December 26, 2011 by Bernice Chu
Merry Christmas from Richmond! It’s time to reflect upon the semester. My last semester at William and Mary was really busy, but in a good way. I worked in two research labs, was a production assistant for a film class, produced a film about an elementary garden as an independent study, took four classes (global health seminar, health ethics, a tidal marsh ecology seminar, and adventure games—a high ropes course that really made me appreciate being on the ground), and applied to graduate schools in public health. I loved that I was able to take classes that I genuinely enjoyed, contribute to the college by helping with research and assisting in classrooms, conduct my own independent research, and have a lot of help on my graduate school applications from professors, friends, and the Writing Resources Center. I often think about how busy and productive I am, how creative and hardworking every single person at the College is, how overwhelmingly prolific the College as a whole must be! After studying abroad at the University of Adelaide, I’ve come to appreciate William and Mary’s unique collaborative and helpful energy. I feel like I can do anything, and there are always people to help me.
I think I expected to feel really happy about graduating and really sad about leaving William and Mary, but honestly I don’t feel any differently than I did a month ago. I’ll still be around to visit for at least the next half a year, and I know that if I need help with anything, I can still count on the William and Mary community. In a way, William and Mary will always be with me. I’m excited for the uncharted path in front of me, but I’m not scared! I feel ready for anything and open to everything.
So, what *are* my post-grad plans? I’ve been applying to jobs and interviewing, but since I hope to go to grad school in the fall, I would really like a flexible part-time job so I can also volunteer, spend time with family, run, and read. I signed up for a running team with the YMCA, and I’m planning on volunteering at an urban garden and visiting temples. I’m spending a lot of time at the library, and I’m keeping a journal of all the books that I read. I am looking forward to a relaxing spring, but I am also open to adventures of all kinds!
December 17, 2011 by Kylee Ponder
I’ve been home for approximately three days after turning in the last undergraduate assignment of my life. And although that time has been spent taking care of my mom who just had knee surgery, it’s given me time to reflect on the time that I spent at William & Mary for the past three and a half years and what that time meant to me as both a student and a person.
Last weekend, the College held a “Winter Graduate Reception” to honor and recognize the students (both graduate and undergraduate) who were eligible to graduate in December rather than May. My parents, brother, sister, and near-brother-in-law came down to celebrate the event and I was excited. But somehow, it just didn’t feel like graduation – I had three final papers looming in the distance that were due on Wednesday of the following week. That may have been a primary reason that I wasn’t expecting much – but I was proven wrong. My family and I walked across the street from my off-campus house to the Sadler Center, dressed and ready to go. We walked into a room (after I checked in) that was filled with excited families, a spread of food and beverages, and a stage that held a table filled with rolled up sheets of paper. After hearing our class president, Stephanie Mcguire, speak and other people speak, our names were called by Ginger Ambler, we walked to the stage, and shook hands with President Reveley. And then it seemed as if that were it.
But it wasn’t. After we received our “diplomas,” we were instructed to find someone with special value to pin us for our induction into the Alumni Association. My roommate and one of my best friends at William & Mary, Liz, and I looked at one another and she said simply, “Want to pin each other?” As Liz said that, my mind and heart filled with beautiful memories of the four years we had spent together – the crazy dance parties freshman year, the excitement of moving into a house together sophomore year, the pangs of distance that we felt as she went abroad 2nd semester junior year, and the finality that we’ve felt all semester this year together. And, of course, I started to cry, which then made Liz start to cry. So there we were – the two of us – sobbing like small children, each only able to utter every three or four words of the Alumni pledge and pinning each other with trembling fingers.
That’s when it really hit me – I’m graduating. Right now. Right here. There’s no more waiting. The only waiting I have left to do is for my diploma to come in the mail. I’m remembering so very fondly all of the moments that have shaped my time here and there’s a mountain of memories that’s building. The time Caroline and I ran out in the middle of a rain storm and got soaking wet just dancing outside of Barrett freshman year. My very much forced first sip of coffee with Danny as we pulled a joint all-nighter during our sophomore year that included lots of donuts, caffeine, and going into hysterical and most likely delirious laughing fits. The first time I watched Moulin Rouge during freshman year in a room full of boys who all knew every single word to every single song. The overwhelming joy I felt when I found out I was headed to Haiti as co-leader of the Haiti Compact with Brian Focarino during junior year. The nervousness I felt on my first day of work in the Admissions Office this summer and the eventual comfort that I began to feel walking through the double doors every single day. My overwhelming humility when I found that I had been elected the Senior Class Homecoming Representative. And the bittersweet feeling of turning in my very last paper via BlackBoard on Wednesday.
There are some things that get old quickly – eating the same food over and over again when you’re too lazy to go grocery shopping, reading an uninteresting book, etc. And then there are some things that for me, will never get old – amongst those are the combination of cake batter ice cream and gummy bears, driving down dirt roads with country music and a Diet SunDrop in hand, but more importantly – William & Mary. Although we brag about how old we are – William & Mary will never be figuratively old to me – I don’t think that I could ever tire of walking the cobblestone streets, spending time with the people that I love more than anything in my life, and the feeling of being home. For that, I am so very grateful.
Hark upon the gale,