William and Mary

Move-In & Orientation

W is for Wedding

August 27, 2013 by


Allison graduated in 2009, but stayed at the College for a year as an Americorps volunteer until I graduated in 2010.

In two days, I am flying from Johannesburg, South Africa to Washington D.C. to celebrate my best friend Allison’s wedding in northern Virginia.  This is the story of our “soul friendship” and the way that William & Mary inevitably introduces its students to the people they need the most.

Allison and I met in Morton Hall in our Comparative Politics class in spring 2008.  Truthfully, we never really met.  Allison approached me one afternoon, introduced herself, and revealed that she had orchestrated an interview for me to join her as a teaching fellow for a fall 2009 civic engagement seminar for Sharpe Scholars.  (If this isn’t the definition of a nerdy beginning to a William & Mary friendship, I don’t know what is!) A few weeks later, I met with Professor Schwartz, was accepted for the position, and the adventure began.  Allison and I were promptly joined at the hip inside and outside the classroom.


Allison came to Rome with me in spring 2009. Here we are on Palatine Hill.

Allison has a penchant for intellectual conversation, surprises and relentless compassion.  During our time together at the College, Allison and I found ourselves on sand dunes in North Carolina, exploring Rome over spring break, surrounded by friends at surprise birthday parties, celebrating holidays together with our families and eating way too many cupcakes.  We talked without end about civic engagement, political theory, existentialism, feeling lonely and finding love.  We were nurtured by many of the same professors and challenged each other academically.  We were surrounded by friends who taught us to be better friends and family who taught us to love, to have patience and to persist.

I was honored to speak at a dinner with former Chancellor Sandra Day O'Connor in attendance, and Allison came with me.

I was honored to speak at a dinner with former Chancellor Sandra Day O’Connor in attendance, and Allison came with me.

After I graduated from the College and Allison finished her year as a Americorps Vista, we both moved to California.  I began Teach For America in San Jose as an elementary school teacher, and Allison began her PhD at Stanford.  For two years, we were pieces of home to each other though we lived 3,000 miles from our families and our beloved college.  I had the pleasure of watching Allison’s relationship with her now-fiance Andy flourish.  Andy moved to California to join Allison and proposed last year.

When you meet a soul friend, you know it.  I moved to Johannesburg 13 months ago, and Allison is still one of a handful of people who know me best, with whom distance doesn’t matter.  And while to William & Mary readers, this might seem normal, know that it’s not.  William & Mary is a place where the relationships you cultivate last.  As Convocation for the Class of 2017 happens this week, my hope is that these same important and lasting relationships have already begun during Move-in and Orientation.  I am grateful that my alma mater is a place where great people meet and build a foundation for a lifetime of friendship.

Go Tribe (and congratulations, Allison!),


Welcome Class of 2017 – Define Your Dreams to Determine Your Future

August 27, 2013 by

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington I thought it appropriate to address the Class of 2017 with a promise on the power of dreams…

I remember fall 2009 when I moved into Spotswood along with 72 other freshman dreamers excited about where the future would lead, somewhat anxious to meet new friends and build a reputation, and curious about what the next four years would bring. As time passed, we grew more comfortable with one another and realized that we would spend the next four years learning and growing alongside of these people and hundreds of others. We learned that our horizons would be broadened with each passing day, that we would be challenged to think in entirely new ways, and that we would define our dreams in the context of this brilliant academic setting.

To the freshmen – now is the time to dream. Now is the time to set your sights on the most ambitious feats that you can imagine and chase them. Tell yourself that you can, and you will. Make connections with professors (they are there for YOU!), pursue your academic pursuits passionately, take time to reflect on the emotions you are feeling now, and don’t ever forget them.

For many of you, this is the first time you have experienced what it feels like to establish a reputation for yourself individual of your parents, family or other associations. You can chose who you want to be – what a beautiful thing! Use this time to try new clubs, push yourself out of your comfort zone to meet new people, and make the most of every activity. You get out of life what you put into it, so I would challenge you to meet every day with a happy heart and a courageous mind and move forward knowing that you are going to ROCK W&M.

You were selected because you are one of the finest students in the country. You are highly capable, brilliant and well-rounded. The Class of 2017 brings one of the most diverse, dynamic and bright classes the College has seen yet. Get to know your classmates. Make a point to build community.

As an alumna of the College, I also want to remind you that by joining the Class of 2017, not only are you joining the 5,000 undergraduates who you will study alongside of for the next four years, but you are also joining a network of thousands of William & Mary alumni who are here to help you. We were all freshmen once and remember what it feels like to travel through this period. We are here to provide help, mentor-ship, advice and whatever we can offer. The incredible thing about W&M is the College community extends well-beyond your four years in Williamsburg.

Welcome to the Tribe, Class of 2017, welcome to the Family.

As One Class Closes, Another Begins

August 23, 2013 by

We Admit It!  Move-in Day is a pretty exciting day on our campus.  New freshmen and their families come to campus with anticipation and enthusiasm.  Returning students, in various shades of neon t-shirts, volunteer to assist in welcoming the newest members of the Tribe.  It’s a busy, chaotic, whirlwind of a day that’s filled with Tribe Pride.  It’s also a day our office has very little to do with.  Yes we enjoy the excitement and the energy.  And we’re just as eager to join in the revelry as other campus offices.  We recruited these students, we reviewed their applications, we admitted them, and now we are hard at work on the class that will experience their own Move-In Day one year from now.  So as we welcome the Class of 2017 and our new transfer students, we’re eagerly awaiting what the Class of 2018 and those who apply as transfers this year will bring.

To that end, those wishing to apply to W&M this year will be happy to know that the W&M Member questions are now live through the Common Application.  You can now fill out, complete and submit your application for freshman or transfer admission!  That being said, it’s okay to take your time.  Our first deadline isn’t until November 1 (Early Decision freshman applicants and spring transfer applicants).  The freshman Regular Decision deadline is January 1.  The fall transfer deadline is March 1.  So no pressure to submit today, tomorrow, next week or even next month.  We will not begin to process any applications submitted for a little while yet anyway.  As always, we will be here throughout the course of this application cycle to assist you with anything you might need.

So welcome to campus, Class of 2017 and new transfer students.  And welcome to the application cycle, Class of 2018 and transfer applicants.  Whether you are moving in or just considering the possibility for next year, our office is honored and thrilled to have worked or to be working with you.

Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission

Reflections of a Senior

August 12, 2013 by

I was on the phone with my advisor yesterday talking about my upcoming honors project. Somehow the conversation turned to the incoming freshmen and Orientation. He chuckled and asked, “When you were a freshman, did you have any idea you’d be where you are now?”

I was speechless. I didn’t know whether to laugh hysterically or break out in tears. Because exactly three years ago, I had absolutely no idea where my time at William & Mary would take me. I was conflicted with both excitement and doubt, worried deep down that somehow college wouldn’t be the life-changing experience everyone had promised it would be.

I was wrong.

I’ve experienced more in the three years at William & Mary than I ever could have imagined. I’ve known both love and deep, shattering loss. I’ve learned the importance of asking for help, even when you’re terrified to admit defeat. I’ve seen people I love struggle through unthinkable hardships and learned what it means to be a true friend. I’ve broken the rules and certainly procrastinated more than I’d like to admit. I’ve stayed up all night for absolutely no reason at all. I landed my dream internship after being denied from a slew of others. I’ve spent late nights with friends debating politics and religion, even though sometimes we had no idea what we were talking about. I’ve had a class kick my butt, and I learned to fight back. I’ve discovered research I’m passionate about, and successfully applied for my first research grant. I’ve skipped class simply because the day was too beautiful to go inside.

The Dupont crew- friends to this day!

The Dupont crew- friends to this day!

Looking back, I can say with certainty that I’m where I am today because of the people I met at William & Mary. Some of the people I met on the very first morning of Orientation would become my closest friends, and still are to this day.  I know I’m extremely lucky to have a group of people who love me even when I’m at my worst (and trust me, sometimes college classes will bring out the worst).  They have supported me and challenged me, and I am confident that our bond will last far beyond graduation day.

But there is more to my story than the influence of fellow classmates. There were professors who took even my most far-fetched ideas seriously, encouraging me to pursue them even when they seemed impossible. There were administrators who taught me the values of a good leader and alumni who showed me that my William & Mary experience extends far longer than four years. And of course, my parents, who while always supporting me in my exploits, never failed to remind me the importance of getting enough sleep and not over-committing myself.

There’s no way of knowing whether I would have had these same experiences at another college. But one thing is for certain – I have felt more love and encouragement at the College of William & Mary than I could have possibly imagined. I couldn’t be more excited to embrace my senior year alongside the people who have made the last three years so exceptional.

I can’t help but smile when I think of the class of 2017. In just a few short weeks, they will be starting their freshman year, just as nervous and clueless as I was. And three years from now, maybe they will be posed with the same question.

“Did you have any idea you’d be where you are now”?

I bet they’ll say no.

The DC Experience /// The First Week

May 22, 2013 by

My name is Arvin Alaigh and I am the resident W&M in DC blogger for the Leadership & Community Engagement Institute. I am a rising junior majoring in Government and American Studies and minoring in Philosophy, and I hail from the beautiful state of New Jersey. My hobbies consist of watching of TV shows, primarily The OC, House of Cards, and Game of Thrones. I also love Buffalo Wild Wings, making music, playing/watching basketball, and studying Roman history. Current events are cool, too. On campus, I am involved in AMP Music, Campus Radio, the International Relations Club, and research with the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations.

I try to be funny but it’s not really successful most of the time, but it’s okay. I’m over it. In the words of the illustrious Aubrey “Drake” Graham in the 2010 hit “Over” off his debut album Thank Me Later, “I’m doing me”.

Monday, May 13 marked the first day in a 12-week long journey for the thirteen selected Leadership & Community Engagement fellows. This Monday morning, we were greeted by the normal, weekday morning Washington DC metro traffic en route to the DC office. This marked the first time I had ever commuted within a big city, let alone during rush hour. It began by paying an exorbitant amount of money – about five dollars round-trip – for what turned out to be a roughly eleven-minute train ride. While on the train, I had the pleasure of losing my bearings on several occasions, getting tossed around by the turbulent ride like a pinball as we approached each stop. It was exhilarating, to say the least. Upon exiting the train-car, I held up about six commuters behind me as I struggled to find the location of the ticket-scanner. In the words of the fabulous Sarah Adler, I fully embodied the “Metro-noob” stereotype, which undoubtedly ran rampant among my fellow out-of-state peers. All in all, I could not have been happier having truly received the delightful “first-time-commuting-in-DC” experience.

About an hour and fifteen minutes after leaving our Arlington apartments, our group of about twenty fellows finally arrived at the promised land: the William & Mary Washington Office. An eclectic array of sandwiches and pastries were provided for lunch, which was certainly a nice touch. Our group orientation followed, lasting roughly three hours, and detailed the logistics of the DC program at great length. The topics discussed were diverse in nature, ranging from practical tips about safety in DC, and networking at site visits, to seemingly bizarre advice regarding emergency protocol in the event of nuclear attack. We broke off into our smaller institutes at about 4:00, and for the first time, all 13 fellows, as well as Professor Drew Stelljes and our wonderful TA, Maggie Scott, met together as a group.

Individually, all thirteen fellows hail from diverse backgrounds, both in our personal and collegiate lives. Yet, we are all united under the common goal of affecting positive change within the community. This is essentially the goal of the Leadership & Community Engagement course – to better understand our goals and ourselves as leaders within our respective communities. While we are not assigned copious amounts of reading and writing assignments, I wholeheartedly maintain that our work is still toiling, but in a different nature than the typical William & Mary class. Self-reflection is our major mode of assessment, but it is difficult to operationalize something as abstract and personal as self-reflection; nevertheless, Drew does an excellent job in ensuring we have mulled over concepts discussed in class, as well as encouraging us to think outside the box when dealing with and studying leaders. We have tremendous chemistry as a group, which is especially beneficial for fostering thoughtful discussion within the classroom environment.

Despite my seemingly inauspicious start, which manifested itself in a multitude of misfortunes, I believe that the past week and a half have been more enriching and thought-provoking than I ever could have imagined. I am proud to say that I eventually mastered the art of the Metro, and I now scoff at the Metro-noobs who clog up escalators and/or hold up lines – although, I must admit that a little part of me does commiserate with them as I fondly recollect my first days as an inept, confused commuter. Overall, I am certainly looking forward to the ensuing weeks and adventures to come, and I certainly look forward to documenting them!

Move-In Day for the William & Mary D.C. Summer Institute: National Security

May 16, 2013 by

Hello! My name is Ariana Guy and I am a rising senior at the College of William & Mary, majoring in Government with a minor in French Studies. I am the blogger for the William & Mary D.C. Summer Institute for National Security because I enjoy writing and am incredibly excited to document everything this program has planned for us students.

A mere four days after leaving the hallowed grounds of William & Mary, I set off to Washington D.C. for the National Security Summer Institute. Yes, I was still tired and slightly muddled – thanks to two intense weeks of finals; however, once the Washington Monument came into view from my car window, I smiled in delight as I came to realize that this summer would be filled with unforgettable sights, people, and experiences. After moving into my luxurious Buchanan apartment – complete with five friendly roommates – my parents and I set off to explore the Crystal City area. I was most excited to see a Chick-fil-A no more than one street over from the apartment building, along with a Coldstone Creamery, Corner Bakery and a Starbucks (of course). There were a myriad of other restaurants and attractions; but this is a blog, not a travel guide – thus, I shall act accordingly.

Looking at the syllabus for the first day of the National Security Institute, I saw that we were going to spend a large amount of time getting introduced to the program and start our course on national security – taught by the very knowledgeable and D.C.-savvy, Professor Kay Floyd. After our academic discussion, I then read that we would be meeting the directors and engaging in a private viewing of the film, Ghost Army. I could see that it was going to be a full day, so I went to bed at a reasonable hour, eager to find out what the next day would bring.

Upcoming blogs will showcase different students each time, giving every National Security Fellow the opportunity to describe a specific event or speaker. I will be adding the names of these contributors at the end of each blog.

A Final Welcome

April 22, 2013 by


We are so excited to have you here. For those of you I didn’t meet on Day for Admitted Students (DFAS) I look forward to getting to know you a little better in the fall.

Before making this post, I was going to attempt to write a long list of different pieces of advice for all freshmen over their 4 years here. While that may be possible, I think it is better to be simple and say: just be you.

I was certainly nervous coming to college. How do I meet new people? What if everyone on my freshman hall is weird? Worst of all … what if I was the weird one? These questions and others streamed in and out of my mind as move-in day occurred. Then it hit me…

All of this won’t matter. If you just act like yourself, get involved with activities you love, and be a little open-minded, you will have the time of your life at W&M—I guarantee it. Have you ever wanted to play water polo but never had the opportunity? We have that here. Have you always wanted to audition for a play but was too scared? Do it. Have you ever wanted to research a certain subject, but didn’t know how to start? Our professors can help.

College is a new beginning, a fresh start—embrace that!

See you in the fall, ya’ll!

-John A.

Hermey & Rudolph

March 18, 2013 by

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.


I have a feeling we’re not in Williamsburg anymore

January 22, 2013 by

After a great move-in and orientation week, it’s easy to see that living a la Washington, DC will be much different than colonial dwelling.  First and foremost, there is no meal plan involved in apartment living. The William & Mary in DC Office loves to feed their students; we indulged in pizzas from Matchbox, ranging from fig and gorgonzola to chicken pesto, sampling chili from the famed Ben’s Chili Bowl, learned to make cupcakes at Chinatown’s Red Velvet Cupcakery, and tried tot-chos (tater tot nachos) from Tonic in Georgetown. From pizza to sandwiches to cookies and treats, the fridge in our spacious apartment is already stocked with the best leftovers.

The whole semester won’t be quite a food overload, so here’s some basic tips to save a few bucks here and there!

  1. Grocery stores in D.C. charge a bag fee. Bring your own reusable bags to save a few cents!
  2. Eating out will always be a costly endeavor. Go during happy hour and sit at the bar for cheaper appetizers.
  3. Drinks will always make your check a few dollars higher, so just get water!
  4. Grocery stores are always more crowded after work and on the weekends. Save time by shopping on weekdays.
  5. Don’t be afraid to pack your lunch and take it to work. While lunch is most certainly a social event in the big city, it is most certainly not mandatory.
  6. Coupons and sales! Also groupon and living social offer great bargains for new places you might want to try out.
  7. Crazy as it seems, kabob and food trucks are delicious and inexpensive, and very easy to find!
  8. Want to eat out? Go during lunch and get a smaller portion for a fraction of the dinner cost. It also helps you avoid the dinner crowds and long reservation lines.
  9. Go out for brunch on the weekends; it covers breakfast AND lunch! One less meal to worry about!
  10. Last but not least, check out these DC Cheap Eats: http://www.urbanspoon.com/pr/7/1/DC/Cheap-Eats.html

Fall Semester in 500 Words

December 7, 2012 by

First off, I know you all have been anxiously awaiting my glorious return to the W&M blogosphere. I apologize for the long delay, but due to seventeen credits, an internship hunt and numerous on-campus commitments I have been beyond busy this semester. However, the wait is over because the kid is back! It’s been a great semester here at W&M with a lot going on around campus, however, I’m going to limit my post to some of my highlights.

Giving Tours
Giving tours has been especially great this semester. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I keep getting the BEST tour groups. Every group I’ve had has been super engaged and excited to learn about W&M. The highlight of my tours this semester was hands down getting an interview for an internship from one of the mothers on my tour. Yeah, my tours are THAT good. So, if you’re ever on campus, look for me to be your tour guide because it’s so great you’ll just want to hire me when you’re done. Of course, I’m kidding but in all seriousness my tours really have been great. I’ve especially enjoyed giving them this semester and I really did get an interview.

This semester I participated for the first time as an Orientation Aide (OA) for freshman orientation and it was an incredible experience. I was assigned a men’s hall in Yates (shout out to Y2$) and had an absolutely incredible time getting to know them through the five day orientation. It was so much fun to help them get acclimated to the community that I love so much. I see those guys around campus all the time and it’s always great to check-in and see how they’re doing. Needless to say, I instantly reapplied when the application was available, and fortunately was selected to return for next year. I’m already looking forward to Orientation 2013!

All Tribe, One Family
I may have mentioned this in another post but I was fortunate enough to have my older cousin as a classmate here at William & Mary for my first two years. It was awesome to have someone that I’ve known my whole life to share the incredible experience that is William & Mary with. Because of this, it was very bittersweet to see him graduate last spring. However, this pain was eased by the incredibly awesome news I got this week. My older cousin’s little brother (so, my other cousin) just got his Early Decision acceptance to join the Tribe and will be a member of the Class of 2017 starting next fall! This means that all the Peppe (my mother’s maiden name) grandsons will have gone to William & Mary! I am so excited to welcome my cousin, I can barely contain myself. I’m pretty sure I’ve told absolutely everyone I know. And with this blog post, I’m telling everyone I don’t know as well!

And yeah, this post is exactly 500 words.

Alma Mater Hail,