The Last Blog

The Last Blog

I’m leaving in about 15 mintues to go to what is known as Senior
Candlelight. Every year on the Saturday night before William and Mary’s
graduation, all the seniors gather in caps and gowns in the Wren Yard.
From what I hear, it’s an emotional final reflection of this crazy ride
we’ve called college.
So I wanted to fit in one last — last — blog, because I realized that as my time here is about to abruptly end, I’ve never really told you how I got here.
When
August of my senior year of high school rolled around, my dad was
yelling at me to get more “on-the-ball” about college visits, so to
appease him, I opened the nearest college recruitment envelope piling
up my kitchen table and read it.
It was from some college in Williamsburg, Virginia that I’d never heard about.
To this day, I remember that the letter talked about this school that was a place of contrasts
– where past meets present, groundbreaking academic research meets
late nights at the delis and stargazing on the Sunken Gardens, and
talented, quirky, crazy, curious people from all around the country and
the globe meet each other to teach and be taught.
“Let’s visit, ” I said.
We
drove the 10 hours to Williamsburg and took a campus tour. It was the
first college I had seriously looked at, and it would be the last. I
got back in the car that day and told my dad I was applying to William
and Mary Early Decision, and I wasn’t going to as much as Google
another school.
So I mailed my application, crossed my fingers, and never looked back.
People told me I was insane.
Well,…
…it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
You
only need to spend half a second reading any of my blogs to know that
my love for this place and the extent to which it has changed my
life is incredible.
Congrats, 2009. And thanks for an unforgettable ride.

P.S. Sorry this was sappy. :)



An Adventure Games Photo Blog!

Adventure Games.  A 1-credit Kinesiology class.  Two words for you:  TAKE IT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



90 Degrees and Sunny

This weekend Williamsburg is reaching record high temperatures! It’s 90 degrees outside, and campus is strangely empty. That’s because everyone has headed off to the beaches today.
William and Mary is conveniently located about 10-20 minutes between two river beaches: Jamestown Beach (or College Creek) and Yorktown Beach — both along the James River. And, we’re also under an hour drive from Virginia Beach if you want to splurge for the real live ocean. :)
A day like today demanded some fun in the sun, so here’s how I spent this Saturday:
-A short drive down the beautiful Colonial Parkway landed me and 2 friends at Yorktown Beach. It was PACKED with college students and locals, as well as some weirdo walking the beach with a boa constrictor draped around his neck. :/ Hot sun, cold water, nice breeze, perfect beach weather.
-Next, we rounded up a couple of other friends and headed 20 minutes over to to the Newport News Park to rent paddle boats! For the unbeatable price of $5 per hour per boat, we cruised the giant reservoir, relaxed out on the water, and even chased a few turtles.
-Finally, tonight I’m headed to the Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre to watch a free showing of He’s Just Not That Into You.  Who doesn’t love outdoor movie showings?
Gorgeous days like today make it really hard to finish up the year’s last few assignments, but oh well — I’ll do them at some point. :)
(And tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be more of the same. I think I’ll head over to some free canoeing on the College’s Lake Matoaka!)



The 4-Year Roommate Luncheon

I’ve already told you about the fantabulous relationship I have with my roommate,
so I won’t repeat all that again. But, I will take a few minutes to tell you
about today’s 4-year roommate luncheon we attended!
At William and Mary, if you live
with the same roommate all 4 years, then during your last few weeks of senior
year, you are invited to attend a special 4-year roommate luncheon with the
President of the College. So today we got all dressed up and enjoyed a
delicious lunch in the Great Hall of the Wren Building, joined by President
Reveley himself.
There were probably 40-50 people
there (so 20-25 roomie pairs), and President Reveley raved about how that was
such an incredibly high number. (Apparently, there were only about one dining
table’s worth of 4-year roommates at last year’s luncheon. Lame, class of
2008.) President Reveley asked how many of us knew each other from high school
before becoming roommates, and probably only about 6 hands went up in the air.
I couldn’t believe that the majority of us had been randomly matched together
the summer before we started college! It was also really crazy to notice that
about 8-10 of us all came from our freshman dorm, Monroe Hall. Way to go,
Monroe.
So, lunch was fun, but also scary
because we realized this is the start of all the sappy, make-you-want-to-cry
events that this last month until graduation will be filled with. Ugh, I am not
ready for all this to be over.
Alright, I’m off to a potluck with
friends (I made Greek yogurt dip — τζατζικι!), so I’ll wrap up now!
My roommate, Hannah, is sitting in
the room on our futon (Finishing up her thesis! YAY!) while I’m writing this,
and since we were just joking about the luncheon, I’ll add this last part in
just for her:
“Pshew, we made it to senior
year and the 4-year roommate luncheon. I can finally move out and away from you
now.”
Just kidding. :P



Sweet Home Alab…I Mean Williamsburg

Hey blog-followers,
I’m blogging right now from a hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m also heading to bed soon so that I can wake up for my 7 a.m. flight back to Williamsburg! Talk about early!
What the heck am I doing in Alabama? Well, today I had an interview for something that will hopefully turn into a post-grad plan. (Maybe if every single one of you reading this crosses your fingers for me, things will work in my favor…pretty please?) I’ve kind of fallen in love with Birmingham, but I also can’t wait to get back to the College for these last few weeks. The days I’m away from the ‘burg are often the ones I love it most.
Take this trip for example. In the past 24 hours, I’ve probably received 4 texts and 6 Gchats all wishing me good luck in my interview, wanting to know how it went, and assuring me that I did a great job — and it really reminded me of how “competition” works at William and Mary.
Not once in my college career can I remember someone straight up asking me what grade I got on a paper, an exam or as a final grade on a class. I’ve never had a friend ask me about my GPA, and no one’s ever put me down about my work. Instead, I remember requests to form study groups, emails to entire classes to split up crazy-long study guides and compliments on presentations. I think it’s something that often goes unnoticed because we take it for granted, but William and Mary is probably one of the most supportive environments I’ll ever be in when it comes to success.
I know it becomes a cliche in the Admission Office, but the truth really is that the only person you’ll compete against here is yourself. Inside and outside the classroom, students here are so supportive of one another. I genuinely feel that people here want to see each other succeed in everything they do.
So some of those texts and Gchats were from seniors who’ve landed jobs or grad school acceptances, some were from seniors who haven’t yet, and some were from friends who aren’t even seniors and don’t have to worry about that yet. Everyone was supportive, because that’s just how W&M’ers are.
And why wouldn’t you want to be a part of something like that?
See you in 14 hours, Williamsburg!



Same School, New Tour

As part of our job in the Admission Office this summer, Tom,  Sam
and I were commissioned to become…the Programming Project Team! Our task: redesign Day for Admitted Students.
Every
spring, William and Mary invites high schoolers from across the country
who have already received the “YOU’VE BEEN ACCEPTED!” envelope to visit
our campus and decide that THIS is the school they want to attend. And
this year, we decided to do something different.
As we threw
out ideas and tried to figure out what high school seniors want to see
and need to see when they visit, one question that came up was, “Why do
we show admitted students the exact same tour we show prospective students?”
And…voila!
Just for you, we have a brand new tour that will only be offered at
this spring’s Days for Admitted Students. See the parts of campus that
we don’t have time to show you on our normal tours: the Rec, Yates
freshman dorm (the dorm where Jon Stewart lived his freshman year!),
the Caf and the Language Houses…just to name a few.
For a full list of what else you’ll get to see and hear on a Day for Admitted Students, visit the official website. We’re offering several Admitted Students days this year– not just one — so if you live anywhere close by, try to make the trip to Williamsburg!
And enjoy the new tour!



In College You Get to Have Lunch with Famous People

Today I had a FREE and delicious lunch of chicken-topped salad and berry-topped cheesecake. For a poor college student, this would b exciting enough by itself.
But did I mention that I was sitting six inches to the right of Secretary Paul O’Neill, the United States Secretary of the Treasury from 2001-2002 during the Bush administration? I literally bumped elbows with the man.
Secretary O’Neill has several ties to the College. His daughter and son-in-law (who also attended lunch) are alums, and he also has a grandson who is currently a junior here. O’Neill spent the morning speaking to classes ranging from Professor McInerney’s Econ 101 to graduate students in the MBA program. And at the close of our lunch, he was already running behind for a meeting with President Reveley. Ahh..the busy lives of powerful, famous people.
If you aren’t familiar with how important the Treasury Secretary is, just do a quick Google or Wikipedia. The Secretary of the Treasury is head of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and they are considered to be the principal economic advisor to the President. Also, I was serious about that whole “signing every dollar bill” thing. Pull out your wallet. See the tiny signature below and to the right of George Washington’s head? That’s the Secretary of the Treasury.
Some of my favorite moments from lunch were spent listening to Secretary O’Neill talk about his tour of Africa that he took with Bono (yes, THE Bono, of U2). It was hard not to crack up when he talked about switching glasses with Bono for an afternoon (Bono’s snazzy blue wrap-arounds for O’Neill’s dainty prescription pair) or when Secretary O’Neill’s daughter, Julie, told the story of driving through Ghana in the back of a jeep while crouched down next to Bono. Crazy?!?!
It was also really exciting to listen to Secretary O’Neill discuss a topic that’s extremely important to him: health economics. I’m currently taking an upper-level Economics class called Health Economics, and my professor was actually the one who got me the invite to today’s lunch! It was pretty cool that nearly everything Secretary O’Neill mentioned was something we’ve discussed in class this spring — insurance, malpractice, hospital efficiency, Medicare reimbursements, etc. It makes you feel pretty smart to be able to talk policy with someone who served on the President’s Cabinet. :)
There were only 14 people at this lunch, and only four of us were undergraduate students. Opportunities like these are just another one of the perks of attending a top school like William and Mary that also remains small and close-knit. Here’s what I mean:
Two years ago, I made a last-minute switch to an Economics major. I needed a professor to serve as my advisor –QUICK–and a professor I didn’t even know, Professor Mellor, agreed!
A year after that, Professor Mellor needed a student to help out as a research assistant, so she contacted some of her advisees. I’d been wanting to try out research with a professor, so I signed up for the job!
Six months later, I needed a final class to complete my Econ major, so I decided that since I’d had such a good research experience with Professor Mellor, I would sign up for her Spring 2009 Health Economics class.
Next thing you know, it’s this past Tuesday and she was asking me and two other students if we were free to have lunch with the former Secretary of the Treasury this Friday. Next thing you know, I’m sitting right next to Secretary O’Neill in the Board of Visitors Dining Room, listening to him speak. Next thing you know, he turns to me and offers me a job that pays $1 million start…ok just kidding. I made that last part up. :)
BUT, the point is: come to the College. I guarantee you’ll meet at the very very least, one famous person before you graduate.
Maybe next time Secretary O’Neill stops by, he’ll bring Bono too. :)



SB2K9: Another Reason I Love William and Mary

Last week was Spring Break, and as a senior, this was my LAST
OFFICIAL COLLEGE BREAK EVER. Wow. Weird. The next break from classes is
called “Hello, you’ve graduated. Welcome to real life.” Yikes.
This
year, my Spring Break plans were thrown together at the very last
minute. Nine of us drove 12 hours to Orlando, and not a single one of
us knew all other 8 people before we left. Sound like I should have
been nervous? WRONG. This is William and Mary, and if there’s one thing
I’ve learned in four years, it’s that things work differently here. :)
Spring
Break was absolutely, perfectly, amazingly,
not-a-single-thing-went-wrong-ly,
I-even-managed-to-get-a-substantial-tan-ly, SO MUCH FUN. Regarding the
people that I was friends with before we left, I had an absolute blast
spending a sunny week in Florida with them. And regarding the ones I’d
never met before, I’m now obsessed with them. For a hodge-podge group
of people all thrown together in one (really nice) condo just down the
road from Disney, we got along SO well and had SO much fun with each
other. We probably said it a hundred times during break: what we love
about William and Mary is that stuff like this is the norm, not the
exception. People here are just awesome. You rarely need to worry about
meeting new WM-ers or spending 12 hours in a car with one you just met.
Odds are, you’re going to think they’re awesome.
Throughout the
week, we referred to any photos of our group as “family photos,” and
we’ve already experienced so much withdrawal that we’ve planned a
Spring Break group reunion for next week. Awwww, we’re so cute, right?
Counting
down my last six weeks at the College is already awful enough, but it’s
50 times worse when you’ve just spent a week-long vacation with a group
of people you wish you’d met 3 1/2 years sooner. :’(
 
And now some bulleted highlights of the fun that was Orlando!
-Our amazing condo! Free washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers never get old when you’re in college.
-Pools (with waterfalls, palm trees wrapped in blue holiday lights) open until 1 a.m.
-Volleyball (my new favorite sport, btw) courts in both the pool and on land. Free volleyball rental all day long!
-Team
dinners! We split our group into “dinner teams” and took turns being in
charge of feeding everyone. So cheap. So fun. Such good cooks we turned
out to be.  Shout out to Natty and Richard, my incredible teammates.
Mexican night was such a success!
-A day at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park, getting there in time to beat all the lines, and loving the super-fast waterslides!
-Day trip to Cocoa Beach! (and the souvenir sunburn, ouch.)
-VIP
passes to see the space shuttle launch (and even though it was
postponed, we still got a free dinner) courtesy of Cailin’s aunt!



Finally! Zip Line Over Lake Matoaka!

Today was awesome.
It was the long-awaited day when my Adventure Games class got to zip line across Lake Matoaka.
OH. MY. GOSH.
SO. EXCITED.
At 1:40 p.m. I rushed down to the amphitheatre by the lake so that I could make sure I wasn’t a minute late. As half of the class took canoes over to the “catching” side of the lake, the rest of us hurried to put on our harnesses and gear. We then took turns belaying for each other as we climbed a tree (first with a ladder, but then with no ladder!) up to the jumping platform.
Our teacher helped us make sure we were strapped to the zip line correctly, and then one at a time we JUMPED to zoom down the zip line and across the lake! You could choose to hold on to your rope, bravely go no-hands or hang upside-down, and then when you reached the other side of the lake, the team there caught you and helped you unhook yourself from the wire.
It was a BLAST, and I will admit that this blog is a pathetic attempt to do it justice. I was too busy flying across the lake to snap any good pictures either, but Beth and I did manage to pose for a shot with the platform when class was (sadly) over.
Goal: Take the zip line across Lake Matoaka before I graduate: CHECK!



Love From Williamsburg

Happy Valentine’s Day from the ‘burg!
It’s been a good Valentine’s Day this year, and I don’t even have an official valentine. :)
One of my best friends (he lived down the hall from me freshman year) stopped by my dorm today to drop off a Valentine’s Day surprise! He and his girlfriend had stopped by the Farmer’s Market on DoG  Street this morning, and they brought me a piece of baklava from the Greek food stand! (If you’ve been following my blogs, then you know that I studied abroad in Greece last spring and have been obsessed with everything Greek ever since.) My friends are smart people: they know the key to my heart is through desserts.
I screamed when I saw the baklava. “Oh my gosh, this is the best Valentine’s Day EVER!”
And then my friend killed my excitement by saying, “Carrie, that’s sad hahaha.”
THANKS.
So anyway, I’m not quite sure why I felt the need to blog about his, but that’s just how excited Greek cuisine gets me.
Who needs a valentine when you have good friends and the Greek food stand at the Farmer’s Market?
<3