August 11, 2011 by Emily Schulman
A silence has settled over the W&M campus. Anticipation is building, parking spots are abundant and checkout at Wawa is happening at record speeds. This lull in the regularly vibrant and bustling campus occurs annually between the end of summer classes and the beginning of orientation training. Summer students retreat to their hometowns in an effort to soak up a responsibility free summer in two weeks, dorms and dinning halls close, even the gym has been totally cleared out for cleaning. The entire campus is in quiet preparation, everyone fulfilling their duties, which will eventually culminate in a pristine campus, ripe for the beginning of William and Mary’s 318th year.
This silence can only mean one thing….
Orientation is-a-comin’. And nothing brings a smile to my face like orientation. So you might be thinking, “Emily you just finished an intensive 8 week internship that solely revolved around our school, don’t you want a break?” my response: “we must not have met before.” Orientation is my jam. This is my 3rd year of orientation – a 5 day long transition process for incoming freshman and transfers, where each pair of orientation aides (OA) is given a hall and charged with facilitating this process. My definition of Orientation would probably go a bit more like this: 5 day long summer camp where meals are free, names games competitive, and the yellow shirts…well the yellow shirts are just empowering. My yellow shirt does for me what I would assume Batman’s cape or Spiderman’s skin tight (yet masculine) jumpsuit did for him. It makes me want to get every incoming freshman amped up for the next four years of their life. Not in a superficial- lets smile really hard and clap a lot -kind of way, but a substantial, and genuine – you seriously don’t understand what the next four years has in store for you – kind of way. And yes, while just the idea of incoming freshman makes the fact that I am a senior unmistakably real, I know that those crisp creased new yellow t-shirts will help soften the blow.
There are a couple things about orientation that they don’t teach you during training. You are going to sweat, you are going to lose your voice and you are going to be tired, oh so tired. Do not be mistaken; orientation is a marathon not a sprint that will test your spirit, physical strength and knowledge. But when all is said and done, your co-OA(s) is a new best friend, you have given all you can to your beloved hall, which by the way you will consider your offspring, and you will know that W&M is really a better place, because you gave the most important thing you can, your time.
August 3, 2011 by Emily Schulman
My boss has asked each summer intern to reflect on our past summer of interviews, suggest advice to future interviewees and contextualize, if possible, what separates the goods the greats and the got to haves. Interviewing 6 people a day roughly 3 times a week for 8 weeks, gives me a total of 144 interviews. That’s 144 twenty-five minute one-on-one sit down sessions with prospective students.
The problem with my boss’s request is that its difficult to articulate what it is that makes an interviewee standout. Why is it that I leave some interviews in awe of the person I just spoke to, sure that they will one day have a huge impact on the world, and I leave others content but uninspired. I think the answer can be found in one word: passion. It took me a long time to come to grips with what my role was as a summer interviewer. After all, besides the occasional quirky question, most of what I’m told throughout the day could just as easily be learned form reading an interviewee’s application. Thus what my job really entails, is gauging the energy, personality, passion, and overall vibe of the person sitting across from me. You could ramble off a laundry list of extra curriculars, but it’s the students who take the time to eloquently articulate why it is they have given their time and energy to that club or organization – beyond “It looks good for college.” – that make me really excited. Tell me what you love and why you love it.
Another word of advice: when I give you an opportunity to describe yourself either by asking, “how would your teacher describe you” or “how would your friends describe you,” these questions are gifts. Take advantage of them. I hate to put it in such blunt terms but please, sell yourself. This is your moment to tell me why we can’t live without you. One-word answers, though not preferable, can suffice if this word is strong, significant, and thought provoking. This is NOT a time to be modest, be confident, but not cocky, empowered, but not gaudy. Be a person that will stand up for what they believe, ignite change and add to our diverse college community both in and out of the classroom. You don’t have to have created a new club at your school to impress me, just show me that you have thrived in the organizations you are part of.
The next best piece of advice I can give you is to be honest. Not just with what you are saying but with who you are. If you tell me that you’re hilarious, then I better have laughed at least once during the interview. If you tell me that you’re energetic, don’t put me to sleep with lackluster answers and anecdotes. Embody who you are don’t just tell me who you are. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not just to appease us. There is no perfect applicant, and if you are trying to fit some mystical mold, it shows. Be the most authentic and unique person you know – yourself!
August 1, 2011 by Emily Schulman
Many people you meet throughout your life will claim to “love food” or be a “food enthusiast” and I for one think of myself as at the forefront of this subset. So you can imagine how elated I was to hear about the novel food options just moments away from completion of Tribe Square on Richmond Rd. Until yesterday no one had any idea what was moving in there. The anticipation on campus, especially amongst the interns, was palpable, as illustrated by numerous desperate Facebook posts on various W&M Facebook pages. The student body was becoming rowdy, and for lack of a better word, hungry, to know who would be gracing us with their delicious eats come Fall 2011. Why the excitement? Since I came to campus in 2008 and doubtless before, there has been a general consensus that late night dining options are somewhat underwhelming. And by underwhelming I mean limited, and by limited I mean Wawa, Dominos, or you’re going home hungry. There is an accepted rumor among students that our Wawa is the highest grossing (or 2nd highest – depending on who you talk to) Wawa on the East coast. And while I do love Wawa, with its plethora of options for 24 hours sustenance, I’m ready for more. In true William and Mary fashion, our voices have been heard, action has been taken, and oh so soon four new delectable dining options will be available. To the happiness of our student body, each store must remain open until least 1 am.
In an intense moment, laden with anticipation, three of the four new eats were released yesterday. Drum roll please… The Crust (a college friendly take on a upscale Williamsburg restaurant Bakers Crust), Subway Café (a hybrid subway and coffee shop) and, my personal favorite, Pita Pit. Admittedly I’ve never actually had Pita Pit, but from what I’ve heard and from the picture my imagination and taste buds have painted, I foresee myself dropping too much money on their Middle Eastern inspired faire. All I have to say to these new members of the Williamsburg family are that you are welcome with open arms and rumbling bellies.
I applaud the masterminds behind “ Tribe Square.” Williamsburg is not merely a tourist Mecca and the local economy should reflect that. Tribe Square represents a step in the right direction, as students and neighbors embrace the opportunities that each other offer. So I invite my fellow students and Williamsburg neighbors alike to dig in!
July 18, 2011 by Emily Schulman
When you think of great rivalries throughout time (you know, the ones that make grown men cry and their jerseys go unwashed for weeks at a time) some famous examples come to mind, most notably Yankees vs. Red Sox, Celtics vs. Lakers, Packers vs. Bears and of course UVA vs. William and Mary. But this Wednesday an even more epic rivalry will be played out on the Sunken Gardens. Since the birth of the W&M admission office’s summer internship, it has been tradition that once a year the interns and the deans gather at the epicenter of campus to duke out who will be named the Kick Ball champions and more importantly claim College bragging rights. The interns vs. the dean staff annual kickball game isn’t a picnic in the park; blood, sweat and tears will litter the field as only one team can emerge as champions. As to be expected, in the days leading up to this heated battle, substantial amounts of tumultuous trash talking and heartless intimidation tactics will become ubiquitous, as reminders of the rapidly approaching competition shade the day’s activities. Just today a formal challenge was issued. A sign was hung in the common kitchen area: “Prepare to be thrown to the wolves…Consider yourself challenged (signed) The Interns”.
While many in the college community speculate on the outcome, it’s all but impossible to predict the winner. Though the interns’ youth gives us an obvious leg up, the deans have been playing together for years. The intern team changes yearly, making it more difficult to solidify a team strategy. But this year I have no doubt based on our capabilities, made up of steely competitors and unsuspecting secret weapons, the interns will vanquish their elders. Our strategy this year can be summarized in four words “victory at any cost.” The energy in the admission office is feeding the growing tension, as passionately written inspirational emails circulate internally within the teams. When I asked fellow intern Kylee Ponder what she is doing to prepare she responded “I’m just doing what I have to do to be in the mental and physical state to wipe the floor with the deans.”
So if any of the dean’s staff is reading this blog– be scared, because interns are coming for you.
And to everyone else, stay tuned; the game takes places this Wednesday immediately following work at 5.
July 15, 2011 by Emily Schulman
So I know what you’re thinking, “is this girl kidding me July 4th was more than a week ago, I’m over it.” But I think, better late than never, right? Plus the happenings of a successful long weekend home in New York are worth sharing, trust me. First off, in an effort to avoid the inevitable 4 mile backup that surrounds the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel, I utilized the directions my boss, a seasoned commuter, provided. These directions took me on and off the highway more than once, and in and out of a diverse collection of villages and hamlets. Trusting my boss’s printed directions with every turn despite road signs to the contrary, I arrived unscathed and with an hour to spare for my flight home at Norfolk international.
Confession: my actual purpose for going home was not to eat hot dogs, wear denim and listen to “Born in the USA,” on repeat as cohorts of mosquitoes feast on my ankles. The real motivation behind the schlep home to New York was for my Father’s birthday. The man, the myth, the legend, my dad, Ira, who I’m sure is the reason behind so many of my idiosyncrasies, was turning a number I will not disclose in this public setting (though knowing him he would not care). For my mom, my brother, and me going out to dinner for my dad’s birthday is all about celebrating with loved ones and being there for him. For my dad, his birthday dinner is about all of that, and the fact that it’s the one time a year he indulges in what may rightly be called the most famous steak house in all the land: Peter Luger’s Restaurant. Having been spoiled by my meat and wine studded trip to Argentina, I was not expecting the same mouth watering appeal. However, as the medium rare hunk of perfectly prepared porterhouse steak was placed before me, I realized I would never be too jaded for Peter Lugers. The delicious, succulent meat and terrific side dishes were only matched by the wonderful company that attended the meal, and I knew my dad felt the same way.
So July 4th finally arrived and in normal Schulman tradition we made our way to our closest family friend’s house to take part in your typical holiday festivities. Located only two towns north of us, our friend’s home always felt like a Shangri-La of sorts, a getaway from the bustling suburbs. Equipped with a pool, a garden that produced fresh fruits and vegetables ripe for the picking, and an endless supply of guacamole, most of my summer holidays were spent poolside and this July 4th was no exception. But the highlights of this particular gathering differed slightly from the usual. My dad, having spotted that day’s New York Times out of the corner of his eye, grabbed the paper and without a second thought began reciting the reprinted copy of the Declaration of Independence that appears every July 4th. Following the epic reading, we all gathered around the TV to watch the movie musical,1776, a personal favorite of mine, that tells the story of how 13 diverse colonies formed a nation. This is my family, and this is how we spent July 4th.
June 21, 2011 by Emily Schulman
The ability for me to move so quickly and effortlessly from one point of the earth to another never ceases to delight and impress me. Upon realizing that my time in Argentina was coming to an end, I decided on an impromptu trip to Patagonia, the mountainous region that serves as the border between Argentina and Chile. Because most of my friends had already returned to the USA, I decided to pursue this dream alone. Having worked at a ski/snowboard shop since high school, I had been selling “Patagonia” clothing brand, and, in turn, had become intrigued by this rugged, mountainous part of the world. So when I realized that I was about to leave Argentina without having visited this mysterious region, I knew I had to go. Because I went alone this trip took on an entirely different significance. What could have been merely one more trip with friends became a dynamic, self-empowering journey. Three days of hiking glaciers and mountains and meeting new people passed in the blink of an eye. Two days after I returned to Buenos Aires and after some late night packing, I returned home to New York. Two weeks after that, after a painless eight hour drive (and the obligatory stop at Chick –Fil-a), I arrived in Williamsburg. Saying it is easy, conceptualizing how I managed to find myself on all corners of the earth within a matter of days is somewhat more difficult to wrap my head around.
This is my first blog entry as an admissions intern. I thought returning from Argentina I would immediately feel depressed. However, to my pleasant surprise I have felt the opposite. I’m excited for what this summer will bring; living in a house with my closest friends, embracing the summer weather and working on a campus that has provided me with every opportunity in the world. I look forward to this summer with high hopes.