October 30, 2013 by Ariana Guy
Unlike a majority of those in Williamsburg this past weekend, I was not reconnecting with William & Mary alumni, watching football…or singing along to the Jackson 5? Instead, my sister and I were walking the darkened streets of Colonial Williamsburg (more affectionately known as “CW”) and scaring ourselves silly at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream. It’s not that I don’t appreciate Homecoming – with all of its social splendor, but I figured that, in a town as creepy as Williamsburg, you really have to take advantage of Halloween-time (yes, Halloween-time) – exploring haunted houses, graveyards and dark alleyways. I’m not exactly Wednesday Addams, but I love Halloween – and I really like being scared!
My sister and I went to Howl-O-Scream, first. I had gone this past September for William & Mary Day, but, let’s be honest, those roller coasters are addicting; and, although the wandering characters can be annoying, they add to the eerie atmosphere. My sister isn’t a fan of too much height, thus we only ventured onto the Loch Ness Monster and Alpengeist, spending a majority of our time on the ground amongst crazy pirates and werewolves with chainsaws. The weirdest thing was that when I was at Howl-O-Scream for William & Mary Day, one of the English “wanderers” chased me all throughout England; this past weekend, he found me again! For some reason, he’s never satisfied with a simple scare – he needs to, literally, chase me out of the park with a bloody knife.
I hope that I’m actually encouraging readers to go to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream. I’m just now realizing that my description is a bit dramatic. All in all, it’s always a fun time, and being a Senior, it was nice to experience it one last time.
After Busch Gardens, my sister and I embarked on a “Spooks and Legends” ghost tour – which was voted #1 on Trip Advisor. Considering the rating, and my desire for fear, I was expecting a lot; I’ve been on ghost tours that were devastatingly mundane, and I wanted some spine-chilling tales. I have to say that this tour was incredible! It was the best ghost tour I’ve ever taken and it officially creeped me out. The Peyton Randolph House had, by far, the worst history. Its ghosts trap unsuspecting victims inside, driving them insane with strange sounds and whispers. Also, you wouldn’t believe the stories surrounding all of those “cute” little houses lining DoG street. Don’t let those white fences fool you – there are some scary goings-on behind those walls.
So, no – I wasn’t dancing to the cover band outside the College Delly (which played ALL weekend), but I still took advantage of what William & Mary had to offer: Halloween-time creepiness.
October 28, 2013 by Skyler Paltell
As almost every William & Mary student and alum knows, this weekend marked Homecoming 2013, that long-awaited event each year in which alums old and new flock back to the tree-lined serenity of campus. This year’s Homecoming was a landmark event for two reasons: 1. It marked the first homecoming game the Tribe has won since I have been a student here, and 2. There were no hurricanes, establishing 2013 as the first year I have not evacuated campus in advance of a hurricane. Both are exciting distinctions.
Homecoming this year was especially meaningful to me, as for the first time I was able to see returning alumni that I knew and recognized from previous years. My sorority welcomed back dozens of alumnae with our Homecoming Brunch on Saturday, allowing me the opportunity to reconnect with the sisters who helped make my first year in Greek Life so memorable. I was also able to reconnect with Natalie Applegate, former campus celebrity and my tour guide mentor freshman year.
It’s amazing to me to see how my friends have grown in their respective time away from the College, how their careers have changed them and how they themselves have made such an impact on my own college experience. Homecoming is a reminder that no matter how far life takes you away from William & Mary, there is one weekend each October when it’s still there, waiting for the return of the thousands of faces who came before us, our ancestors who helped to create the grooves in the brick staircases, the carved initials on trees, and whose class years line the Senior Walk on Old Campus. They return as recent graduates, as families, as elderly couples who crossed the Crim Dell Bridge holding hands so many decades ago
I have only one more Homecoming to spend here as a student, but I anticipate many more to come—many more visits to the ‘Burg, at first in solidarity—then perhaps with a spouse in tow, and maybe, many years from now, as the parent of a William & Mary student. One Tribe, One Family—for now, forever—hark upon the gale.
October 21, 2013 by Katie LeCornu
Whew! What a hectic few weeks: broken governments, broken garbage disposals, and broken hearts when we saw our midterm grades. I guess I’ll start where I left off last!
A few weeks ago, we went bowling with some students from Boston University who are doing the same kind of program we are – internships with classes. Their program didn’t seem as structured – many were working at random places instead of places focused on their major. I’m grateful we have such a great support team in the DC office which made sure we found relevant internships. Bowling was fun! We went to Lucky Strike in Chinatown, and Javier totally beat everyone. The whole venue had a really neat vibe.
We were blessed with another “Slice of Advice” from Adam Anthony. This one talked about writing professionally and communicating effectively. These skills can seriously set you apart from other interns. It’s surprising how many brilliant people in the workforce can sometimes forget the simple rules of communication. It’s important to get a friend or co-worker to look over stuff – they see the mistakes that you don’t.
A highlight of the past few weeks was getting our well deserved dinner on the DC office as a reward for winning the scavenger hunt. After much deliberation, my group decided on the Daily Grill in Dupont Circle because it had something everyone liked. We got fantastic appetizers of onion rings in blue cheese, popcorn shrimp, and spinach artichoke dip. For the main meal, everyone got fish, and I got a burger. We splurged on chocolate cake and banana cream pie for dessert. All the hard work of meandering around DC for hours paid off!
A few weekends ago we went apple picking at Stribling Orchard in Markham. They gave us a long stick with a basket on the end to grab the out-of-reach apples. There were rows and rows of them, and many different kinds. I think we cheated a little by nibbling as we picked, fresh off the branch. It was very refreshing to be out of the city. The orchard had a bake shop where you could buy apple cider, all kinds of jams, and lots of apple pastries. I got some raisin bread stuffed with apples. The smell was irresistible!
October 1st marked the beginning of the government shutdown, in which about half of the DC program was furloughed. At first it was enjoyable – finally they had time to study for our upcoming midterms. But as the days dragged on, I think many of them started to go a little crazy. As for the rest of us, our lives remained largely unchanged. I didn’t go to meetings on the Hill, and the Metro was less crowded. There was a general haze of dismay over the city. But life went on.
We got the honor of being invited to the alumni event at the Italian Embassy. It was fun getting dressed up, and the venue was beautiful. The highlight was being able to talk to the alumni – they’ve all done so many cool things with their lives, and they are so ready to be a mentor and a guide. I left thinking about all the possibilities ahead. It’s a little terrifying all the paths you can take. And there’s no special formula to get where you want to go. I’ve learned that it’s not a straight shot – you have to take little steps in uncertain directions until you finally have fine-tuned where you want to end up. But as The Beatles said, “there’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be”.
We have crossed the half-way point for this semester. We met with Javier and Roxane for mid-semester check-ins, and they will meet with our bosses to make sure everything is still running smoothly in the office. We had our midterm exams, which were… well we just won’t talk about that. Then we had Fall Break, which is kind of just another weekend since we work and can’t really take off. The furloughed kids were off anyways, and a few people who were supposed to work took off.
Two good friends of mine came in from Williamsburg for the weekend. We got empanadas from Julie’s (recommended by the DC office). On Saturday morning we made apple pie from the apples from the orchard, then went shopping and walking in Georgetown. On Sunday, we ventured out to the Taste of DC festival, where a bunch of DC restaurants came together to showcase their dishes. My favorite was an ice cream sandwich out of a trailer called Cookie Monster – you got to pick the cookies and the ice cream in between. I took off of work on Monday, but convinced my friends to go to an event for libertarian youth that my office was holding.
This Sunday, Roma got a group of us to go to a pumpkin festival in Maryland. They had a hayride where the tractor took you out to the field to pick your own pumpkins. There was also a petting zoo, a corn maze, a big slide, and lots of yummy fall-ish food. It was great to be outside, especially on such a beautiful day with the leaves changing colors. We looked a little old to be there, but let our inner child shine. Sunday night we held a potluck to eat (as my boyfriend would say) “all the yums”. Our chef on hand, Chris, made fantastic homemade mac and cheese – the perfect snack to take on a new week!
October 15, 2013 by Daniel Reichwein
When I was a kid, my father had paid a man to bring some firewood to our small farm and unload it in the middle of Indiana winter. He had arrived late, and my dad was very short and irate with him. We were low on supply and needed the firewood to power a couple wood-burning furnaces of our dog kennel. My parents bred Great Dane dogs and operated a small hog farm.
Funny thing was that no matter how mad my dad was, that firewood didn’t get unloaded any quicker. So I put on my coat and gloves and went outside to help the man. He was in his 40s with a well-weathered face and feeble demeanor. After the surprise of me offering to help him passed, I got to know him a little as we stacked the firewood along the front of the dog kennel.
I can’t remember the man’s name now, but I won’t forget his story. As it turns out, his wife had recently divorced him for reasons unknown and he had a boy he was raising by himself at home. He was chopping and selling firewood trying to make a living for the two of them. Work doesn’t come easy nor does it pay well in rural Indiana, or any rural area for that matter, so he was trying to get by as best as he could. Before we parted, he shook my hand and thanked me for the help. That was one of my first lessons in respect.
There a couple ways that this story applies outside of unloading firewood in wintry, rural Indiana. If you see your classmate struggling to answer a question or explain something, jump in and help him/her. The same thing applies to your professor who might be having a problem getting their presentation or video to start that you know how to solve. Try to think “extrospectively” when a classmate shows up late for a meeting. They could be dealing with some serious personal problem or working a couple part-time jobs so they can afford to go to school here. Lastly, as you look around at your classmates, don’t judge them. No one is as simple as they appear to be. We all have our stories.
October 1, 2013 by Benming Zhang
“Ambition is a passion, at once strong and insidious, and is very apt to cheat a man out of his happiness and his true respectability of character.”
- Edward Bates
Ambition. There is universal acknowledgement yet so different and in many forms. It is dynamic and personal. Even so, it is part of the American character – the very notion of the American Dream feeds on the capacity to succeed independently and comfortably.
Like the American Dream, there is a Tribe Dream every student feeds on here. The Tribe Dream could be little more than to graduate with a college diploma, or as wide as to make the most impact on the school. Look around, and ask a student for a list of all that he’s involved in. It could be breathtaking by the sheer volume of involvement in a wide array of interests. Of course, the Tribe Dream cannot exist without the opportunities that this institution offers. While “opportunities” usually shed a positive light, ambition can twist and bend them for the worse.
I caught the bad end of ambition. As all dreams are capable of doing, I became disillusioned with my capabilities. At the start of my freshman year, I knew I could call this campus my home. With that, I went ahead and took full advantage of what this campus offered. What began as an ideal situation became my next realistic nightmare. My first mistake was taking 18 credits. I found the commonsense to bring it down to 17 credits (not really “commonsense” at all) along with rowing, two other clubs and fraternity pledging. By mid-semester, I was worn out and grades slipped. I became overwhelmed with my slipping grades, and saw my social life gradually collapse to stress. My morale gave way all throughout finals week, during which I simply gave up on salvaging my grades.
Best practices: What could have been avoided
What I lacked is at the core of all ambitions: organization. At times, I became overwhelmed with the influx of quizzes, projects, problem sets, midterms – you get the picture. You have to find your own way to organize, but my main point is when organizing, allow free time for yourself. There have been days where I rushed endlessly from class to committee meetings, and this self-imposed, harried lifestyle beat the energy out of me before I got around to homework. In addition, ensure that you articulate attainable goals. Instead of writing “Get 4.0 GPA,” note a specific way of reaching it. This works: “Get a 4.0 GPA by following my new study habits, and prioritizing studying for exams a week before.” This captures the ideal into a workable form.
Disorganization begins by lacking priorities. Without priorities, ambition will invade and multiply invincibly into our core as cancer does. An ideal setting would call for equal attention to and for everything. In this world, especially in the Tribe universe, such things are nearly impossible. Prioritizing means putting more time into important matters, and leaving others that can survive for tomorrow. A simple practice is creating a list with As, Bs and Cs. “A”s garner (and demand) the most attention, with the rest declining in order of priority.
When ambition becomes overwhelming, and everything seems to be crumbling, don’t let up. Recollect yourself and plan for change at your next chance. I took Winter Break to reorganize my study habits and prioritize my attainable goals for the spring semester. I made marked improvements, and so can you should you ever fall into a similar situation.
September 25, 2013 by Katie LeCornu
This past weekend was Parents Weekend! My mom flew in on Thursday night, and we met for dinner after class. On Friday morning, I took off from work and we started our tour of Washington. I took her to the Eastern Market neighborhood, expecting the massive farmers market that I had witnessed the weekend before. It turns out that the outdoor vendors are only there on the weekends, and on weekdays only the indoor produce and meat vendors are there. Still, she got a taste of how cool that part of town is. Then we walked to the Hill. I showed her the Capitol Building, and took her inside Russell Senate building, where I sit in on a few staff meetings every week. Russell is home to many senator offices, so it was fun walking around and seeing their names on the gold plaques. We came across an office swamped with reporters and official-looking people, only to see that it was John McCain being bugged about something.
On Friday, my mom went to class with me. One of our speakers was a lawyer from the Department of Commerce, and the other worked at a nonprofit organization called Accion. Both were very interesting, and above all, passionate about their jobs! It’s reassuring to see W&M alums in great positions.
After class, the W&M DC office held a reception for the parents and students. THE FOOD WAS SO GOOD! Smooth brie cheese, rich cake balls, sizzling kabobs – fantastic!
After the reception, my mom got her first taste of the horrors of the Metro. First, the blue line was delayed, so by the time it got to the station, hundreds of people were waiting on the platform to get on. Somehow my mom and I squished on. I’ve seen the Metro full, but this was like in the cartoons when people’s faces are smashed up against the glass. We made it a few stops, cramming more and more people in. Then we smelled something terrible. My mom turned to me to ask what it was, and I sarcastically responded “the train must be on fire”. Turns out, I was right. There were so many people on the train, an electrical fire started underneath us, and everyone was kicked off at the next stop. Finally, after much delay and smoke, we made it to my mom’s hotel, where we met an old family friend and had dinner at a cute Lebanese restaurant.
Saturday morning began with a Costco run. I went in needing only three things, and came out with none of those things, instead five other items (Costco bulk sized). The second best part of Parents Weekend is having your family stock you up on food for the semester. (The first best part is just being with family.) After filling my fridge, my mom and I headed to the Newseum for the day. Even though we got the tickets for cheap through the DC office, it still would have been worth it to see the museum for full price – it was awesome. The purpose of the Newseum is essentially to tell history through the eyes of the reporters and journalists who witnessed it first hand. There was a display of pictures from the days of Camelot, and an exhibit of souvenirs from various FBI investigations. There were also pieces from history, like the very top tower of the World Trade Center. One of my favorite displays was the Berlin Wall. One side was clean, while the other side was covered with graffiti symbolizing the turmoil and unrest occurring on that side. I was awestruck to be that close to a piece of history. Another memorable part of the Newseum was the footage reporters got of the 9/11 attacks. It was incredible how close they were willing to get to the debris, and eerie to witness their reactions as events unfolded. My mom liked the replication of Tim Russert’s office – she was a huge fan of his.
After the Newseum, my mom and I walked to Clyde’s at Gallery Place for dinner. Again, the food was fantastic – crab cakes and spinach pastries. After dinner the group went to a show at the Reagan Center called Capitol Steps. The comedians make fun of politics and happenings in Washington. My favorite skit was when they replaced the words from Grease the musical with lyrics about Greece the country and how it is failing economically. It was surprisingly non-partisan: they poked fun at both sides of the aisle.
On Sunday morning, my mom and I headed back to the Newseum to soak up a little more of the exhibits. We watched a documentary about how the Holocaust was largely ignored by the US press because of the anti-Semitism at the time. It was moving. News about the Holocaust was only printed about once a year on the front page – most of the focus was to WWII. If only the press spoke out more about the killings, thousands of lives would have been saved. It made me realize the power of the media. Also, we went to the Pulitzer Prize picture gallery, which was again very emotional. While a few of the pictures documented victory and progress, many depicted war and violence and death. It is truly amazing the power of a picture.
After the Newseum, my mom and I walked through the Mall. The National Book Festival was going on, but it was overwhelming so we didn’t stop. I showed her the Washington Monument and the White House, and then sent her on her plane back to Texas. It’s tough going to school so far away from my family, so it was great getting to see my mom over the weekend.
As I was about to leave work on Tuesday, I got an email from the internship coordinator that he got us passes to go see Ted Cruz filibuster about the Continuing Resolution and ObamaCare. All my office left, and I started heading to class, but after about a block of walking, I realized that there will probably never be a time in my life where I get to sit in on a Senate filibuster, so I turned around and joined them. It was a weird experience – I thought since Senate was in session and a filibuster was going on, the chamber would be full. However, the only people in there were Ted Cruz, a senator from Alabama, the scribe, and a presiding chair. Ted Cruz kind of just rambled, but it was cool to see the formalities of it. They called him “Junior Senator from Texas” instead of just Senator Cruz. I’m excited to see how the CR unfolds in the Senate this week. Below is a sample of what we witnessed in the Senate Chamber Tuesday night…
September 19, 2013 by Katie LeCornu
Well, the DC Fall intern class has officially completed our first full week of work! Armed with pantsuits, briefcases and walking shoes, we venture out every morning with the fellow Crystal City-ers with “real jobs”. Not to say our jobs aren’t real or that we aren’t doing just as much work (and more) than our paid co-workers. We surely look just as professional as the other ho-hum commuters frowning on the Metro. We’ve entered the rat-race, but our spirits are still fresh, and we are ready to take on what is thrown at us.
Corporate America is not what I expected. There are so many little tasks that need to be completed just to keep things running. No, not getting coffee, but entering contact information or updating a database. These tasks seem insignificant, and I find myself asking, “When will the big work start? When will I have that groundbreaking project? When will I be the President of the United States?” Okay, maybe that last one escalated too quickly. But when I take a step back from the tedium, I realize that the small daily tasks I perform save my supervisors a lot of time, which then enables them to do the big things. Once I gain their trust by completing the little chores, they feel comfortable delegating to me the bigger projects, like representing them at an important conference that they don’t have time to attend. Or sending out a daily email to 9,500 people (eek!)
One of the most difficult parts is trying to find the perfect balance of how often to talk to your supervisors. I want to have something to do, but I don’t want to bug them to death. One of the problems I’m facing is the fact that I’m in two departments, so each supervisor assumes the other one gave me something to do. It’s tempting to continue to let them assume that so I don’t have any work, but it can get boring pretending to be productive. I’ve started going to my supervisors in the morning to let them know what is on my plate for the day, so they know that I have time to do certain tasks. I’ve learned that it is important to assert your desire to learn. By being eager to help out and showing you are ready to get your hands a little dirty, supervisors will respect you as an asset to the organization, and treat you like a colleague rather than an understudy. Also, I’ve found that many supervisors want you to get the most out of the experience, so they are willing to help you reach your goals if you just speak up about them. I know it’s nerve-racking, but speaking up to your supervisors can solve a lot of problems and keep you from being forgotten.
In other news, I got to explore a little bit of DC this weekend when a friend came to visit. On Saturday we went to the National Zoo, which is HUGE and free. Although I visited the Zoo on the scavenger hunt, we actually only saw chipmunks and no animals. This time I was able to make it through almost all of the exhibits. My favorite was the otters – they played follow-the-leader the whole time. Also, there was a butterfly room where the butterflies actually would land on you! It seemed like a lot of the animals did not have much room to play – the elephant kept ramming into the gate trying to get out. But I guess in the wild they don’t get fed and protected from poachers, so it’s a tradeoff. Unfortunately the animals don’t get to make that decision for themselves. I don’t know how much I would like being stuck in a cage with snotty kids banging at me…
On Sunday we went to Eastern Market, a super cool neighborhood with an all-day, everyday farmers market. There are a ton of great restaurants in the area, and we settled on one called the Chesapeake Room. After lunch we got a cupcake from a food truck, and headed over to the tents. There was a wide variety of produce – everything from beautiful heads of lettuce to juicy peaches. There were live bands playing, soap shops, art tents and jewelry artisans. It was an awesome atmosphere – definitely a place I want to return to.
Last night the interns had dinner with our mentors. It was fun hearing about their time at William & Mary. Although the campus has changed a lot, the prestige of the school remains. Also, many cool programs have been introduced since their time there, like the DC program. It was great to see that so many alums left W&M prepared for a career that they love. One of the most important things I got out of my dinner was that it’s okay that I don’t know what I want to do after college. My mentor was actually glad that I didn’t know what to do – it gives me time to explore and be flexible. He didn’t settle into something until he was almost thirty, but once he did, he loved it. I think it’s important to take the time to discover where you can do the most good.
September 11, 2013 by Laura Manzano
- There will be a night, when you are lonely and a freshman, that you walk down the hall and find others like you, so you awkwardly rally together and talk about your favorite movies and SAT scores on the gross furniture in the lounge of your dorm on a humid Saturday night in September, and all of the sudden you forget to care about all the college parties you were so excited to attend. Three years later, approaching graduation, you may find yourself doing the same thing with the same people, but only this time you’re doing it because you want to, and because these awkward freshmen have somehow become your family. Only now there may or may not be alcohol involved.
- Being apart from your parents for the first time in your life will help you see them as real people. They are no longer the superheroes of your childhood, but they fall and they bleed and they may need your help, sometimes. This is not necessarily a change on their part, but a greater realization on yours, and it is not at all a bad thing. You’re becoming an adult, and in observing this new adult world through a more realistic lens, it seems only appropriate to begin with the most idealized aspect of the past eighteen years. Don’t be afraid of it – embracing an individual’s complexities can be the hardest part of relating with another human being. But remember that you are a part of each other. Your mom and dad will be your mom and dad for the rest of your life.
- Someone close to you will disappoint you. It will hurt more than many other things because friendship is stronger and less drastic than romance, and in theory should last until ties have gradually faded, and not because they have been decisively cut. If talking about it or thinking about it months later still makes you mad or sad, reach out to them. In life, just like in literature or in film, no significant character leaves in a dramatic fashion without coming back at some point down the road.
- There will be a moment, or rather, a seemingly perpetual series of moments in which you approach a realization that you don’t, in fact, know what you want to do with the rest of your life. After graduation, the proverbial path is unpaved and on an incline and it may even be hot outside. College will get you there, but you may feel it hasn’t taught you how to walk on it. Do I really want to do math for the rest of my life? Is law school the right choice for me? Here’s something no one will tell you: you’re not supposed to know how the rest of your life should unfold when you’ve barely emerged through a quarter of it. Take a deep breath. And by deep breath, I mean a year off. Give yourself time to live outside of school. Travel, meet people. For a little while, get a job just to have a job, and remember that job is not going to be your career. In college, there may be a moment when you see George Saunders speak to a room full of people just like you, and then one of the greatest and well-decorated contemporary writers will tell you that he originally got his degree in geophysical engineering, and worked for an engineering firm for seven years. Realize that no one is meant to be settled and established and have it all figured out by the time they’re twenty-four, unless they want to be completely bored for the next seventy years.
- You will trip over a brick on this campus. You will hear this everywhere, and that is because the only thing more certain in life than tripping on a brick is that by the end of it, you will be dead. You will trip on a brick not once, not twice, not seven times, but probably somewhere in the neighborhood of eighty-eight or eighty-nine times.
- There will be a lot of moments when you are rejected. By a professor, by a job, by an application, by a girl, by a boy. It’s likely that multiple rejections will happen in a short span of time, and they will make you never want to get out of bed again, even for warm Caf cookies. In these moments, you will undoubtedly feel the opposite of what you should feel, because in reality, the courage that has compelled you to put yourself out there in the first place is greater than many people can claim. College may teach you that everyone needs to be broken down to nothing before they can become something. You are not a great anything until you’ve thought to yourself at some point that you are the worst anything that has ever lived.
- If you’re lucky enough, you’ll experience love, and if it’s real, you’ll be scared to call it that just yet. You may not be anxious or excited. You won’t lose your appetite, because that seems to indicate that to remain in love with someone forever means you will never eat again. That to desire a hamburger means to have fallen out of love. The thought of him or her won’t make your heart race. By that point, if you’ve sat on it long enough, your heart will have adopted him or her as an integral cog in the regular mechanics of your circulatory system. They say that love is selfless. And you’ll have a moment when you realize that part is true. Their happiness will become your happiness – a scientific, economical, reliable correlation. And that feeling, unlike Hallmark love, will be unascribable to any one color, unless that color is black, simply because, of course, black is a combination of all the colors – those both beautiful and less beautiful, but nonetheless necessary to paint an honest world. If you find yourself feeling this way, or even at the very least think you feel this way: congratulations. It requires a brave person to put their own heart in this position, no matter how involuntary it may seem.
- Finally, you’ll visit Washington D.C. for the first time on any given weekend, and fit in as much sight-seeing one could do in about 30 short hours: the magnificence of the Capitol building, the grandeur that is the Lincoln Memorial, but most especially – the beautiful stillness of Arlington Cemetery. The sky will be cloudy and you may be tired. You’ll inexplicably cry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as you watch the guard walk across the horizon with a reverent ferocity. You’ll say a quick prayer for anyone who has ever sacrificed anything for your sake. You’ll smear away the tears that have somehow snuck into your eyes, and turn to pan across the landscape: tens of thousands of tombstones, extending farther than you will be able to see. The names will mean nothing to you and everything to you at the same time, because those unrecognizable names and their sacrifice are the reason you’re able to stand where you’re standing. The most important and essential moment you will have, at any point in your life, is the one in which you understand that you are not in this alone – that we need to be good to each other in order to survive.
September 10, 2013 by Katie LeCornu
The Fall 2013 William & Mary in Washington interns are all settled into our new apartments in the lovely neighborhood of Crystal City. Move-in was astonishingly efficient with all the DC office staff there to help. As a girl with way too many belongings, moving is always such a loathsome experience. However, I pulled up and my stuff was out of my car and in my room before I could even turn off the engine!
Monday night began with pizza and a short introduction to the program by the director of the DC office, Adam Anthony. Then we took a tour of Crystal City so we know our way to the Metro and through the underground mall. Monday night, our group of 17 converged in one of the apartments for a movie showing – the girls outvoted the guys and we ended up watching the “Glee”-esque movie “Pitch Perfect”.
Tuesday morning began with doughnuts (yum!) and a meeting with Roma, our Community Advisor. She gave us the rundown of the building procedures and our duties as residents, and provided us with our pre-loaded Metro card (turns out you can’t walk everywhere like in the Burg…) We hopped on the Metro and navigated ourselves to the W&M office in Dupont Circle, where Javier gave us a packet of information for the program – calendars, forms, contact numbers, etc. We had a fantastic lunch catered from a Greek restaurant, and then got a presentation on stress from Dr. Reis from the campus Counseling Center. The presentation was a good reminder to manage our time, and leave room for fun and relaxation. After lunch we started our Scavenger Hunt – the winning team gets a free dinner! The items on the list were worth varying amounts of points depending on how far away from Dupont Circle they were. The list included everything from chess players to embassies to landmarks. My group made our way to Union Station and the National Mall, then up to Chinatown where we met the whole group for dinner at Matchbox, the pizza place. We didn’t think we were doing too great in the game, but when two groups showed up late and got points deducted, we once again had hope that we might win. After dinner, we met up with a tour guide at the Jefferson Memorial who gave up a monument tour. My favorite monument was the FDR one – it really told the story of his life. Also, the MLK monument was bustling because Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
On Wednesday morning the group met at GW’s Gelman Library, our designated library away from Swem. The library was 8 stories, but didn’t seem to have as many books as Swem. Although it was only the 3rd day of school, the library was surprisingly full of students. We then headed back to the Dupont office for lunch, and then adventured out for the second part of the scavenger hunt. This time my group was a little more motivated with the idea that we could win. We went down Embassy Row, then found our way to Georgetown University. We went past Dumbarton Oaks Park, and then trekked through a surprisingly uncharted dense forest area, before coming out at the National Zoo. We looked for the panda, but it had just given birth and was therefore not on display. Next, my group took the Metro to the Kennedy Center, where we were able to check off “Bust of JFK”, “Hall of States”, and “View of Georgetown from Kennedy Terrace.” As our time limit came close, I convinced my group to make a little detour to a coffee shop on the list that was only worth a point. It was a good thing because when we met with the rest of the students for dinner, we had beaten the group by only a 2 point margin! Dinner was at a wonderful Mexican restaurant called Lauriol Plaza – I can still smell the sizzling fajitas. After dinner we went to Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center. It was an incredibly funny murder mystery in which the audience decides who the killer is! The interaction with the audience made it different from any play I’d ever seen before.
Thursday morning started out with an introduction lecture from Professor Abegaz to set us on the right path for our classes the next week. We had a lunch of Mexican food, and then Adam gave us our first “Slice of Advice,” a series that will continue throughout the semester. This first presentation was about being better than the intern next to you by completing assignments before the due date, communicating professionally, and being eager to learn. After our advice session, we went to the National Building Museum to play mini-golf on super cool holes. The holes had to do with environmental and futuristic building – and some of them were impossible! We ended the night and our Orientation with a Nationals game. It was Nationals vs. Marlins, so of course we beat them. The best part wasn’t so much the game, but the hype and the energy that resonated through the stadium! DC has a lot of spirit and pride!
Although it was weird to go through Orientation again as an upperclassman, it was completely refreshing and really prepared us for the semester to come. I hardly stepped foot in DC a week ago, but now I know my way around completely. I was even able to give directions for a Metro stop to a foreign tourist the other day! Also, Orientation allowed us to have a little fun before the hardcore (but still fun?) work starts in September. I think this class of interns had bonded really well, and we are going to have a very successful semester.
Picture Credits: Ferra Chen and Donald Thibeau
September 6, 2013 by Benming Zhang
Whenever a friend asks me about my future, I cannot help but reflect both my past and present. My distant and close memories converge a path that leads to my present, or how I got to where I am today.
We are all accumulations of our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. That description seems very befitting, almost trivial – but profoundly important to grasp. I have struggled with my past: things I wished I could have done differently. Throughout high school, I tried to be different. Every year, as a matter of fact, was a new year. A new year calls for a new person. Upon arriving at the College of William and Mary, I learned to accept certain aspects of my tomorrows. In addition, I saw that refusal to acknowledge our yesterdays can cause for a confusing present, and stumbling future. By the time I applied to colleges, I was ever more perplexed at what I wanted to be, as my interests were shaky and unpredictable at best. A lesson in yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows cannot be more understated, now, as we college students come face to face with Life in these four years.
Our yesterdays shape us. They are rigid, fixed, and spur powerful interfaces* toward our todays and tomorrows. We look back to our distant, fond memories. Days sweetened by the grace of our memories, even as the light to our overwhelming bad* moments. The tests, and the panic for finals only seem a dim, distant light. They are tools for the wise, when used appropriately. Mistakes made once can be corrected when the situation comes around again for a second round. We cannot deny our yesterdays, nor can we attempt to replace them.
Yesterdays lead to todays, which is our everyday endeavor. Todays are working long and short term goals, almost in the same way working memory is explained in Psychology. Every minute and every hour is filled with activities with a gush of emotions. We jolt and smile when we see friends. Our actions become competitive when playing sports, and we set a stone face while focusing in class. Even more importantly, todays are the little pieces to advance our yesterday’s follies. This can be as much as writing a paper that you meant to get to yesterday, or even making amends with friends after a tough confrontation the day before. We deal with triumphs and disasters that will become part of tomorrow; the only difference is whether you choose to resolve this issue today, or to leave it for tomorrow.
There is hardly an absolute fulfilling today, so we have tomorrow to continue our quest. Tomorrow provides ambition – whether it simply amounts to desire to see another day. There is hope – hope that we will accomplish something great. A hope for a prosperous and soon today. There is resiliency to face tomorrow’s challenges. To bridge two worlds together, we work hard today in order to prepare bit by bit for tomorrow’s challenges.
Our yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows are our greatest assets. Yesterdays serve as teachers for today and tomorrow. Todays are ever working, bit by bit, carrying great consequences with little actions. Tomorrows fuel our ambition, and our desire to see another day. Understand how these three words play a role in your life, and I guarantee you will find a fulfilling experience at not only the College, but in life as well.