October 31, 2011 by Mallory Meaney
While I have fond memories of my freshman orientation experience, I wasn’t particularly sure what to expect from the William and Mary In Washington program orientation. I was excited to be in DC and wanted to explore, so I was hoping that orientation wouldn’t cramp my style with tons of information sessions. Not only was orientation jam packed with fun activities that really got us around the city, but it was also an unforgettable experience. It started off with a literally earthshaking informational session and continued to get more and more thrilling.
The first event of orientation was a safety and logistics information session at the William and Mary in Washington office in Dupont Circle. Just as we began to talk about what to do in the event of a natural disaster, the building started to vibrate. We weren’t sure what was going on so we assumed the building was undergoing some kind of construction work. When the blinds fell down, we realized what was happening. While I hope I never go through another earthquake, it was an unforgettable start to orientation.
The next day we had a Library of Congress tour and got our Library of Congress library cards, met with the William and Mary counseling center, and went on a private tour of the Phillips Collection. After touring the Philips Collection we headed to the Kennedy Center to see Shear Madness. It is a murder mystery play set in a hair salon. Anyone who knows me knows that I love murder mystery plays, so this was definitely the highlight of orientation!
The final day of orientation we got up early to take a kick boxing class at a local fitness center. I’ve taken “kickboxing” classes before where I punched the air with twenty extremely fit moms, but kickboxing in Crystal City was a totally different experience. The main difference was that there were actual punching bags hanging from the ceiling. We all got to pick out wraps and boxing gloves which was both exciting and terrifying, because I knew this was going to be much more intense than I had imagined. The class pushed the limits of my athleticism, but it was a great bonding experience. The day of physical activity continued with a twitter scavenger hunt around DC. Perhaps you saw #WMDCfall2011 trending on twitter? The day ended with some great American fun at a National’s game.
Orientation far surpassed my expectations. It helped me gain confidence navigating the city, and opened my eyes to the endless options that DC has to offer. Even though William and Mary in Washington orientation wasn’t all fife and drums and convocation, it was still a once in a life time experience. Thanks to Roxane and Javier for planning it for us! We had a great time!
September 24, 2011 by Mallory Meaney
To be honest, the decision to apply to the DC program was a hard one for me. Looking back I must have been out of my mind, but as a junior about to become a senior I thought it just wasn’t a possibility. After listening to my various Art History professors and program people plugging the program to all three Art History classes I thought to myself, “Wow that sounds like an amazing opportunity, but I’ve taken on too many leadership roles that I can’t and won’t back out of. Too bad.”
It was the third time I’d heard the “William and Mary in Washington wants you Art History majors!” spiel when it really hit me. I’m not sure if it was my advisor and favorite professor, Susan Verdi Webster plugging the program or that my sorority sister Caitlin Fairchild, a W&M in Washington alum, was gushing about her semester in DC, but something clicked. Maybe this opportunity was worth giving up my “all important” position as President of the club water polo team, maybe someone else could step up to be VP Recruitment of my social sorority.
Feeling a little overwhelmed and very excited I applied to the program hoping I would get in while at the same time hoping I might not so I wouldn’t have to make the tough decision. When I was accepted into the program I was so excited- who wouldn’t want to live in DC, have an internship that any Art History student would die for, and have class in a different art museum every Friday? Of course I accepted immediately.
Then about a week later it hit me. I wasn’t going to be in Williamsburg for the fall of my senior year. I was going to miss all of my favorite things about William and Mary – Convocation, recruitment, water polo tournaments, date parties, friends, formals, Grand Illumination, and Yule Log. I had to step down from my leadership positions, and I thought I was letting everyone down. But the amazing people at the W&M in Washington office assured me that they could make it work so I could still keep my commitment to my sorority sisters, who wanted me to stay on as a co-recruitment chair.
I’m happy to report that with my first week into the W&M in Washington program I can safely say that I would have been a fool to turn this opportunity down. With the help of the wonderful people at the W&M in Washington office I secured an internship with an esteemed art institution and am living the life in Crystal City. I couldn’t be happier.