guten Tag Hop Clop (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylIHUWVef9Y), and I certainly think German cuisine gets a bad rep, or at the least is very underrated.
Fear not dear reader, for I will not let you fall into the misconception that the palate is foreign to the Germans. Here, in itemized form, is why German cuisine is, in my opinion, the best cuisine in the world.
1. Potatoes: I don’t know if it is something in the drinking water there, but it seems like every man, woman, and child in Germany just knows what to do with a potato. Pommes, or what we would call French fries, often take a back seat to a myriad variety of potato dishes. Kartoffelsalat or potato salad is sacred, and my flat mate made an incomparable batch. But Kartoffelpüree, mashed potatoes, and Salzkartoffeln, boiled potatoes, are equally as common. If you haven’t guessed by now, ‘Kartoffel’ means potato. German cuisine often calls for a Kartoffelgerichte, or side dish centered on potatoes, in nearly every regional specialty, and I never came across one I didn’t like.
2. Sausage: “So let me get this straight”, I asked the butcher at my local grocery store upon my return to the U.S., “you don’t make your own sausages here?” “No, but over in the refrigerated section, you’ll find some great stuff from Johnsonville”. Now you know why I started weeping to myself quietly in the middle of a crowded grocery store. No doubt Johnsonville makes some great stuff, but the meat counters in Germany are unparalleled, and the quality and variety of Würste is overwhelming. My favorite? Münchener Weißwurst, a white sausage from Munich flavored with parsley and onion, and often eaten for breakfast.
3. Maultaschen: A more regional specialty from Swabia, Maultaschen are dough pockets filled with vegetables or minced meat. German grocery stores carry a diverse variety, and once boiled in broth and served with (surprise) Kartoffelsalat, they make for a tasty yet quick and easy and traditional Swäbisch meal.
4. Spätzle: This is the German equivalent of Mac and Cheese. It consists of egg noodles, grilled onions, bacon, and lots of cheese. This is yet another dish that is easy to make and so very delicious. I easily hooked my parents on Spätzle when they came to visit, and it’s nowhere to be found in the U.S., so at least someone can share in my pain.
5. Flammkuchen: Flammkuchen is a specialty of the Elsass or Alsace region that has bounced back and forth between France and Germany. Flammkuchen, or tarte flambeé in French, is a flatbread with red onions, thin strips of ham, crème fraiche, and usually Gruyere cheese. It has a unique taste, and if you’re lucky you can find them stateside at Trader Joe’s.
6 . Bread: Bäckereien, or bakeries, were perhaps the most tempting part about living in Germany. Bread is an essential part of every meal, and Germans get quite creative when they put dough in the oven, and the results are overwhelmingly positive. My personal favorite was Sonnenblumenkernbrot, or bread with sunflower seeds baked in.
7. Veggies: Every day but Sunday in Freiburg there was a farmer’s market in the central square, and fresh, local veggies were the main attraction. You have to have something green with every meal, and local asparagus and broccoli were perfect complements to a hearty plate.
8. Beer: German beer is not good, it’s great, and probably deserves its own blog post from me. Paulaner Hefeweizen Dunkel, served at room temperature of course, is the best beer in the world in my humble opinion. Lucky for me, Williamsburg has a Bavarian beer garden that serves all of my favorite varieties, plus schnitzel, which is technically Austrian, but also delicious.
While many of the items listed above are heavy and hearty, the key is to eat in much smaller portions. All of these things will fill you up, but you would be wise to avoid overeating any of them, of course. And while you can find some of these specific things in the U.S., they are certainly not easy to find, and when I have found them, it’s just not the same. So I’m still going to toss and turn in my sleep, dreaming of sausages and potatoes, until I can make my way back to Germany.
June 27, 2011 by Carter Rosekrans
I really enjoy being back in Williamsburg for the summer, and even though the campus is not quite as bustling as it normally is, I have been able to relish in the quietude as a reprieve from the chaos of the last couple months. You see, I spent last semester abroad in Germany, and in the last 2 months alone, I have backpacked through Italy, celebrated my birthday in Rome, took final exams for all my classes, participated in a Model EU conference, moved out of my apartment, taken my parents on a trip through Germany, flew home, took a Memorial Day trip to the beach, and used the time since to get settled into my new home in Williamsburg. As you can imagine, after all that I really do enjoy the slower pace that W&M moves at over the summer.
However, the campus is not entirely empty, and the pace is not all that slow. Plenty of students come back to campus to take classes, conduct research with professors, or continue with local jobs or internships. I was presently surprised at how many of my friends ended up in the Williamsburg area for at least part of the summer. And there are still plenty of things to do around town as we hit high tourist season, and the dellys, our local student hotspots, still see a respectable crowd on the weekends.
But back to the quietude, and one of my favorite things to do over the summer; go to the beach. Coming from the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, I need to get my beach fix over the summer, and fortunately, the Williamsburg area has plenty of options. The closest and most popular choice is College Creek, which is about 5 minutes away by car. It is a simple trip south on the leafy Colonial Parkway, and actually makes for a nice 3 to 4 mile run from campus (be forewarned, that is each way) if you are feeling ambitious. Right on the James River, College Creek has a nice sandbar, and is very popular for W&M students, so it seems like I will always see someone I know there.
The next closest option is the Yorktown beach, right on the York River near its mouth at the Chesapeake. It is the opposite direction on the Colonial Parkway, and takes a little bit longer, usually about 20 minutes by car. For history buffs, Yorktown is the site of Cornwallis’ surrender in the Revolutionary War and a Civil War battlefield too, and many of the historical sites are right off the beach, which is bigger and sandier than College Creek. Added bonuses include the quiet shops and eateries that line the brick boardwalk, making Yorktown an easy place to spend an afternoon or a day.
A more ambitious day trip also popular amongst students is the 75-minute drive down to Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is a much more popular tourist destination, as its oceanfront provides endless entertainment in the form of bars, restaurants, concerts, beach-based sport competitions, and just plain old people watching. However, its beach is by far the best in the area, even though Virginia Beach’s main attraction is decidedly not the beach, but the bustling boardwalk instead. There are plenty of ways to kill an afternoon in Virginia Beach, and it is often worth the extra time on the highway if you prefer the oceanfront.
No matter where you decide to go, it is easy to get your beach fix in the Williamsburg area. And the nice part about going to school here, is that beach weather often sticks around well into the fall, and comes pretty early in the spring, which makes for a good breather from academic life. Either way, take advantage of the sandy opportunities around you, and chances are you just might find me relaxing out in the summer sun.