May 13, 2013 by Anne Charity Hudley
Dear Class of 2013 and those who love and support you,
I am so honored to have been asked to speak to you tonight on behalf of my faculty colleagues. This weekend is filled with such joy and celebration of your accomplishments—all that you have achieved leading up to and during your years here. I speak on behalf of the entire faculty when I say to you, “you are fabulous!”
You will get asked a lot of questions this weekend and in the weeks to come. Questions about your degree, your future plans, probably even your final GPA; did you graduate summa cum, laude, magna cum laude or thank you laude.
Rightly so—most of the weekend focuses on what you have accomplished: undergraduate and graduate degrees, achievements in departments and programs and your activities, which are too numerous to mention. And I am all for celebrating your achievements. You’ve attended a tough yet wonderful college during a tough yet wonderful time in history and came out ahead! So since for most of the weekend, we’re going to celebrate your achievements, I’m a take five minutes here and celebrate from a slightly different angle—I’m a celebrate you! Just you—who you are—and who you will become. For the next few minutes, you are you and not your major, your degree, you are not your class year, you not even your future plans.
If you want to know what I’ve done, (Why she up there?) Google it up. Instead, I’ll tell you a little bit about who I am.
Who am I—I am on Route 5 through open fields trying not to get a ticket—I’m the gal whose breath is taken away every time she sees her husband walk out in a suit and tie on to Ukrop Drive through those fancy Mason School of Business doors! I’m trying to think of everything that I and the College of William & Mary didn’t get to do to support you during your time here that I can get right with the class of 2017—help me with that. I’m on a journey to make sure everyone is included here — in this place, so that I can walk around the Wren building just smiling.
So who are you, class of 2013? To me, that’s the most awesome part.
In many senses you will always be the you who you were when you first were here — several years younger, running through the Sunken Garden, I hope with your clothes on.
You are fun nights at the Delis before some of you moved over to the Crust. You are forever the one who played hooky and rode the Verbolten or the one who spent 20 hours straight in Swem.
You are rugby rough and community research strong, you are cheering football teams on and sad people up, you are driving classmates you didn’t know before home through Hurricane Irene just because someone emailed and asked you to.
You are on all sides of political activism with passion and intellect.
You are Virginia’s promise, New Jersey’s dream, China’s spirit, part of the TJ posse, and that one kid to make it here from your hometown—ever!
You are somebody’s sibling—either by blood or oath or hope.
You are about to give your mother her best mother’s day ever—even if she can’t be here with you or if you’ve never even met her—even if she is a he.
Some of you are fashion plates and some of you have had on the same sweat pants for 4 years or 8.
But OH MY GOODNESS—I can’t wait to see WHO you will become!
I spend my spare time with my students and have no shame about it. Why? Because each of you is an individual masterpiece. And that’s what makes what I do intertwine with who I am (someone who will be here years from now happy to see you on your return, no matter if you knew me before just now or not.)
A couple of things to think about as you are becoming, you—post-graduation style:
- You could become someone who cleans up your social media. Cuz you know some of that confession stuff ain’t gone look so cute in a year or two. Because who you are is likely to be slightly different and context can be everything. And if it isn’t, share on—do you, boo boo!
- You could become someone who still always takes time to write a few thank you notes. It is amazing to be someone who takes that minute and they mean so much.
- You can become someone who continues to make friends in your class even after tomorrow- you’re gonna meet new people because of where you’re standing or what names are on the chairs in W&M Hall and in your department ceremonies! Say hi all eager like you did in Orientation 2009! It’s not too late! That person may be headed to your new town, or interested in the same type of music, or job as you.
- You can be someone – who even if you don’t care for W&M as a monolith who love the people affiliated with W&M individually – the students who come after you are desperately looking to you for advice and glimpses of what their dreams may look like realized. You can become someone who walks out of here tomorrow never to return or you can become someone who doesn’t miss a reunion or homecoming and either way I hope you’ll connect with the students – come guest lecture, speak at events in your old organizations, Skype with someone from around your way who has a dream of making it to William & Mary— make it a time and a priority commitment.
I’m becoming someone right now because of who my grandmother was that wasn’t even legally possible at the time of her dream. And in turn, the spirit of my grandmother has become the grandmother of a granddaughter who is giving this talk and the grandmother of a grandson who is graduating from here tomorrow. I can think of no better example of the fact that who you will become may actually take generations.
So honestly, there are no words for who we are in moments such as these. For those times when the who and the what are indistinguishable—our ancestors live again and the future is written. And that’s the true definition of swagga.
We’re doing our best tonight to honor that privilege and experience tonight through your triumph, some silence, and flames.
March 18, 2013 by Admission Ambassador
Hermey turned to Rudolph and said, “hey, what do you say we both be independent together, huh?”
I remember my freshman move-in day like it was yesterday. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to make it across town for the earliest move in time, 8:00 a.m. All of my friends from home had left already, so I was antsy to experience what they had been talking about. I had already met my roommate at Day For Admitted Students, and we were ready to start our next chapter. So here we were, unloading everything we could fit into suitcases onto the sidewalk and waiting to have them picked up and carried in for us by move-in helpers from various organizations. We arranged and rearranged and then rearranged our room again until it was exactly how we thought we wanted it. Finally, everything was put away and in its proper place. Knowing that it would only stay like this for about a day, we soaked it in and took off for Orientation day 1.
First activity? Name Game. What adjective starts with a K? Kooky? That’s a great way to present myself…And seriously, how many Katherines and Kaitlins can we have on a hall? We can’t all be kooky. I’ll settle for clepto with a k. Klepto Kelley.
So here we were. Dupont third east. The 32 girls who would live together for a whole year. The best year. A Puerto Rican, a Chicagoan, a Brit, a Williamsburger, and everywhere in between. And somehow, we worked. We all joined different organizations and took different classes. But without fail, every Wednesday at 9:00, our hall went absolutely silent because Criminal Minds was on. With all the lights off, the smell of popcorn and cookie dough radiated through the hall, and not a single sound was heard between 9 and 10. When the clock struck 10:00, it was back to the Book of Mormon for GER 7, or Pseudoscience for a freshman seminar, or the six developmental stages being taught in Natural Psychology.
One of the foundations of modern psychology is the Gestalt principle. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This idea could not be more accurate when applied to William & Mary. You can read all the statistics and every Princeton or Forbes review that you want, but we, those 32 girls and the neighboring 32 boys and the hall after that: that is William & Mary. One Tribe, One Family. Independent together.
March 11, 2013 by Adam Labriny
As Spring Break comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about what an intense (yet immensely satisfying) month February turned out to be. Between Charter Day, Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year AND midterms, it was definitely one of my busiest months here at W&M.
For Charter Day (that’s on February 8th!), the Student Assembly asked my jazz combo to perform during a special dinner in the Sadler Center. Since I don’t have a meal plan this year, it was great to re-experience the dining halls (i.e. an endless soul food buffet, a sick salad bar, and ICE CREAM!) Mainly, though, it was great to see my peers’ looks of befuddlement change to excitement as they realized their dinner would come with a serenade!
The next week, Mardi Gras was by far the most pressing thing on my (non-academic) schedule. In the past, I never really thought twice about Mardi Gras. I didn’t grow up with it, I didn’t understand it—it just wasn’t on my radar. However, I’ve recently had the pleasure of befriending a native of New Orleans, Naomi. Between her excitement about the holiday and the bits of New Orleans’ history I’ve picked up in my Southern Cultures class, I was determined to make an effort to learn more about Mardi Gras this year. Thus ensued a day of purple, green, and gold beads, dancing on the Sunken Garden, and (dreaming about) king cake. Success? I think yes.
With February also came the Chinese New Year! This year, W&M’s Chinese Student Organization (CSO) put on a spectacular event in PBK Hall, complete with calligraphy, dumpling making, video presentations, and a catered dinner. The event also offered the opportunity for students to mingle with Chinese exchange and international students; I was thrilled to learn more about how the holiday is celebrated in China.
The latter half of February brought with it a whirlwind of exams, papers, presentations, and obligations—in other words, it was finally midterm season (cue dramatic “dun dun dunnnnnn”). My new home became Swem. In fact, I was spending so much time in Swem that by the end of the month, I had established “study spots” around the library: the little nook near the Children’s Book section with the round, sunny window overlooking Andrews Hall and the courtyard, the strangely-placed desktop on the second floor that only a couple other people like to use because it’s vastly inconvenient, and another super-secret spot I will only divulge post graduation. (But seriously, let me know if you’re curious and I’d love to share.) I developed weird eating habits that week, too. Lunch? Who needs it—I’ll take a triple Americano and this bag of Cheez-its, please!
But as most things, midterm season came and went. Looking forward, I’ve only got half a semester left at this lovely institution, and I plan on making the most of it!
February 28, 2013 by Kaitlin Noe
After having thoroughly immersed myself in the savory world of French cuisine for about a month, I decided it was time to make my first venture beyond the borders. So for Valentine’s weekend, I and my fellow W&M member CC, who is studying in Paris through a different program, packed our bags and headed off on our first hostel adventure: to Bruxelles (Brussels) and Bruges. We arrived with very little knowledge and even less experience with the Belgian culture. Luckily, we knew three things for certain: chocolate, frites, and beer. We were not disappointed. I present to you, a Valentine’s weekend food tour of Belgium:
1. First, Chocolate
The first thing we did was head to the Grand Place, which was itself a marvel of architecture and culture… but first we stopped in every single chocolate shop along the way. We were pleased to find that they all seemed very determined to offer us free samples of their truffles. We, of course, politely obliged. It’s only good manners. Valentine’s Day also proved the perfect excuse to treat ourselves, and the Belgians brought their A game.
2. The Second Course of Dessert…
Determined on our first day to do everything possible to avoid real food, we stumbled into a Turkish pastry shop. It turned out to be a wonderland of fantastical sugary inventions in a bright array of colors.
3. Our First Taste of Frites
After stumbling (our trip was mostly filled with meandering and stumbling) upon one of the typical Brussels frites stands, we decided it was about time we tried the legendary Belgian frites. We’d been in Brussels an hour already, hadn’t we?! They were everything we could’ve dreamed of.. crispy, fresh, hot out of the fryer, and coated in an incredibly savory sauce with a vaguely exotic name (we opted out of the traditional mayo accent). They single handedly destroyed every fast-food place ever for me.
4. A Brussels Brew
Our second official destination, after the Grand Place, was the Cantillon Brewery for our first sip of Belgian beer. Cantillon Brewery is one of the few places in Brussels that still practices spontaneous fermentation, which means that the beer made there can only be made in Brussels because it ferments by interacting with the bacteria in the air. As unappetizing as that process sounds, it somehow results in the most incredible harmony of flavors I have ever tasted in a beverage. (Yes, harmony. This stuff was music to our taste buds.) Our tour included a glass of the basic Lambic, and the Kreik, which is a cherry-flavored beer.
5. Le Premier Gaufre
The second day of our trip, we hitched a train to Bruges, a small medieval town not far from Brussels. It is everything Disneyland always dreamed of being. Plus it has waffles, as we discovered when we ducked into a small café called Salé et Sucré. Picking up a pair of coffees, we carefully selected the traditional Belgian waffled dusted with powdered sugar, and a more elaborate creation loaded down with fruit and whipped cream. They each lasted about three minutes after being placed on our table before we devoured them. Belgium had officially ruined Friendly’s and IHOP for me. Also, I recommend dropping in on the specialty food store next door, for a plethora of incredible post-gaufre samples: everything from olive oil dipping sauces to salsas. The perfect savory complement to the delicious sweetness of the gaufres.
6. More Belgian Beer?
This time we stopped in a small bar in Bruges to sample some of the flavored beers that Belgium is so well known for. The Pecheresse, a Peach beer, is at the same time the most girly and delicious thing I have ever tasted.
7. Something’s Fishy…
The morning of our third day we made our way to a stray parking garage off the main touristy streets of Brussels in pursuit of a city panorama. After taking a rickety elevator up to the top floor of the garage and marveling at the skyline it revealed, we meandered around the streets looking for a place to get out of the cold. Then we stumbled upon a place called Nordzee (so much meandering and stumbling…): a small corner-side joint, with no seating and no indoors. It consisted of an outdoor counter and several tall tables where locals were standing about chatting and eating. Curious, we wandered up to the counter and were greeted by a blond hair-blue eyed Belgian angel who served us shrimp croquettes from his heavenly fryers. I think the photo might speak for itself on this one.
8. Thé à la menthe
Searching for anywhere to get out of the blustery cold that descended upon Brussels the last day of our trip, we entered the first café with WiFi (a precious rarity in many parts of Europe, next to nonexistent in Paris). Looking around we noticed everyone seemed to be drinking the same leafy-looking beverage. We requested two from our waiter and were delivered two fresh, hot glasses of mint tea, made with real crushed mint leaves. It was the perfect sweet cure for our frozen tourist bones.
9. The Last Supper
For our last meal in Belgium, we decided to switch it up a bit. We went to a Swiss Fondue restaurant, figuring it wasn’t that far from Switzerland. Whether or not geography had anything to do with it, it was an incredibly satisfying meal. We split a pot of cheese fondue with bread, a glass of wine each, and a chocolate cake for dessert. The dinner was made all the better by the fatherly, protective waiters and owner who kicked three Belgian men out of the restaurant for “bothering us”, and the friendly American man who shared his exotic melting-cheese-scraping machine with us. (Apologies, that is the best I can do to explain the witchcraft he was using for his dinner.) The perfect cheesy end to a foody trek through Belgium.
Before I sign off, I couldn’t resist throwing in a few pictures of fairyland Bruges, my new favorite place on earth. They’re almost as mouth-watering as the food pics.
Nothing beats a Valentine’s weekend filled with chocolate by the pound, beer by the pint, and frites by the cone. Worth every weird glance I got for whipping out my camera to capture them.
October 22, 2012 by Skyler Paltell
This is likely to be my first serious blog post, but gluten free living is an important topic to me and a small number of other W&M students. Gluten-free seems to be sweeping the nation at the moment—it is evident from the “organic” aisle at Food Lion—but most people seem to think it is some sort of new-fangled weight loss phenomenon. To be gluten free means to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat and wheat products, like bread, baked goods, and many types of alcohol.
There are two reasons why someone may be gluten free—a.) they saw how much weight Miley Cyrus lost and they had to try it out for themselves or b.) they have a condition called Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. I feel like most college students, myself included, belong to the latter category, since who would voluntarily give up pizza and soy sauce without just cause? Celiac disease is a condition in which the body attacks itself when you eat gluten, essentially destroying your small intestine, among other things. Gluten intolerance is the same basic principle, but less severe and with fewer long-lasting effects.
I went gluten free two months ago. I never found out if I had Celiac, since that involves an endoscopy and that sounds horrifying, but I find that I feel healthier when I don’t eat wheat. I also had to cut out dairy, eggs and soy at my doctor’s advice, since it is pretty common to have other allergies in addition to gluten. I won’t lie—it is really hard. Healing from any kind of long-term autoimmune condition is a roller coaster of ups and downs, and I have a whole new respect for college students who have battled medical conditions while at school. I’m almost positive that my body hates me. Some days I just want to go home—but I know that staying here will ultimately make me stronger.
For those who are gluten free at W&M and are struggling like I am, there are several resources that I have found to be immeasurably helpful. The first is undoubtedly the Gluten Freedom club, established this year by junior Hannah Boes (it’s her 21st birthday today—happy birthday Hannah!) We meet on Thursdays to hang out, snack on gluten free nom-noms, take trips to Trader Joe’s, and go out to dinner. It’s great to hang out with people who know what you are going through, and trust me when I say these people are all awesome.
The second is Larry Smith from Dining Services. He was excellent at helping me navigate the dining halls at the beginning of this semester, so if you have an allergy—be it gluten, soy, or dairy—he is a great resource. You’ll even get your own file, which I think is pretty snazzy. I actually cook for myself now since I have so many allergies, but if you’re just gluten free or lactose intolerant you should definitely check him out.
And finally, friends and peers are a great resource. This semester I joined a sorority, and all of my new friends and sisters have been so helpful and understanding when I explain to them exactly why I can’t eat that cookie. This past week I went out to Food For Thought with some of my new sisters—they actually suggested the restaurant because they knew it was gluten free friendly! The chef made me my own meal and I even got my own special bread roll. And tomorrow, I am getting coffee with the president of my sorority—she also has Celiac disease—at her suggestion, because she knows I am struggle-bussing.
It’s not easy having a restricted diet in college, a time when most people are eating junk food right and left because they’re young and they can get away with it. I know, because I used to be among them. However, I feel like I’ve learned so much in the past few months and gained so many new friends and resources. Most people out there are willing to understand and to listen, and Williamsburg has many options for gluten-free students on a budget. As for me, managing my health has been one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced—but with the help of my friends, family, and Udi’s gluten-free muffins, I feel confident that the end of the tunnel is not so far away.
October 17, 2012 by Bailey Thomson
Even though I may not contribute consistently to the W&M blogosphere, I do actively follow news from the College and greater Williamsburg. And this past week has been a massive one for Tribespeople and Williamsburgers alike! From the Dalai Lama’s visit to President Obama’s debate camp, campus and the city have been full of exciting events and celebrity sightings. As if that were not enough to make me jealous, friends in Williamsburg have started posting obligatory fall foliage pictures. Is there any town more beautiful in the world during this time of year?
As I write this, I am more than 8,000 miles from the College and springtime is just beginning! In August, I moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where I am the Director of Development and Leadership for eAdvance, a South African education organization aimed at providing equitable education to all South Africans. eAdvance oversees and provides support to Spark Schools, a network of low-fee private schools expanding quickly to ensure high quality, affordable education for primary grades students. The first Spark school, Spark Ferndale Primary School, will open in January in the Ferndale suburb of Randburg, a district of Johannesburg. Then, Spark Schools will grow to 64 schools in the next decade! My role includes curricular development, professional development, and leadership training so that our Spark Schools faculty are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to serve students and their families.
I frequently think about what it means to contribute so intimately (education, for me, is close to the heart) to a community so far from my home. The distance is geographic, cultural, philosophical, racial, and linguistic. The question of “diversity” is an interesting one: am I lending a diversifying hand or promoting more of the imperialism that damaged this country for so long? What is the impact of being a white American, rather than a white South African of English descent or a white South African of Afrikaans (Dutch) descent? How can I serve others here without imposing what I assume they need, rather than what they truly need?
Apartheid ended in South Africa less than two decades ago. Race still divides people in terms of where they live, the traditions they practice, their access to services, their jobs and income, and more. And yet, in many ways, it feels like the people of Johannesburg have progressed further generally than the people of Richmond, Virginia, my home. Our student population in 2013, according to current enrollment, will be split almost equally ethnically between white, black, and Indian students. Our teaching staff of twelve will have white, black, and Indian faculty. The investors in eAdvance come from multiple ethnic groups, as do our start-up supporters.
I recall W&M as a diverse school where students nonetheless often self-segregated based on race. (Race is certainly not the only form of diversity, but it’s worth exploring since it cuts so deeply into history in nearly every country and certainly into history on our campus.) There were very few of us white students who were active in the Multicultural Ambassador Council, NAACP, and other “diversity” organizations when I began in 2006. But from my freshman year to my senior year, organizations gradually diversified—not just in terms of racial make-up, but also in terms of broadening purpose. And we started having very honest conversations about what it meant to value every W&M student. Now, Professor Anne Charity Hudley and others are turning those conversations academic by conducting a survey that will “increase the understanding of what curricular factors, pedagogies, and other structures within higher education foster comprehensive academic participation among underrepresented groups.” This type of progress – from the cafeteria and Terrace to the classrooms and offices – is worth celebrating. It makes this alumna proud to witness the seriousness with which the Tribe takes the task of acting with dignity and respect toward all its members.
Our kindergarten, first, and second grade students next year will live by five core values: Service, Persistence, Achievement, Responsibility, and Kindness. When I think carefully about it, I know that it was the College who taught me how to genuinely and authentically demonstrate those values in a new and diverse community. The eAdvance and Spark Schools staff will strive to do the same for our students, W&M international students in the classes of 2027, 2028, and 2029.
October 12, 2012 by Aaron Barksdale
William & Mary’s most recent main stage production, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, opened this Thursday. Written by playwright August Wilson, it is steeped in symbolism, mysticism, and history. The plot of the story focused on the large northern migration of the African-Americans after the Civil War, the hardships they faced in their new environment, and their connections to their historical ties. While watching the play I was reminded of the same artistic conventions from the African American Art exhibition on show at the Muscarelle, the College’s on campus art museum. The images in the exhibition portray scenes of daily life of African Americans from the urban inhabitants of northern cities such as the painting by Allan Crite entitled “School’s Out.” Similar to the enthusiastic “juba,” a traditional African song and dance featured in Joe Turner, the painting captures the vibrant essence and cultural ties within the community.
Both the play and the exhibition explore different African-American archetypes and how they relate to a collective identity. For example, in the play there is a character that is a conjure man or southern medicine man; similar to traditional African healers, he holds a pivotal and social role. Throughout the play he treats the spiritual and emotional illnesses that affect the other characters and his methods parallel certain rituals of Christianity. Likewise, Romare Bearden’s piece in the exhibition, In the Garden the “Prevalence of Ritual” Suite, depicts a conjure woman. Bearden’s print is an allusion to the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, and the woman is a symbolic representation of Eve. While in the garden she gathers ingredients for potions and divination practices. The correlation between the play and exhibit reveal characteristics of the social hierarchy and functions of members in this racially homogenous society.
The play and the exhibition correspond in aesthetic themes as well. The majority of artwork in the exhibition is done in abstraction to express themes or the artist’s emotional response to the subject. The simple shapes and flat representations of figures winnow them to their most basic form, and examples of this style are in the paintings by William H. Johnson. The wall label notes, “[The scene] affirms the idea that southern blacks maintained connections with the cultural heritage of Africa. Though seemingly primitive, the flattened forms of and deliberately naïve perspective… were informed by years of artistic discipline.” In the same manner, the play had a minimalist set for portraying a boarding house and the religious hallucinations of one of the characters. The bare design prompted the viewer to focus on the underlying context of the play.
Both the theatrical performance put on by the College and the show from the Smithsonian at the Muscarelle explore the context and history of African American culture. The similarities are more extensive than what I have written, and it’s interesting to compare and contrast the presentation of these common issues. As someone interested in the performing or visual arts, both have intriguing cultural representations of what it means to be African-American and celebrate the culture.
This exploration of cultural identity and diversity is one of the many ways that W&M celebrates what sets our students apart as well as their commonalities. One of the aspects that I enjoy most about W&M is the sense of community that accepts, embraces, and welcomes such unique individuals. Joe Turner had it’s final showing this past Sunday, but the Smithsonian show will continue until January 6, 2013. The cultural and ethnic groups, all of which are autonomously run by students, and the Center for Student Diversity, a branch of W&M’s Student Affairs, include the entire campus in this discussion about diversity. Although these programs are not permanent the conversation about diversity is, and it’s exciting to see the community engage in it.
October 10, 2012 by Madelyn Smith
There are things we all strive to be. Expectations we hope to meet and goals we work to attain. It’s human nature. This afternoon we were graced by the presence of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who reminded us that at the end of the day we are all human and we are all capable of practicing compassion and spreading love. Regardless of our history, or beliefs, our backgrounds or ambitions we can love without bounds. He challenged us to practice living with open minds and remain clam in the chaos. But, of all the quotes, stories and anecdotes, I came away with one thing; the joy in his laughter. As it echoed across William & Mary Hall contagiously sweeping across the crowd, his laughter filled the auditorium. I couldn’t help but smile as I turned around to see hundreds of people beaming. His life is a gift. His message is a prayer. And, his inspiration is indefinite. He is one man who has committed his life to making the world a better place. One man who is challenging what we know. One man who is encouraging us to practice our virtues. One man.
As he talked, his eyes danced and his mouth bent up in a small smile. The ease in his voice and comfort in his disposition made it feel as if the audience was sitting on his living room floor listening to a story he had told a million times. He spoke from his heart. His talk got me thinking a lot about the power of one life and the message that you can send through your life’s song. As an individual who is passionate, curious, and intelligent, you have the power to impact the world. You can choose to build people up, encourage their dreams and foster their interests. You can build organizations, better relationships, support leaders and vocalize issues. You have the power to make the world a better place. You, too, can spread laughter.
September 6, 2012 by Melody Porter
This fall, a grassroots committee of women staff, faculty and students are kicking off a pilot project we’re calling WM2: William and Mary Women’s Mentoring. It all began this past February, when Elizabeth Miller and I watched Miss Representation, a screening sponsored by the Student Assembly and facilitated by Kim Green. The movie shows a quick peek into an evening of mentoring for women in Washington DC, and immediately it clicked: We have to do this at William and Mary.
There are a lot of reasons that a mentoring program makes sense at William and Mary, but I’ll start with one: there is wisdom here, and it should be shared. At our last planning meeting, I asked the committee to share their advice for incoming women in these early days on campus, and here is their trove of good advice for you. Take it, savor it and share it with others!
- Don’t feel like you’re the only woman with doubt. Exposing a little bit of vulnerability will bring a lot of support, rather than feeling isolated. (inspired by this post on the blog, joythebaker.com)
- I hope that women who enter campus now are worried less about superficial aspects regarding their appearance and sexuality now than women were 10 or 15 years ago.
- See the opportunities, and have the courage and sense of empowerment and people to ask to figure out how to achieve those opportunities.
- You can disconnect in order to connect. Turn off cell phones to have meaningful conversations. Don’t build a relationship based off of Facebook. Disconnect enough to feel confident walking around campus alone – connect with yourself.
- Feel comfortable enough to challenge some of the ways you thought previously, and allow those challenges to shape who they might become.
- “Promise me you’ll always remember you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” - Christopher Robin, to Pooh Bear. My hope is that every woman on this campus hears that from someone and is able to internalize it.
- I hope that you will find a group of people who help you to realize that it’s okay to be who you are. Remember the quote: “How you live your days is how you live your life.” Stay focused as you find your niche so you can live good, productive lives.
- Find those niches, and don’t be afraid to look for them, to make mistakes, to try something and fail, to speak in public, make your voice heard, take a risk – that’s where you find out who you are and what motivates you.
- My first year of college was so, so fun – totally full of silliness. I hope that you can take life seriously enough to not take it seriously. Do it with lightness that honors the depth that there is, because the depth of life is that it is really fun, too. Live your life with fullness because that’s all you have!
And, if you’re interested in being a part of the pilot year of WM2, join us for an Evening of Women’s Mentoring, September 19 from 4 to 6:30 pm. We will have a collective of W&M women faculty and staff sharing their expertise on personal and professional empowerment for female students at the College in roundtable discussions. We hope to match many of the attendees of this event to a year-long mentoring pair. For more information and to attend, check out the interest form. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
August 27, 2012 by Anne Charity Hudley
I was honored to speak today to the first year and transfer students in the William and Mary Class of 2016 about our academic expectations. You can download my talk (pdf).
Faculty Panel: Orientation for the Class of 2016
Anne H. Charity Hudley
College of William and Mary
August 25th, 2016
Welcome, Class of 2016 and transfer students, to the College of William and Mary! I hope you got some rest last night and I hope that you had some fun! My name is Professor Anne Harper Charity Hudley and I am Associate Professor of English and Education. I work primarily within the Linguistics, Africana Studies, and Community Studies programs and I serve as the William and Mary Professor of Community Studies. My research and publications address the relationship between linguistic and cultural variation and pre K-16 educational practices and policies. Specifically, I study how the language students use impacts the way teachers interact with students and are able to best instruct students. I also work to help educators understand that language is culture so that we must work to teach students what they need to be successful in schools without eradicating or devaluing their home language and culture.
William and Mary is a small college and like many of you, I like to do many things at once, so I am also the Director of the William & Mary Scholars Program and the William and Mary Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience, also known as WMSURE. I am from Henrico County, Virginia and attended St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA. The first week of college can be amazing and it can be a little scary as well. We planned a lot for today, it’s a little scary for us as well and that’s OK!
2. What does it mean to be a Scholar?
I’ve been asked to talk to you a bit today about classroom and academic expectations. In short, we faculty at William and Mary expect you to be scholars. Thinking broadly, what does it mean to be a scholar? It means you get to ask yourselves and then more importantly answer the following questions:
How many more lives you can touch as a college educated person? Including your own? You are now living your dream- either full on or, I hope, at least a part of it. As I walked around during move-in yesterday, I spoke with students who were third generation W&M students and I spoke with students who were the first in their families to go to college. What an amazing range of legacy and new spirits you can combine into learning with in the liberal arts framework for a public good.
How much more good you can do for the world and what can you contribute both to your local community and the world at large? It is important to remember that good can be defined in a myriad of ways. Good is intellectual, financial, social, and spiritual to name just a few. We wait anxiously for the combination that you will create! I’ll ask you now and I’ll ask you over the next four years: What do you want to be when you grow up? It was an important question in kindergarten and it’s an important question now as that range of what you can possibly be expands.
What ideas can you create, models can you build, and solutions can you discover that have never been though of before? Learning the content is just the beginning; synthesizing it and building upon it is the name of the game. We are here to be masters of knowledge and also challengers of the status quo and full time thinkers and dreamers!
3. Differences Between High School & William and Mary
To make this type of scholarship possible it is important to think about some of the possible differences between your high school and other educational experiences and the experiences that you will have at William and Mary. Those of you who have taken AP, IB, have been dually enrolled, and those who have transferred will find that these distinctions will apply to you as well as to students who have not had those experiences, so everyone, listen up!
The William and Mary and greater academic culture is constantly shifting and changing and that is the nature of being at a university. In high school, school or state standards determined much of what you had to know. Here at William and Mary, in many ways, YOU ultimately decide what you need to know. Within that, individual professors within general college, and state, and accreditation guidelines determine much of what you need to know for our classes. It is important, then, to understand the expectations of individual professors and the only way to know is to ask. That means asking about things big and small and small things that may end up big. That means asking what the professor wishes to be called both in person and on email. Some prefer “Professor”, some prefer “Doctor” if they hold a doctorate (ask if they do), some prefer “Ms.” to “Mrs.” or “Miss”, others prefer to be called by their first name (again, ask!). It is important to ask each professor about their policies and philosophies on the use of laptops, cell phones, and smart phones. Professors have different rules and it’s important to understand their rationale about why you should or shouldn’t be online during lecture and/or discussion. I take notes on my iPhone but to other profs it might appear as if you are not engaged and are texting, you need to know if that is the case. If plagiarism has been explained to you but you are still unsure of all that it entails, ask! If it hasn’t been explained to you yet, ask!
In high school, you most often studied according to a pre-determined program and schedule. Here at William and Mary, you can study and research whatever you are interested in. We are here to make it happen together! For those reasons, it’s important to maximize your contact with professors both inside and outside of the classroom so that you can best understand what is expected of you. Many of us both teach classes and direct research groups or labs. Our strongest students are present in both contexts. With such opportunity also comes the responsibility for making sure your requirements are met within the class, major, and graduation guidelines but I’ll put a plug in here for self-designed majors and the Community Studies minor that really do let you combine your interests in innovative ways! It is up to you to ensure that your readings and practice problems and exercises are completed before class, you have to make sure that you understand the syllabus and the information provided, it is up to you to make sure you have all that you need for you to be successful and that we as faculty understand explicitly what your individual definition of success is and that you understand our individual definitions as well. So ask!
Another crucial aspect of being a scholar is understanding how to cope with both success and challenges. In high school, you were near the top of the class as defined by your school. That’s part of how admissions works here at William and Mary. Now that you’re here, everyone was near the top of the class; now the definitions of top will differ dynamically. There is a deep pool of diverse ability among you! People can do what you do and some can do it better. Some of you can do it better than anybody! Some of you can do stuff that we didn’t even think of yet!
For many of you, this change will mean a change in your interpretation of success. This change will also mean a difference in your interpretation of study skills: For those of you who didn’t have to take notes, create study guides, do the reading in high school, you will probably have to now to remain at the top of the class; that I can be pretty sure of. Learning how to synthesize large amounts of information and how to create unique and well-synthesized arguments are critical to the scholarly process. Professors are more than willing to talk with you about the best ways to prepare and study for their classes and to refer you to students who have taken their classes for peer advice. Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana has a great way of thinking about the diversity of academic experiences that you may have had prior to coming to William and Mary: “What doesn’t work is saying, ‘You need remedial work.’ What does work is saying, ‘You may be somewhat behind at this time but you’re a talented person. We’re going to help you advance at an accelerated rate.” We too know that you are talented, so if you find that you need to advance at accelerated rate, please let us know. The Dean of Students Office, the Writing Resource Center, the Tribe Tutor Zone, the counseling center, the center for student diversity, programs including PLUS and WMSURE are all here to support that transition and process. You should be using them ALL as resources regularly, not just when challenges arise! You don’t want your first visit to your professor’s office hours to be after you have had challenges with an assignment or exam. Get to know them now so that the sky remains the limit. Schedule the office hours just as you schedule the class. It’s going to be up to you to make the extra appointment, to get the extra hour of sleep so that you get to class on time and then stay awake (we notice, even in big lecture halls), and to make sure you eat properly so that your brain is operating at maximal function.
4. What Does It Mean to Be a Scholar at William and Mary?
So now we’ve worked a bit to define what it means to be a student vs. a scholar. What does it mean to be a scholar among scholars at the College of William and Mary? It truly means that you belong here and that I am honored that you are here. We as professors aim to be among your greatest inspiration, greatest challengers, and your greatest resources. During your advising appointments on Monday, that road to being a scholar starts. You will learn about your advisor’s interests and triumphs as scholars and you can also learn about their challenges. Ask your professors, what’s the lowest grade they’ve ever gotten; when where their paths were windy. What were their greatest accomplishments? What co-curricular activities did they do in college? You might be surprised. Ask your fellow students as well. Those stories of success and navigation will pave the way for the next year of scholars and those generations thereafter.
5. Segue into research and conclusion: In conclusion, what is expected in College? Responsibility and perseverance!
Among the faculty seek out those great number of us who truly believe that in order for William and Mary to be successful, we desperately need you to be successful. The best aspect of William and Mary is that you directly engage with faculty and we directly engage with you. Take advantage of it. You all are my co-researchers, co-authors, co-designers of community studies and WMSURE. WMSURE is all about making sure that students who have historically been underrepresented at William and Mary are maximally successful and take advantage of every academic resource the College has to offer.
For many of my students, the shift that was the most pronounced was that of the dynamics of intellectual authority in the classroom. In high school, students are often recipients of knowledge, whereas at William and Mary, knowledge is often a collaborative creation of both students and professors. That’s a wonderful gift in so many ways; it means that you’re invited to treat your professors more as peers than you did your teachers (and here’s where, of course, the research component comes in). But it also means that you need to step up; you’re not doing it right if you don’t do your assignments and readings and come to class fully prepared to engage.
It is a big responsibility for you when I say quite literally that your success is my success. The success of the person sitting next to you is your success. The success of your BFF/brother from another mother that you haven’t met yet is your success! And my father, whose mother dreamed of him coming to William and Mary in a time when Jim Crow laws made that impossible wants me to tell you that if I’m the one who’s giving you THIS talk at William and Mary, then you can definitely be president or anything else you might want to be! So get to it!
Anne H. Charity Hudley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Education, English, Linguistics, and Africana Studies
Associate Editor, Language
William and Mary Professor of Community Studies
Director, William & Mary Scholars Program
Co-Director, William & Mary Scholars Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE)
The College of William and Mary
Transition from High School to College:
Counseling Support Groups:
- Strategies for Improving Concentration and Memory – Virginia Tech
- I Just Can’t Seem to Concentrate! – University of Pennsylvania
- Increasing Motivation – University of Victoria
- Improving Your Memory – Texas A&M University
- Basic Study Techniques – Texas A&M University
- Study Hacks – Blog created by Cal Newport
- Ten Traps of Studying – University of North Carolina
- Top 11 Study Skills – Stanford University
- Study Environment Analysis – Virginia Tech
- Study Skills Checklist – Virginia Tech
- Putting Your Extracurricular Skills to Use in Your Studies – Princeton University
- How to form a successful study group – Duke University
I did not write this alone. Thanks to all of my family, teachers/mentors, friends/colleagues, classmates, current and former students for their input. I’d like to give a special thanks to my father, Dr. Renard A. Charity Sr. who helped me with every major idea. All contributors are listed below.
Dr. Renard A Charity Sr. (my father)
Dr. Cynthia M. Charity (my mother)
Mrs. Renee Charity Price, St. Catherine’s School (my sister)
Mr. J. Christopher Hudley, The College of William and Mary MBA ’14 (my husband)
Mr. Steve Cambisios, St. Catherine’s School
Dr. Brian Joseph, The Ohio State University
Ms. Kirsten, Bradley, Booker T. Washington High School, Norfolk VA Public Schools
Dr. Christy Burns, The College of William and Mary
Ms. Angelique Clarke, Chesterfield County VA Public Schools
Ms. Nancy Everson, The College of William and Mary
Dr. John Griffin, The College of William and Mary
Dr. Jill Hallett, Illinois Institute of Technology
Dr. Lisa Landino, The College of William and Mary
Dr. Rowan Lockwood, The College of William and Mary
Dr. Christine Mallinson, UMBC
Dr. Susan Tamasi, Emory University
Dr. Carol Tieso, The College of William and Mary
Ms. Ashleigh Greene Wade, St. Catherine’s School
Dr. Brett Wilson, The College of William and Mary
My classmates and classmates of my sister:
Dr. Rachel Easterly Gagen, F.Read Hopkins Pediatrics (from St. Catherine’s School)
Mrs. Kara Bleecher, Hanover High School (from St. Catherine’s School)
Dr. Damien Hall (from the University of Pennsylvania)
Carsten Reichel (from Harvard University)
Ms. Georgina Sommerville (from Cambridge University, UK)
Ms. Terelle Wilson (classmate of my sister from Northfield Mount Hermon)
Kira Allmann, The College of William and Mary ’10, PBK, Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, UK
Brittney Calloway, The College of William and Mary, ’10, George Mason, MEd ’13
Kate Chelak, The College of William and Mary ’11, MEd, ’13
Elizabeth Coppock, Stanford University, PhD ’09
Katherine DeFazio, The College of William and Mary ’14
Juliana Glasco, The College of William and Mary ’08
Renee Seibel King, The College of William and Mary ’05, PBK, BA Utah State University
April Lawrence, The College of William and Mary, EdD, ’14
Brittany McLaughlin, The University of Virginia ’07; University of Pennsylvania, PhD ’14
William B. Morris, The College of William and Mary ’11, University of Pennsylvania, MA. ’13
Luke Pickett, The College of William and Mary ’14
Daniel Villarreal, The College of William and Mary Class of 1940 Scholar ’10, PBK, University of California Davis ‘ 15