July 27, 2010 by Natty Montoya
A summer in Williamsburg means a couple things: heat, humidity, sweating, and most importantly, talking about sweating. A typical conversation in Williamsburg starts with the following:
Tour Guide: How y’all doing today?
Random Person on the Tour: Man, it’s hot as _________ (fill in the blank: appropriate answers would be along the lines of “blazes,” “the desert,” or my personal favorite “Hades.” Inappropriate answers? Just fill it in with any expletive, because we’ve heard those too).
So really, there’s only one way to get through it alive and still make it out having enjoyed the summer. The answer? A Busch Gardens Seasons Pass. 10% off food and all merchandise, free parking, and it pays for itself after two visits. What is better than that?
The Griffon (why is it not spelled the same way as our new mascot?? I find it oddly confusing) is an incredible rush as you start off the ride being dangled above the entire park, watching your life flash before your eyes before being dropped towards the ground. Amazing!
What’s been even nicer this summer are the fireworks every night, “Illuminights,” which can be seen in the distance from all over Williamsburg.
This blog may seem a bit too happy and upbeat, so I’ll have to come up with some more controversial subject material some time soon. However, I will soon be back at this wonderful theme park, drinking an Anheuser Busch product, riding on the Griffon (while screaming like a little kid in front of my girlfriend – that’s embarrassing), and actually enjoying the Williamsburg heat.
Busch Gardens, I would greatly appreciate some sort of financial compensation for this blog. I’ll stop by customer services the next time I’m there.
July 15, 2010 by Natty Montoya
I’ll never forget my freshman year as I picked up my fraternity brother’s resume and was completely floored by it. He’d had incredible internships and working experience listed and a job at J.P. Morgan already lined up for him when he graduated. I was both impressed and intimidated, and wondered if I’d ever be able to achieve anything close to what he had in his four years at the College.
After the class of ’08 moved on and had showed me what I had to live up to, I then started sophomore year with new energy and inspiration, making a strong effort to get involved on campus. As I signed up, applied and volunteered for every campus position that was put in front of me, I soon watched myself get overwhelmed. My friendships started suffering, as did my schoolwork, and I was in way over my head. Gone were my mentors that got me through freshman year, but at the same time in stepped new people to look up to. I was given daily inspiration from dreamers and outside-of-the-box thinkers. While seeing the stress in my life, I got the keen advice to “do what I love, and forget everything else.” I made it through sophomore year, was newly involved on campus, and had met incredible people who helped me focus my mind and my ambitions.
Junior year it was good to be one of the older students on campus (and being 21 was a great perk as well). I started saying no to people and focusing on the things that meant the most to me. Things were finally coming together, yet now I saw myself growing up and the future was seeming entirely too close. Only the class of ’10 was above me, and they were getting jobs, or at least applying for them, and a lot of the doubts I had had freshman year were coming back. What did I want to do? What was I passionate about? Where would I be five years from now? And again, yet another senior class stepped in and gave me the confidence I needed while grounding me and showing me what I was capable of.
So when people ask me why I love this school, my answer is pretty easy: the people. My peers here have made all the difference, giving me an education that no college course ever could. Through those around me, I have learned more about myself and what it truly means to be a friend, and it honestly scares me to try and imagine what I would be like if I’d attended a different school.
But now what scares me even more is that I’m a senior, and I’m supposed to be seasoned, wise, and ready for the real world. And yet I’m not sure if I feel that way. What’s worse is that there is probably some underclassman I’m supposed to influence, to pass some piece of advice down to, and I’m not sure how to go about that. What will I leave behind?
I guess I’m sort of seeing senior year as a quest, and hopefully it’ll end with me leaving others with the same wisdom that was once passed down to me. W&M people are incredible, but I think it takes a nudge in the right direction before each student here figures that out. For all the people who I’ve met in my three years here, thank you for that nudge; I’ll do my best to do the same for others.
July 7, 2010 by Natty Montoya
I LOVE William and Mary, so don’t get me wrong when I say this, but if there is one thing about this College I won’t miss, it is all the talk about secret societies and all the “who’s in and who’s not” hearsay.
What happened to just hanging out and being friends? Why does it sometimes seem like people are so obsessed with being “popular” and being well known on campus? With this obsession comes the term “BNOC” (Big Name on Campus) and with the term BNOC comes endless amounts of frustration.
It’s sad to think that in some ways being involved on campus can have negative connotations, where the involved person’s name will be muddled with secret society rumors and BNOC-talk. It begs me to ask the question: why does anyone care?
Secret societies are supposed to spread school spirit throughout the campus and add to the incredible history of our college. Yet somehow, it seems that anything involved with one of these groups is often met by scorn or sarcasm. And quite frankly, I can understand where people are coming from.
Last year (and perhaps this is a skewed perspective based only on people who I found myself around) it seemed like having “BNOC status” became way more important than ever before. Whether it meant schmoozing with certain professors (think “Slug Club” from Harry Potter), forming clique-like email chains that were exclusive to a certain group of friends, or self-promoting whether it was by simply bragging about yourself or by revealing (before graduation) your own membership in a secret society, being a “BNOC” just took on a whole different meaning.
In my opinion, that kind of attitude kind of ruined it for the rest of us. After being pretty uninvolved my freshman year, I got involved in Orientation as a sophomore after being selected to the position of Orientation Area Director. Through this role I started meeting people from all different corners of campus and met an administrator who has literally turned into my mentor and one of my closest friends. Through these other area directors, I got to meet other people, and little by little my scope of campus really widened and I started discovering all the reasons why this College is incredible.
However, being involved on campus may now give you a sense of notoriety; knowing the right people may not always be best for you socially; being well-known for things you’ve accomplished may force the “BNOC” label on you. And what happens after that? Well some people will then just start making assumptions and associating you with things before they even get to know a thing about you. Even those who do know you well may be threatened if you start meeting new people because of your activities.
So were you just watching a movie with your girlfriend until real late? No, you were probably sneaking around in a dark cloak, being sleek and secretive. Were you just tired from a tough week and felt like avoiding the delis for a night? No, you were off with popular, involved, BNOC-types, social-climbing your way to the top.
Sometimes it can be easy to assume the worst about someone. What I’ve loved about W&M the most is how open-minded people are on the whole and how accepting they can be. I have also loved my activities here and have met some of the most amazing people and lifelong friends through them. However, I never expected my campus involvement would lead to people talking behind my back (or confronting me straight to my face) about my own personal membership in a secret group. Last semester I went pretty MIA, and I’ll be the first one to admit that, but just because I’m taking more time for myself and frequenting the delis much less does not mean I’m out and about mingling with anyone who can get me into a secret society.
People can be incredibly open-minded here, but it’s unfortunate when those who aren’t start making assumptions that anyone who is involved or rolls in a certain crowd is a name-dropping, self-promoting, secret society member only looking out for themselves. Where’s that class spirit we all had during freshman orientation? I miss that.
July 1, 2010 by Natty Montoya
April 2006 – It was 2 months from my high school graduation and my life was about to take a huge turn. After much discussion, my parents and I decided I wasn’t ready for college and I would need some time to mature. The solution? I would defer my admittance to W&M and spend a year in South America where I would improve my Spanish and do some much needed growing up. I was still pretty unsure of this plan, but my dad assured me that college would still be here when I got back.
In September, I arrived in Simón Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela. Around this same time, I managed to forget every word I had been taught in the last five years of high school Spanish, which made it surprisingly hard to navigate through customs and the baggage claim.
After I found my host family waving at me in the waiting area, so began the next phase of my life – ten up and down months, which I may never really truly appreciate.
I was enrolled in a local high school where no one spoke English (including the “English professor”) so I would be completely immersed in the language. Essentially, I was thrown to the wolves, and I didn’t really know what to expect. For my first 4 months there, my classes were impossibly hard to understand and socializing was a mixture of Spanglish and sign language. Lonely? Yup. Homesick? You got it.
During my time there, I got horribly lost using the bus system (and I’m talking lost like dead cell phone lost, like only having enough change in my pocket to change buses one more time lost, like wandering the streets at night on the verge of sleeping outside kind of lost), I got food poisoning, and I even had a countdown of the days until my flight left for home. During my time there, I also learned how to appreciate tons of Venezuelan foods, swam in the waters of the tallest waterfall in the world, and even got so close with my host family that I didn’t want to stop hugging each of them before I got dropped off at the airport.
In ten months, I had enough “life-changing experiences” for well, a lifetime. I’m not entirely sure where I’d be today if I’d gone straight to college. It gave me the chance to grow up and see the world, while also gaining a new perspective on life. I’m probably eternally in debt to my dad for convincing me it was a good idea (and for the whole giving life to me, raising me, and paying for my college education thing).
When Fall Orientation started in August 2007, I realized that as promised, college was still here. Only this time, one year older and wiser, I was ready to take the plunge. Turns out that showing up fashionably late to college may be the cool thing to do.
June 23, 2010 by Natty Montoya
After spending two years living in one of the wonderful on-campus fraternity housing units, I can say with a sense of relief that I FINALLY have my own room, my own space, and no one comes in it!
So why do I find myself asking, “Where is everybody??”
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things about the units I don’t miss. Waking up on a Saturday to find my room looking like it was hit by a hurricane (or maybe it was just some riled up Miley Cyrus fans) was never fun. Starting to clean up my room and finding that all the cups are actually stuck to my desk does not make for the best academic environment. And then finally getting to the bathroom, well…it makes you wonder how a bathroom can really get that dirty after one night. And the worst part of all is realizing that once it’s all cleaned up, the whole thing will start again in about 10 hours.
So moving off-campus, it’s nice knowing that I won’t wake up with somebody random sleeping on my futon who stumbled in there the night before. Even better is walking across my floor to the closet (barefoot!) without having my foot get stuck on whatever sugary drink was spilled. (Just out of habit, I still have my shower shoes sitting next to my bed just in case.) When I get to the kitchen in my house, all of my dishes are still there (no one tried making ramen noodles at 4am) and all my food is still in the fridge, not scattered across the shelf. It’s nice having a little bit of privacy for once.
Or is it?
Cleaning up after clumsy people from a Friday or Saturday night is not a fun way to spend the weekend, but I do miss having people in my room on a lazy Sunday. Laying around and watching whatever sports are on, eating Tops China ($4.50 lunch special, ain’t nothing better) with all my fraternity brothers is just a great feeling that I really miss. I never thought I would admit to missing the fraternity life, but here I am with my own room and I actually wish there were a bunch of loud guys laying all over my futon, leaving their Wawa trash on my coffee table, debating about which sorority girls are the hott–I mean the pros and cons of Obama’s Healthcare Bill or something like that (right?).
So there it is. I miss the unit and all the guys who I lived there with. Senior year I’ll really need to make a strong effort to stay in touch with everyone who I’m no longer living with so I don’t lose those friendships; gone are the days where I can just open my door and walk into someone else’s room to hang out. And you know, now that I’ve finally had a chance to look back on it, I really do have some incredible memories.
I love my own room, and I love my own space, but living with 35 other people who you’re close with is a life experience that I’ll never be able to duplicate (unless of course I find a really fratty retirement home – I should start looking now).
June 22, 2010 by Natty Montoya
8.99 a month for one DVD out at a time and unlimited Instant Viewing capabilities. Seriously, life cannot get much better than that.
Without homework to do every evening, I finally have the opportunity to catch up on all the shows and movies that I wasn’t able to watch throughout the school year. I’ve been watching all the 30 Rock episodes that I couldn’t keep up with, I finally saw The Hurt Locker after all the Academy Award buzz, and quite frankly my queue is filled with a ton of the classics which I never got a chance to see before. Hello Jerry Maguire; hello Philadelphia; hello The Godfather Part II (Part III unfortunately did not make the cut).
And all those books on my summer reading list? Well goodbye The Sun Also Rises; goodbye Three Cups of Tea; goodbye all those witty Malcolm Gladwell books which I keep saying I’ll read. I’ve got Netflix now, and even if my DVD hasn’t arrived yet, I have loads of choices I can access instantly, so I never have to pick up a book again!
And along with reading, who needs social interaction? Because that has gone right out the door too. If I’m serious about getting through every season of 30 Rock so I can finally start Season 1 of Mad Men, then neglecting to hang out with friends is a necessary sacrifice. Seriously, Netflix is sweet.
As you can see, Netflix is great but it seriously has the potential to ruin my life. This summer, living in Williamsburg, it seems like my biggest challenge will be fighting the urge to be antisocial and tear through my queue, so I actually do hang out with everyone who is in the area. From years past, I hear people talk about how the “summer crew” gets really close, and although Netflix is doing everything it can to prevent that bonding from happening, I’m excited to get to know new people and build new friendships as senior year fast approaches.
I have only one year left at this incredible institution, so I’m going to take advantage of every moment as best I can. Sorry Netflix – that means you’re taking the backseat on this one (well, after I finish Season 3 of Friday Night Lights – no need for such bold statements just yet).
June 15, 2010 by Natty Montoya
Gone are the days of having warm, folded laundry appear on my bed when I least expect it. Instead, three years ago as I lugged my hamper up the steps and started my first load of laundry, I managed to shrink all my t-shirts while forgetting to separate colors and whites. Coming home for my first Fall Break was somewhat rattling as well when my dear mother made me do all my own laundry.
Since then, even a simple experience like doing laundry has helped me to grow up and start figuring out how to be an adult. The easy task (albeit daunting in the beginning) of dragging the hamper to the machine, separating the loads, and getting into a perfect rhythm while folding has showed me all the different everyday tasks that are incredibly necessary for growing up into an independent adult.
This summer, the maturing process has gone into hyperdrive as I’m now on my own, cooking my own meals, doing the dishes, doing my laundry, paying my bills, and even packing my lunch just the way mom used to do it. Gone are the days of taking for granted everything that was done for me growing up. Being almost 22, I’ve had to quickly get it together and realize that these little tasks that I never thought anything of are necessary for everyday survival.
So far, so good. But Mom, if you’re reading this right now, feel free to come visit soon–the dirty clothes are starting to overflow and I could always use the help.