August 31, 2009 by Leacy Burke
I’m back on campus, and it is a very interesting feeling. I am no longer a freshman. I know more people as I walk around campus. I have a hall full of people that are from every academic year. I have professors for the second time. I have a niche on campus.
The perks of being a sophomore are very apparent…at least for me. I know where I am going, and I know how long it will take me to get from place to place. I feel more comfortable speaking in class, and I participate in campus activities. I got to choose my roommate and my dorm (yay AC!). It is definitely a unique feeling not being the youngest members of the William and Mary community.
At the same time, I almost miss being a freshman. I liked the idea of having four years ahead of me, and the freedom of new experiences. Although coming to college is a major transition for any person…you aren’t fully on your own. You have a freshman seminar to transition you to college thinking, mandated advisor meetings, and extended orientation. You live on a hall with other freshmen-people who are making the same transition as you. You have a weekly meal plan. After I finished freshman year, I thought I could handle anything. I didn’t realize that I could no longer rely on my signature phrase, “I’m sorry-I’m a freshman!”
If leaving home for college is the first step to maturity and living on your own, then sophomore year is yet another step to truly being self sufficient. For the first time, I am seriously grocery shopping…although not without mishaps (Bought some prepackaged salad—forgot salad dressing). I have a sense of responsibility and a more defined concept of the future. At the same time, I still rely on a lot of what the College has to offer. I cannot fathom the maturity and responsibility my friends that live off campus have. Yet, I’m sure that I can handle it when the time comes. We hope anyway!
May 4, 2009 by Leacy Burke
It’s time for finals now, and I never knew how much time and effort is really required to study at the level necessary for good performance. It is very strange how much more effort is required to study in the spring for finals than in the fall semester. I guess in the fall I was much less burnt out; I kind of thought studying for finals was interesting because I had never done it before. A right of passage, if you will, for every new college student. It was also miserable weather, where it got dark early, and was really cold outside so I didn’t have to miss the beautiful sunshine around me.
Note to self: studying outside is highly ineffectual, no matter how pretty it is.
It is weird to think about how much time has gone by since I came to William and Mary. It is also mind boggling to think about how many people have helped me get here and helped me be successful. I promise that when I am done with finals (ah! done with my freshman year!) I will properly thank them. But, as for now, I am back to reviewing important people in US-China Foreign Relations. Peter Parker (not Spiderman, unfortunately) and I are totally best friends by now.
April 14, 2009 by Leacy Burke
On one of the first nights of my college experience, my freshman hall and I dressed in all black. We wore camouflage bandanas and running shoes. Then, under the cover of darkness, we moved into Colonial Williamsburg. No, we weren’t going to rob a bank or anything serious. Rather, we were getting ready to perform part of one of the biggest traditions at William and Mary: the triathlon.
The W&M triathlon is a non-college sanctioned tradition here on campus. It is composed of three parts, but one of those parts consists of jumping the wall at the governor’s mansion in Colonial Williamsburg. Now, I’m not going to delve too much into that night, but be assured that my hall did not get caught doing anything illegal.
This is just one example of how close-knit freshman halls are here at W&M. The people on your freshman hall are the first people you meet when you come to William and Mary. They are the first people you get to know really well; you go to your first college party with them. However, at some point, even after you branch out and become involved in different activities, you remain friends with the people on your hall. You might not be as close as you were at the beginning of the year, but they are more than just people you share a bathroom with—they are your hallmates, your friends.
Someone once told me that at William and Mary, the roommate selection form is not just used to pick your roommate, but it is used to pair you with your entire freshman hall. Even if this isn’t instantly apparent, as we have grown as a hall, it is evident that we have been purposely matched as a hall. I couldn’t imagine living with a better group of girls. I know that our friendships will continue past our time on Yates Hall. Some of us are closer than others, but I love all of the girls I live with.
March 29, 2009 by Leacy Burke
I can’t believe that it is already March 29th. I can’t believe that in three days it will be April 1st. What is even harder to grasp is that in exactly one month from that, it will be the last day of classes, and my freshman year will be effectively over.
I remember this time last year when I was a senior in high school. I didn’t even know that I had been accepted into William and Mary, let alone that this is where I would end up. I was just so ready to graduate and try new experiences. My freshman year hasn’t let me down in the slightest. I have been challenged; I’ve grown; I’ve made mistakes; I’ve learned; but most of all, I’ve had fun. College is all about the experience, and I’ve definitely had that here.
William and Mary has challenged me in so many ways, as both a person and as a student. It is easy to see how a college can challenge you as a student: the academics alone are enough here. Making a transition from a high school learning style to a college one is also difficult, and learning time management is something I still struggle with constantly. What isn’t as easy to see is how a school can challenge you as a person, but it is something everyone faces. When in college, there are opportunities available to you that were not there before, and though these chances can be both good and bad, they shape you into the person you are. At William and Mary, I have been challenged to become involved in activities and organizations that I would never have previously tried.
I’ve grown into more of an adult at William and Mary. Everyone grows as a person when they transition from living at home to living in a dorm away from their parents, but I feel like the leap has been greater for me. I’m not from Virginia; my home is six hours away in South Carolina. I can’t go home as often as other students, and my parents don’t get to come up and see me if I get sick. While is it is a difficult transition, I have realized just how much I can do on my own, and how independent I can be. I’ve had to take responsibility for my actions in a way I never have before, and even I can see how this is making me into a more mature person. My relationship with my parents has changed as well. I am the oldest of three children, and seeing how I interact with them in relation to my 16 year old sister and my 13 year old brother is very interesting. College is definitely the time in your life to be independent, and I believe every student takes advantage of it. But, when you reflect on how you were when you entered college to where you are at the end of your first year, I think it surprises everyone.
Everyone makes mistakes, and college students make plenty. Whether your mistake is academic in nature, or more personal, making poor decisions is something everyone does. The best part of making these decisions is that you learn from what you did. Not all learning in college takes place in the classroom or library.
I can’t even begin to describe the fun I’ve had in college. Meeting new people and becoming involved is only the tip of the iceberg. All I have to say is just get out and try everything. It’s the only way to take advantage of your college experience.
I have no regrets about my freshman year; I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s just really weird to think that it is almost over. I spent most of my junior and senior year of high school thinking and dreaming about college and what it would be like. It’s not only surpassed all of my expectations, but it has made me realize how excited I am for the future.
February 28, 2009 by Leacy Burke
There are many reasons to venture into Colonial Williamsburg, or C-dubs, as I have come to call it. There is The Cheese Shop (one of my favorite off campus eating options), Aromas, Baskin Robbins, colonial re-enactors, the bookstore, and a plethora of other exciting things. However, one of THE best things about C-dubs is the hot apple cider.
This delicious cider is incredibly hot, as in scalding. In fact, a friend has gotten 3rd degree burns from this cider. It is worth it. It is worth the (seemingly) 5-mile trek, which in reality is just on the end of DoG street. It is an aromatic blend of cinnamon, apples, and other spices (nutmeg?) that are just perfect on a relaxing Saturday or after a hard day of classes. The cider can come in a normal paper cup, but we college students have discovered the wonder of the CIDER MUG. This mug is a godsend to college students. I can’t anticipate any tourists who would purchase a massive mug for $11 that can be refilled for the entirety of the year for free. Sheer brilliance on the part of the re-enactors. I love my mug. Everyone I know has a mug. We all go for cider together; its great.
The people who work the cider stand in C-dubs recognize us now. They know that when a big group of kids appear with the big blue mugs that we are planning to sit down and stay for awhile. We talk to them, drink our cider, then fill up again before hitting the road back to campus. It is nice to have a quiet oasis away from campus. Cider does that for me.
February 25, 2009 by Leacy Burke
I’m Leacy. I’m a freshman. And I’m not all together sure that my blog will be interesting to anyone beyond my immediate family, and maybe a few people from my hall, but I love the idea of blogging. College has been such a major transition for me, and I am looking forward to writing about it.
I first visited William and Mary on an 8th grade field trip. We ate in a dining hall, walked around campus because our bus was late, and took funny pictures with statues in Colonial Williamsburg. I never fathomed that one-day I would wind up here. I came back to visit the campus my junior year of high school. I was full of ideas about what I wanted in a college, but it wasn’t until I set foot on campus that I knew. William and Mary felt like home. It was one of the only campuses I visited that I could realistically picture myself living for four years. I came back senior year to sit in on a class, and that cinched it for me. I wanted to be a William and Mary student and a member of the Tribe.
I remember what it was like getting the letter. My friend Caroline drove home during lunch and got her letter, so I knew mine had to be waiting for me. I sprinted from my car to the mailbox, and was so thrilled when I saw the packet. It doesn’t matter how many people tell you that you are sure to get in, or how many letters of recommendation you have, it is impossible to feel confident about your first choice school. Impossible…unless, of course, you have nerves of steel. In that case, go you.
So that is me, my backstory on how I came here. Never regretted it for a moment.