November 25, 2013 by Richard Murphy
As a deeply nostalgic and sentimental person, I get very tense at the idea of things coming to a close. As seniors, I think we all have this sense of impending doom as that May 11th graduation date draws ever closer, and the number of times we can say “oh I’ll do it next year” has reached ultimate zero. Adding immense pressure to my imminent W&M departure is that the practical purposes of my job as a Senior Interviewer for the admission office are winding down; six more interviews and one more Fall Focus panel and I will close my interviewer notepad for good. At this point, the 13 other interns and I have written hundreds of pages about potential applicants’ academic performance, extra curricular activities and personal qualities. We gave upwards of 2,000 people tours of campus over the summer, drank hundreds of dollars worth of Coronas at Paul’s and College, and lost to the deans of admission in an epic game of kickball. Spending forty hours a week with the other 13 interns all summer made it feel like my senior year started with my internship back in May, and now that it’s concluding, it feels like the end of senior year’s first chapter.
As the weight of senior year becomes more apparent, I remember what my French teacher did for us on our last day of class senior year of high school. He read us the moment from Antoine Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince when the little prince is distraught to leave the fox, his best friend, to travel the world in pursuit of bigger and better things. To soothe him, the fox says that he will forever associate wheat fields with the little prince because of the golden hue of his hair, so at least part of their friendship will live on forever. What are my wheat fields from my Senior Interviewer experience? The Aquafina water bottles that I took every time I gave a tour this summer; the green W&M Athletics bag that stayed taped to our office wall and comprised its décor until mid-July; the countless information packets we stuffed at the front desk as tour groups trickled into the lobby; the blazers that one of the interns wore to professionalize her sundresses, and that awkward day when one of her interviewees was wearing the exact same blazer.
I think every senior will attest to having moments from their college experience they hope they never forget: those Friday nights with your freshman hall, the free water and cheap sandwiches from Wawa, your 21st birthday, LDOC(s), and any other ones unique to yourself. This Friday, when I leave my tiny office in admission for the last time as an interviewer, I’ll stash all those wheat fields away with the best of memories from the last four years. It comforts me to know, however, that the little things from my summer – and college experience overall – will carry special significance throughout the rest of my life.
July 16, 2013 by Richard Murphy
Am I embarrassed that the cashier at Domino’s knows me by name (“Hey Richard! Glad to see you made it home Saturday night!”)? Is it sad that when I call Dominos, they recognize my voice and know my order before I can get past “hello?” (“is it a bacon-cheesy bread with no jalapenos or large pizza with chicken and pepperoni kind of night? Oh really? Bad day?”). Frankly, my deep relationship with the Dominos staff has been years in the making. Every William & Mary freshman learns to identify that one person on their hall who orders Dominos on the regular, and who is either very generous or can be easily (and cheaply) bribed. Our first glorious night on Yates 1st South, my beloved neighbor ordered not one, but two pizzas, because it made “most sense to share;” thankfully he maintained that philosophy through 290 Flex points. As my years as a student stretched on, my experiences with Dominos grew outside my immediate friends: how could I forget when my (now) dear friend spotted me in Wawa late one Friday night and said, “Richard, help me. I just ordered a pizza and I have no way to pay for it.”
In short, there are very few people at this school with whom I have not shared at least one slice of pizza. We talk so much about our tight-knit community and the bonds we form here at the College, but we seldom appreciate the small ways that those connections are made. It’s not always through your freshman seminar, your favorite club, or your Greek organization; sometimes a profound friendship can spring from a simple late night craving for cheese, bread, and tomato sauce.
At this school, pizza and friendship go together like William & Mary (cheesy, I know). I could not count the number of deep conversations and friendships forged over a box of Dominos. They say that college is a time for growth and personal development, so the Richard from Convocation freshman year might be unrecognizable to me when I pass through the Wren building on graduation day. While I like to think that I’ve grown up a lot in my time here, one thing that has remained constant throughout the past three years – through the clubs, the parties, the friendships, the classes – is that never ending craving for pizza.