October 19, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
Today has been a good day.
This week has been a good week.
This month has been a good month.
This semester has been a good semester.
And it’s all only going to keep getting better. I came into senior year wanting to embrace all the opportunities I hadn’t taken advantage of my first three years at W&M – go to a variety of sporting events, hit up every Half-Price-Burgers night at the Leafe, enjoy good times with good friends, and not miss a single event I wanted to go to. Yep. Sports, food, friends, and fun – that’s what I was expecting.
Clearly, I forgot to factor in the 13 classes a week, plus group projects, plus homework, plus midterms studying, plus sleep.
But I’ve had a whole new experience, embracing the little things about W&M that make it, quite literally, the best place in the world. In the opposite of chronological order:
- Just went to the ID office. Now, it is worth mentioning, I’ve had my fair share of experiences with the ID Office over the past year or so, and very few of them have been positive. My ID card has been rather faulty as of late because the funny thing about using something constantly every single day for three years is that it takes its toll on something. The ID Office has rules about only replacing IDs that don’t work due to “wear and tear” and have a magnetic strip that isn’t in tact anymore. One could argue that this applied to my ID card, and one (me) did argue that, to no avail on numerous occasions. It soon became a point of principle (and absurd stubbornness) that I wouldn’t pay $20 for a card I believed should be replaced for free. Let’s fast forward to about an hour ago, and I went back to the ID Office. I had a whole speech geared up for why I deserved a new one, and the wonderfully, amazingly, fantastically, super-duper-cool-ly, awesome student employees there were SO SO SO NICE. Literally, the best – they nodded, they agreed, and they replaced! Ways to make Karthik’s day in 13 minutes or less. The people that work at this school, from the students to staff to administration, really do just want to do as much as they can to make your life easier, and there are few words to express the gratitude that induces.
- Speaking of awesome staff at the College, I needed an official transcript for that whole idea of the “real world.” I needed it last Friday, and our beautiful website clearly states it can take a 3-5 day waiting period for that to happen. I went in on Wednesday (which is not 3-5 business days before Friday), and they made it happen! They nodded, they listened, and they printed! They also engaged me in great conversation about Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots. Ballin’
- This list is no longer going to be in reverse chronological order.
- Yesterday, we had an Admission Interns reunion. The school year has been busy for everyone, and it’s rare all 12 of us get to be reunited at any point. In fact, it hasn’t officially happened yet (that’s what Homecoming weekend is for), though we’ve come close twice, including yesterday. The first time was a couple weeks ago. One of the interns (Jamar) is a fantastic human being, with a hilarious sense of humor and an even more impressive amount of talent. He was acting in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, a play by August Wilson. Opening night was Thursday, and Sam was able to organize the troops into surprising Jamar at the play. We had the entire second row of the hall and even brought flowers. Needless to say, Jamar killed it, and it was an awesome night because 11 of us were able to reunite, plus it ended with Karthik getting Taco Bell. Then yesterday, most of us were able to get together at 5:30 and just hang out, catch up, and reminisce, which was awesome. Plus, it ended with Karthik getting Taco Bell.
- I’ve had the pleasure of working with Swem Development over the past few weeks, and I feel like I’m on this kick of talking about how amazing staff is at W&M. It’s the coolest thing to work with people who love what they do (and are good at what they do), and it’s also cool to get free pizza.
- I love intramural sports. They are probably some of the best experiences I’ve had at the College. Midterms week hit me hard this year, and I was very off the ball in terms of signing up for sports. Last year, I played IM Flag Football with my Res Life staff and Hall Council, and it still is one of my fondest memories. This year, we planned to reignite that awesomeness, but the funny thing about reigniting awesomeness is you have to sign up. Missed the sign ups by almost a week before realizing the fatal error, and I frantically e-mailed the IM Sports Director. Within hours, I had a response telling me to come to the office, and we’d be able to work something out. Boom boom boom – expect a post about winning an IM championship t-shirt with my flag football team in about seven weeks. There is also an IM cornhole tournament over Homecoming weekend, and I have never been more excited. A friend and I are already cornhole champions based off a sorority philanthropic event, but now we get to legitimize our awesomeness with free IM championship shirts.
I said I got to “[embrace] the little things about W&M that make it, quite literally, the best place in the world.” It’s all about the people. It’s always all about the people. The people at this school make it what it is, and I gain a new appreciation for it every single day. So, in conclusion, in a roundabout way, I guess I have been able to get my fixes of sports, food, friends, and fun.
Also, my homework assignment this weekend was to watch Aaron Rodgers throw six touchdown passes and beat one of the last remaining undefeated teams in the NFL. W&M is the best.
August 9, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
Did you know Tug of War used to be an official Olympic sport? Or Chuck Lorre, the guy who created Two and a Half Men, composed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song?
Maybe you’d like to know that the average person takes 23,000 breaths. Or that daydreaming makes you smarter (tell your teachers that!).
At this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Self, is this post just going to be a bunch of random, relatively useless facts?” To that, I respond: “Should have read the title.”
In the office, when we’re not being enthralled by amazing interviewees, giving ballin’ tours, or having a blast with the dean staff, we find ourselves wanting to know more information. Enter: https://twitter.com/UberFacts
A dozen of my favorites:
- A 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew contains the equivalent of about 22 packets of sugar.
- There is no word you can write using only the bottom row of the keyboard (bvcxnmzz).
- Neil Patrick Harris was the voice of Spiderman in the 2003 animated series and in the “Spider Man: Shattered Dimensions” game.
- A snail can stay asleep for 3 whole years (just two years, 362 days more than me)
- You are only born with 2 fears — We are naturally afraid of falling and loud noises.
- It takes about 4 seconds for a silence to become awkward (….uhh, so how’s everyone’s day been?)
- You are more likely to memorize what you’ve written, if you wrote in blue ink.
- If Barbie were real, she would be too skinny to bear children, and too disproportionate to walk upright.
- Today, we walk about 10% faster than we did in the year 1994 (interestingly, the Today show is also about 10% longer than it used to be in 1994, as well)
- In Oklahoma, it’s actually illegal to take a bite out of another person’s hamburger.
- The Apple app store once sold an “I Am Rich” application — It cost $999.99 to purchase and did nothing.
- “Scrubs” has been described as the most medically-accurate television show on air (and was created by a W&M alum!)
July 19, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
One of my favorite questions to ask in an interview is the uninvention question – “throughout history, there have been a lot of inventions that have changed the world. If you had the power to uninvent any one thing, what would you uninvent?” It really gives you an idea of what they find important, and it’s also a great way to see the inner workings of a person’s mind.
By far, the most popular answer I get is Facebook. I guess it’s the fact that we’re part of the technology generation or the idea that you take our internet away from us for one day and we go through withdrawal, but it kind of surprised me – the ability to uninvent anything, and you choose Facebook? The more I think about it, though, it makes sense.
Have we lost the importance of face-to-face interaction because of Mark Zuckerburg? Or do we appreciate it more because it happens less often? Have birthdays become less special because it’s no longer impressive to “remember” the day someone first cried their way on to Earth? Has Facebook chat and stalking people completely taken the joy out of actually getting to know another person? Are we quicker to judge because of what people put on Facebook? Or are friendships more superficial because you are now “friends” with anyone you meet for 12 seconds on a subway? And what about relationships – after all, we all know “something isn’t legit until it’s Facebook official.”
But imagine a life sans Facebook – would there be more “real” friendships? Or would we just find another outlet to procrastinate our time? We may not be as easily “stalked,” but I can’t imagine our time would be any more productive. Would keeping in touch actually become harder? And how would I be able to see those embarrassing pictures of you from the ninth grade? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I will tell you this – without Facebook, I don’t know how I would have come across something this awesome:
So after much contemplation (and the occasional SVU break so as to not make my head hurt), I have come to the conclusion that if I could uninvent anything, it would be those silly, unanswerable, fake-philosophical questions people put in their blogs.
July 12, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
Let’s play two truths and a lie!
- I am Coke-born and Coke-bred.
- I have been pronouncing the word “question” wrong for the last 19 years of my life.
- I am a master cook of all cuisines.
- I still own (and willingly use) a flip phone
- Go big and don’t go home. If you’re spending money on a sub, go all out—make it a footlong, and make it a meal. Not only is the footlong cheaper than two six inches, it’s basically two meals in one! If you’re the hungry type, it’ll fill you up. If you’re not, you’ve got both lunch and dinner! Or the perfect thing for a fourth meal. Talk about cost effective. Moreover, a meal comes with a larger drink AND two cookies (or a bag of chips if that’s more your jam). You can get dessert and COKE (this is how you know Subway is a restaurant that puts a premium on taste) for a mere $2.20 extra.
- Get a rewards card. Seriously. Two trips will get you enough points for a free cookie (1o points) or a bag of chips (15 points). You can get a fountain drink (20 points) for three visits. If you choose to wait it out, 75 points will get you a footlong sub. Each point is worth a dollar, so it may seem excessive ($75 for a free sub?!), but if you’re spending the money anyway, you might as well make it worth your while, right? Right.Things to note about the reward card: It doesn’t round up. For example, if you buy $7.92 worth of Subway, you only get seven points. The solution? Chalk on another cookie! $8.22, and you’re good to go!
- Take advantage of their featured subs. Why pay $8 for a footlong sub when you can get one for $5? For the month of July (I think this is Subway’s way of wishing me a very happy birthday month), their $5 special is the buffalo chicken—you get your meat, you get it cheap, and you get it delicious. You can’t ask for more.
- Now, what should you actually put on the sub? You don’t have to take my advice, but I strongly suggest the following: wheat bread (healthy option!), pepper jack cheese (adds the perfect amount of kick and flavor to your sub once you get it toasted… so get it toasted), green peppers, black olives, pickles, shredded lettuce, and “a couple of jalapenos.” It’s a great balance of sweet, spicy, and healthy. Then, add ranch and mayonnaise so that it’s not too healthy (you can go with the lite mayonnaise if you are so inclined). Also make sure you specify the number of jalapenos you want – I have found that the majority of Subway “sandwich artists” tend to grab a handful and throw them on the sub as if they are merely another topping and not some circles of spicy tear-inducing, tongue-burning addition to your sub. Five is usually the perfect number, but as long as there are no more than seven, your sub (and your mouth) won’t be overwhelmed by the spice.
So that’s what I have for you. Also, if you’re at W&M, Subway takes W&M Express, so you can just upload money to your ID card and not even have to worry about carrying around your wallet (unless your rewards card is in there)! Happy nomming!
July 10, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
Working with the Admission Office has been such a phenomenal experience—hearing the stories of those who will continue the Tribe legacy, spending quality time with 11 of the coolest interns and rising seniors on the planet, and getting to talk about why William and Mary is my favorite place in the world (while walking backward!) and having people who want to listen.
Rewind to last Monday, and let’s relive what I now call, “The Worst Tour in History.”
Things to know before I begin:
- William and Mary is not the most handicap-accessible campus in the world. In fact, it is probably one of the four things in the world that it is not in the Top 10 for.
- If I were to list my six least favorite things in the world, they would be: Lebron James, the Miami Heat, Pepsi products, mirrors that zoom in too much, lima beans, directions, and counting. Not necessarily in that order. The only important thing on that list being the one that is bold and italicized.
- My ID card doesn’t exactly work. Well, that’s not completely true—it works … it just takes a lot of persistence. You see, I, as all William and Mary students, have an ID card. In fact, I’ve had this ID card for the solid majority of my college life. As with most material possessions that you have and use on a daily basis, my ID card has slowly lost its newness and ability to function. With its plastic tearing off, the magnetic strip getting worn, and the card itself fading, one would think the ID Office would be so kind as to count that “wear and tear” and give me a new ID card.The William and Mary ID Office is not “one.”
I will save my vendetta on the ID Office for a later date, but know that I could spend $20 on a new ID card and have all those frustrations wiped away. Rather, I choose to evoke my intense stubbornness (I tell you, I get it from my dad’s side of the family) and continue my college life with a barely-functioning ID.
- William and Mary loves its students. And as part of that love, they always try to make our campus better. And as part of making our campus better, there is ALWAYS construction.
Okay. I think you are now ready to encounter… The Worst Tour in History.
It is Monday morning, and I am scheduled to give a tour. It has been a solid week and a half since I had last given a tour, so I was excited. Born ready to stretch those calf muscles and amplify those vocal cords. As we were about to go into the session room and introduce ourselves, we learned that one of us would have to give what is called a “No Steps Tour.” The “No Steps Tour,” for my readers without deductive abilities, is the tour we give for our handicapped visitors… and it has no steps. What it does have is its fair share of uneven bricks, elevators, and trekking down Jamestown Road.
Now, I had given a “No Steps Tour” before, and it went rather swimmingly. Due to such a positive (and swimming) experience, I decided to take upon the opportunity to give another. Poor decision #1.
Up to the front of the room I went, and I introduced myself – “Hulllllllllo and good morning! My name is Karthik, and I am a rising senior here at the College. I am a marketing major from Richmond, VA, and I will be giving the No Steps Tour today!” Solid intro. Looks like I’m off to a good start.
The tour guides split up the room (we are enthusiastic people who love the College… not math majors or statisticians. Which is to say, we aren’t too talented at the whole splitting groups up thing, resulting in groups ranging anywhere from 15-40), and since I have the No Steps Tour, I take the smallest group of about 20 people. We grab our ice-cold water bottles, and we’re about to be off! I get a quick reminder from one of the other tour guides, “Remember to go in the Chandler-side of Barrett ‘cuz that’s where the elevator is.” Gottumz.
Walking down Jamestown Road, I begin my tour guide schpiel. I talk about all the great things the College is able to offer and the fact that we have an Ancient Campus, Old Campus, and New Campus (“Yes, we are old enough to have an Ancient Campus). I suppose it would be more accurate to say, I tried to talk about all the great things the College is able to offer and the fact that we have an Ancient Campus, Old Campus, and New Campus (“Yes, we are old enough to have an Ancient Campus).
CONSTRUCTION GALORE. Buzzsaws and tractors and drills and ladders falling and construction workers screaming and sawdust everywhere and an inordinate amount of whirring. Mixed in with the tiniest bit of exaggeration. When I realized how futile my talking was becoming, I made like the opposite of a computer and shut up. Now, the walk from the Admission Office to Barrett Hall on Jamestown Road is not excessively long—maybe four or five minutes. However, that walk in silence ON AN ADMISSION TOUR? Poor decision #2.
So we finally cross the street (I missed the ramp, so the wheelchair had to do the hop-the-sidewalk move – Poor decision #3) and get to Barrett Hall. Whew. I swipe my ID card to get in, and… no dice. I try again. Still, no. Man, how I wish the ID Office lady were there at that very moment to tell me my magnetic strip was still in tact. I tried a couple dozen times, all the while trying (and failing) to make jokes, to the un-amusement of my tour group. Poor decision #4. Thankfully, at the moment I was about to give up, a fellow tour guide had walked by, and I was able to snag his ID card to get in real quickly. YES! Successful entry to Barrett!
…Only to realize… I was most certainly not on the Chandler-side of the building.
So my “No Steps Tour” had become the “Definitely Had Some Steps Tour.” Poor decision #5. Luckily, I have an undeclared major in “going with the flow,” so I adapted quite quickly. We went around, went through Barrett, and escaped sans a scratch. But the damage had been done. I had lost my mojo, the group had lost its enthusiasm, and I was just ready to be dunzo. Something about 118 degree weather, my inability to take simple directions around a campus I’ve lived on for the past three years, and my lack of understanding with regards to what “No Steps” means doesn’t make for the best tour. Who would’ve thunk it?
July 3, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
Good morning from the Admissions Office! It is 9:43 as I begin this post, so it’s approximately four hours before I’d prefer to be up (and sixteen hours before my usual productivity begins). We just finished up our very first week of interviews, and it was a blast! I’ve encountered athletes, scientists, future presidents, musicians, figure skaters, and hula dancers. No two were alike, and all were amazing.
But I’m not going to talk about the promise the Class of 2017 shows.
Rather, I’d like to focus on a question I’ve been hearing a lot. “What makes William & Mary unique?” Or special. Or one of a kind. Or enter-your-synonym-for-why-should-I-go-here-…here.
You hear about our sense of community. Our passion for learning. Our academic strength. The integrity that runs through us all. The people that go here. The opportunities that we provide. Our inherent need to always do better. Our kickin’ croquet club. Our special, unique, and one of a kind skee ball (I always thought skeeball was one word, but Wikipedia told me I was wrong, so we’ll go with two) machine. Our traditions, from the moment you step on our hallowed grounds to the moment you graduate and beyond. The fact that once you go here, you will always have a home. One, Tribe; One Family. Our unchallenged ability and willingness to jaywalk. And of course, our penchant for the sentence fragment.
And while “these are a few of my favorite things” (I hope you said that like Julie Andrews, ‘cuz I sure did), and they most certainly are part of what make William & Mary special, I feel like most prospective students take it with a grain of salt.
“Oh, that’s just what they say to try and convince us to go here.”
Well, that line of thinking goes directly against “the integrity that runs through us all.” That said, I do understand being skeptical – I was in your shoes a mere four years ago, and it truly is one of those things you can only appreciate and understand by experiencing. However, I think there is one very real example of just how unique, special, and one of a kind (I think I’m going to start using the acronym USOOK [pronounced you-sook in an exclamatory way, with the slightest of accents] the College of William & Mary really is.
His name is W Taylor Reveley III. He has his own Wikipedia page (here), 69 years of knowledge and experience, and a cult following comparable to that of Apple products. Oh, also he is the President of the second oldest college in the nation (that’s us!). There’s also that thing about how he moonlights as Santa Claus.
(start at 2:30)
Surprisingly enough, that’s not the coolest thing about Tay-Tay (the nicknames are a close second). He’s the most student-friendly thing to happen to the world since Wikipedia. Whether you want to talk about how awesome William & Mary is, complain about the uneven bricks that will give even the most talented gymnast a tripping problem, or engage in a lively discussion about the War Powers Resolution, T-Reves’ door is always open (aha! the title makes all the more sense now). He loves hearing from the student body, and he’s always ears, so just knock on his door. I think it’s a rare occurrence for a College President to be the judge of a small Residence Life Iron Chef competition. Or have open lunches with students on a regular basis. Or to go on a walk with the student body at seven in the morning (I think it actually speaks more to the character and awesomeness of the Revester that almost a hundred college students volunteer to wake up at seven in the morning to walk with the College president). Or just be so willing to engage with the student body and be so open to student contact. We house an undergraduate population of about 6000 students here at William & Mary, and I’d be surprised if you could find a hundred of them that haven’t had at least one very legitimate interaction with President W Taylor Reveley III, from singing to him during orientation to getting a picture with him and the Griffin at any home game during the football season, and I think that’s what is so USOOK about the College of William & Mary.
Well, that and our skee ball machine.
June 25, 2012 by Karthik Ilakkuvan
To quote the newest DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie for those of you older than the age of 24 reading this), “this is more than a crush, more than a like like, more than a love.”
Needless to say, I am not talking about the Miami Heat. I am referring to my home of the past three years, the wonderfully indescribable College of William and Mary. This summer, I have the distinct privilege of serving as a Senior Admission Interviewer (and being able to blog on a site that has the ability to spell check and not let the world know that I have troubles spelling privilege). To say that I am excited would be like saying that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wasn’t the best show of the early ’90s… a gross understatement.
(start at 1:51)
Anyway, I’ve been trying to rack my brains (all three of them) to figure out what I should devote my first blog post to, and I think I finally figured it out—I’m going to write about how I’m trying to figure out what I want to write about.
Of course, there’s the obvious post about how psyched I am to start working in the Admission Office. This week alone, we’ve had opportunities to enjoy fine dining and finer company with the College President, informational sessions with essentially every department on campus, and of course, the pleasure of meeting and getting to know all the deans (make friends with me, and I could give you a good word or two in the office [jokes... but I won't say I'm not above bribes. I also won't say I'm not above double negatives.]).
On the other hand, I could post about how I fell in love with the College—how I stepped on this campus for orientation, watched a video that told me a six-word, seven-syllable sentence that has defined my experience here, and found my soul mate (a 319 year-old institution by the name of William and Mary).
There’s also the option of talking about the perfect ratio of peanut butter to jelly to make the best PB&J sandwich (1.12 oz of PB to every 1 oz of jelly for future reference).
…Option 1 it is. I think what has really struck me most about going through training with the Admission Office this week is just how much I didn’t know about the College. I have spent the last three years of my life on this campus, and there are so many classes, events, opportunities, and departments I legitimately had no idea existed, were available, or could be utilized by students. It’s really quite remarkable. You can get a joint degree with William and Mary and St. Andrews in Scotland. Or if that’s not your style, you can get two degrees from William and Mary and Columbia (engineering). Of course if you want to spend all your time on our wonderful campus, you can get involved with any of our 400+ student activities and organizations, ranging from the likes of club sports to a cappella groups to the Collegiate Tea Drinkers’ Society of William and Mary (why yes, I did just surf through this website to find an organization that sounded as William and Mary-esque as I could).
What I’m trying to get at is this simple point—you can spend years upon years embracing every aspect of the College of William and Mary, and you will still be scratching only the surface of what all we have to offer. #lessonoftheday (I know in your head, you just said, “this isn’t Twitter.” And while I am aware of that, I refuse to acknowledge that hashtags are only valid in the Twitterverse, so #booyah). The Princeton Review and US News and World Report may refer to us as a “small” school, but that is in population only (and arguably in stature… we admit a lot of short people).
I can’t wait to get started with interviews next week, but for now, I will embrace the eight hours of sleep I will be getting tonight (late start tomorrow!). Until next time…