William and Mary

Williamsburg

15 Reasons Why I Chose W&M

April 14, 2014 by

Day for Admitted Students was this weekend, and William & Mary welcomed over 3,000 students and their families to campus. As a tour guide, I’ve been volunteering with DFAS for three years now, and every year the tribe pride that accompanies the occasion is unrivaled. Admitted students are exceptionally great because they’ve already applied and found something to love about W&M–and while deciding on a college is difficult, DFAS is meant to show them who we are, and what they could be a part of. So without further ado, here are the top 15 reasons I chose to become a member of the Tribe.

  1. The beauty of the campus and the surrounding area. Having grown up in a city, I had never seen so many trees and bricks in one place. I was enchanted by the beauty of old campus and the colonial architecture on DoG Street.
  2. The people. Every time I got lost on my campus visit, someone was always more than willing to point me in the right direction. Everyone was friendly, the students seemed interesting and genuinely happy, and the professors I spoke to via email were amazingly helpful.
  3. The Wren Building. You can’t challenge the appeal of attending class in the oldest academic building in America.
  4. The traditions. Between Yule Log, Convocation, and King & Queens, W&M has an undeniable array of amazing traditions. And what’s more, everyone takes them seriously and each tradition has a history.
  5. The prestige. Attending one of the most elite public schools in the nation has its advantages–the W&M name carries a definite weight.
  6. The small classes. I wanted a school where I could have a personal relationship with my professors, and small classes where I could be an active participant. I found that here, even in entry level classes and major requirements.
  7. My senior interviewer. He was my first up close and personal impression of a W&M student, and I had a great interview. I still remember him making me laugh and putting my nerves at ease.
  8. Lake Matoaka. Outdoor recreation has always been important to me, and having 10 miles of hiking trails at my disposal was a definite plus. And don’t forget the canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards that are free to check out with your student ID.
  9. Tribe Pride. W&M students have a definite sense of community and school spirit that I didn’t find on any other campuses I toured.
  10. The Cipher. W&M is the only school with its own British charter, crest, and cipher. I remember thinking even the police cars looked classy with the intertwined W and M emblazoned on their sides.
  11. A sense of belonging. When I stepped onto campus, I felt like I belonged. I could see myself walking through Wren during Convocation, wearing green and gold during football games, and taking pictures with the Griffin.
  12. The safety of the campus. Coming from Baltimore, Maryland (the third homicide capital in America), being able to feel safe and secure on campus was a definite plus.
  13. The Alma Mater. Every time I sing it, I still get really excited to shout “William! And Mary!” at the top of my lungs during the chorus.
  14. Taylor Reveley. He just seemed awesome. He still is awesome.
  15. The gut feeling that this was the place for me. When I walked onto campus for a tour my junior year of high school, I never wanted to leave. Between the amazing people, the brilliant professors, and the beautiful campus, I knew that W&M was the best place for me for the next four years. Applying early is not something I have ever regretted–I can’t see myself anywhere else.

Choose Home

April 4, 2014 by

Admitted Class of 2018,

Congratulations on your admission to William & Mary!

Now that you have received your wonderful and exciting emails from the W&M Admission Office, it’s your turn to choose what college to attend! Yes, this is daunting, I know. I remember having SO MANY questions about what I would experience in college over the next four years. So, when making this tough of a choice, I hope that you all will think about what you hope to gain overall as part your collegiate experience. I hope you choose a place that deep down you feel that you can call home. If during your college decision making process you choose ‘Home’, I believe that your experiences and achievements will exceed your wildest imagination.

I want to tell you why, when I chose a college, William & Mary became my right choice.

Four years ago, I mapped out my goals and expectations for the next four years. Even then, though, there were so many aspects of my collegiate experience that I had no way of knowing what would happen. I was going in blind. I didn’t know then that I would have the chance to help curate a Michelangelo drawing exhibition and have my name published in a book on the subject. I didn’t know that, while studying abroad, I would watch an outdoor opera performed in Florence Italy’s Piazza Santa Croce, only a day after taking an art history class inside that same church. I didn’t know that I would spend a summer afternoon working for the Admission Office by playing a cut-throat game of kick ball against the Deans on the Sunken Garden. I didn’t even know I’d be making almost nightly study runs to Wawa for chicken strips or chips and salsa – per W&M student tradition. (But let’s face it: #Gotta_Hava_Wawa)

Here, I believe that I am able forge a path with distinct involvements, leadership roles, secret study spots, and groups of friends. As part of the William & Mary family, I am able to truly be myself and am motivated by others to succeed and achieve. Once I started college at W&M, all of the surprising moments and details of my college experience just seemed to fall into place. Here there are so many opportunities – unique and surprising and altogether pretty magical opportunities – that I have been able to take advantage of.

One of my huge time commitments here is my role on AMP or Alma Mater Productions – the campus event programming board. I am truly honored to have had the chance to run some of the major events on campus over the last four years. Some of my favorite weeks are slam packed with AMP events. I get to hear an Environmental Sustainability speaker on Tuesday, hug a llama at a petting zoo on Wednesday afternoon, listen to friends perform at a student music showcase on Thursday night, Keep up my team’s title of Trivia Champions on Friday, and go to a Wiz Khalifa concert on Saturday. After months of planning, seeing an event run smoothly and successfully is a joy. AMP has provided me with an engaging work opportunity and a busy schedule, but also with a solid group of friends and like-minded individuals who are all passionate about supporting their community and giving back to campus.

I will never forget one of my favorite nights this year, going to a sorority formal with one of my best friends. Even though I am not affiliated with a Greek organization, I have always felt so included and welcomed at any event that a Greek organization has put on. After we danced the night away, we traded our heels for tennis shoes and ran across campus to AMP’s Late Nite Glowball event. Yes, we were still wearing our dresses and bling, but those boys had to watch out; we were pretty lethal with glow-in-the-dark dodge balls. That night epitomizes for me the magical possibilities of W&M and all the opportunities that I can take advantage of each day with my friends and organizations.

This year, I also discovered the joys of brunch. I LOVE brunch. Conveniently, Williamsburg is somehow the capital of pancake houses in the United States. The number of restaurants where I can indulge in pancakes and bacon is truly astronomical. Because of this, a group of friends and I recently decided to create a “Brunch Tour of Williamsburg” in order to travel around the area testing out all of the brunch locations possible. French Toast, Huevos Rancheros, and Honey Butter’s to-die-for corncakes really are the best way to start the weekend while laughing around a huge table with my best friends and Brunch Buddies.

Another one of my favorite moments from this semester was the spring tradition of Campus Golf. The event is a Greek philanthropy where teams dressed in crazy costumes play a round of golf across Old Campus. My team decided to be Sexy Presidents. Let me tell you, it is somewhat difficult to make President Martin van Buren look sexy with a bald cap and white pillow-stuffing mutton chops at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. It didn’t help when George Washington, Honest Abe, Teddy Roosevelt and I ended up being chased around the Sunken Garden by a mob of Sailing Club members dressed as knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—all wielding golf clubs and coconuts. I don’t think I made one hole that morning of Campus Golf. That said, the philanthropy did however lead to a spring break trip with my golf caddies, my fellow presidents, and one of the Knights Who Say ‘Ni!’. During campus traditions and community events, it is friends like these who have made an impact on my overall time here.

These are only a very few of surprises and moments that have made my college experience so special. I chose a school that fosters innovation on a campus steeped in tradition; a school that stresses service to the community; and a school that revels in the unique and quirky passions of its students. In being part of this environment, all of my experiences became possible.

William & Mary is my Home. I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.

So, Class of 2018, I hope in your final decision you choose ‘Home.’ Choose a college where you feel you can thrive and take advantage of all the magical possibilities available to you. And if you want to really see if William & Mary can be ‘Home’ for you, I hope that you will join the Tribe on April 12th for W&M’s Day For Admitted Students. See you on campus soon!

My Unicorn Song

March 31, 2014 by

The first song I learned is called the Unicorn Song. For anyone that’s heard it, you know what I’m talking about…the one with the green alligators and long-necked geese. Until I was about 14, I thought it was just a fun children’s song about unicorns…then I listened to the words. And now I know why I’ve never seen a unicorn to this very day.

Every year growing up, the town threw a GREAT St. Patrick’s Day party in the Hospitality House – yes that’s a dorm now and I’m really sad about no more parties. But all of our families would spend the day at the party singing old Irish songs and entering raffles, and playing shuffleboard. I remember these days as times with friends that I’ve had since we were born. As families that grew into bigger families as we got older and family meant more than brothers and sisters.

I’ve been so fortunate to grow up in a place where you don’t have to be related to be family, where everything works out in the wash, and you always wave to your neighbor. Now that I’m leaving it, I’m realizing how lucky I was to have it. How grateful I am to have learned how to be a good citizen and caring neighbor from this place. How much community really means to me. How playing 6 degrees from Kevin Bacon is easy as pie.

In the Irish Rover rendition of the Unicorn Song, they add a part to the end of the song that gives the unicorns wings to catch up to Noah’s Arc. All of the animals came in pairs, so maybe it’s time I start thinking of Williamsburg as my unicorn. And now it’s time to leave and find another.

- Kelley Quinzio

Kate runs on Dunkin

March 28, 2014 by

William & Mary is wonderful. It’s a gorgeous campus, the weather is typically significantly warmer than home, and the people are fantastic. But this winter has been cold and wet. The best part about Spring Break is the minimal work that typically needs to be done. It’s half-way through the semester (I refuse to countdown the days ‘til graduation, so don’t ask), and all of my midterms are done! When I go home, I become the ultimate hermit. I wake up late, hang out on the couch, and brush my constantly shedding dog.

This break definitely had a lot of hibernation, but I also got a chance to go to a Bruins game with my family. It was tons of fun and an excellent game including a hat trick for David Krejci. The only other reason I left my house was Dunkin’ Donuts. A major reason I can survive at William & Mary is the Dunkin’ Donuts down the street, but there is nothing like Boston when it comes to Dunkies. There are two in my hometown on the same street! As it’s the beginning of March, everyone is on their mint kicks, and Dunkies is definitely included in that game. Mint Hot Chocolate is my weakness. Greenberry’s, the coffee shop in Swem Library, had some at the end of the fall semester, but I got a large one every day when I was home for break.

While I’ve missed my friends and am looking forward to the end here at W&M, I’m definitely going to miss the 2 minute drive to limitless Mint Hot Chocolate. Until next March, Dunkies, I guess I’ll settle with a regular.

- Kate Fitzgerald

W&M Alumni Living the W&M Vision – Changing the World

March 28, 2014 by

In this entry, Charlotte Mabon, ’15, serves as guest blogger. Below is her reflection from a recent Community Engagement Lunch Discussion.

2002 William & Mary graduate Abbitt Woodall is now the director of a local non-profit agency called Housing Partnership Inc. Located right in Williamsburg, HPI uses state and local government funds to provide essential housing repair services to low-income families and individuals in the Williamsburg community. These housing services include emergency home repairs, home modifications for persons with disabilities, entire home replacements, as well as indoor plumbing projects. Their clientele mostly consists of individuals and families that are elderly, disabled, and make roughly about $12,000 a year. A major focus of his work though, revolves around a need that most people in the United States take for granted: indoor plumbing. Most individuals may think that in this day and age, adequate and sanitary indoor plumbing is a luxury afforded to all. In the US today over 670,000 US households are in fact, without indoor plumbing.

Access to adequate indoor plumbing is something that not all possess, and this particular problem is right in our backyard. Since they began in 2005, Woodall and the HPI team have repaired over 80 houses in the Greater Williamsburg area that lacked indoor plumbing. Overall, HPI has invested about $3.5 million, with each individual housing repair estimating at $700. But it is important to note that costs can change depending the repairs needed to be done – some repairs may cost less or substantially more. Again, when people think about communities that lack proper indoor plumbing, the mind tends to go to rural, backwoods areas. Though these areas in Virginia are in need of indoor plumbing repairs, Woodall stressed that homes lacking indoor plumbing and proper septic systems can be found in both suburban and urban areas.

Houses in the Williamsburg area that lack indoor plumbing or have poorly constructed septic systems that fail, are built on areas of land with poor soil. Most of the houses HPI repairs include elderly clientele that had service-industry jobs before they retired. But with most service-industry jobs, the ability to afford housing on land with “good” soil is difficult to find at an affordable price – the poorer the soil, the cheaper the property. HPI’s elderly clientele also typically lack the incentives, ability, and finances to move from an older house that may not have the best septic system, to a new one that does. Moving to have a better toilet can remain low on a list filled with other priorities. Even with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, it can still be difficult to get by financially, making housing repairs that much more costly.
Inadequate indoor plumbing is rarely if ever, a hot-topic issue when discussing social injustices. One can argue that there tends to be a hierarchy of social issues, with some receiving more attention than others. This can be caused by the nature of the topic itself, the political charge behind the topic, and social standing of affected communities within a specific social issue. Essentially, it can be difficult to see a problem if one is not faced with it. Most of us have access to both public and private restrooms, and it can be hard to get out and see the sheer size of Williamsburg as a college-student. Williamsburg is a city that extends far beyond the Sunken Garden and The Cheese Shop. But if you take the time and look past the manicured lawns of CW, poverty in Williamsburg does in fact exist. The need is there and as part of the Williamsburg community, it is crucial we recognize our fortunate position to help. If looking for a chance to enable members of the Williamsburg community with better access to an essential need, HPI is the perfect place to start.

Why W&M by Elisabeth

February 17, 2014 by

My first visit to William & Mary was on a cold, rainy Saturday during my junior year Spring Break. The Sadler Center was packed with prospective students and our tour group dodged umbrellas and puddles as we navigated Old Campus. I already knew about the College’s history and commitment to academics, but I was taken aback by the beautiful campus, even on such a dreary day. We ducked into Blair Hall (which has since become my favorite academic building) to escape the rain, and I told my parents that they’d better buy me some rain boots, because I might never leave William & Mary.

I ended up applying Early Decision to William & Mary, throwing all the “after high school” advice my guidance counselor had given me out the window and focusing on my dream school. In fact, I didn’t go on another college tour until two years later, when my little sister began her search! Luckily, the gamble paid off. I received an acceptance email on my eighteenth birthday (best birthday present ever?), packed up my rainboots, and joined the Tribe in the fall of 2011.

Since then, I’ve only fallen deeper in love with the College. I love the beautiful campus that has become my home away from home and the community that has become my second family. And call me crazy, but I really like being located so close to Colonial Williamsburg. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea – or rather, mug of cider – but I can’t imagine going to school anywhere else!

- Elisabeth Bloxam

9 Things No One Tells You at the College

January 23, 2014 by

1382849_10201519835829154_1407268290_n

The Sunken Garden

 

To my incredibly talented and inspiring Tribe Family:

1. You’re not going to get straight A’s anymore. It’s a terrible thing to realize, as many of you are used to being the top in your class. However, the courses at the College are downright challenging, so there’s no surprise there. But guess what? You don’t have to be perfect, because no one is. Just keep in mind that grades do not define you or your character. Do your best and put in the effort, because that’s all that is asked of you.

2. Pick a few extracurriculars to join, but don’t go overboard. Like many of your peers, you’re probably used to doing a million things at once — and excelling at all of them. However, it’s important to know how to balance your classes, work and student activities. When I was a student at the College, everyone I knew seemed to be taking 18+ credits, holding down one (or two) on-campus jobs, and serving on the executive board for almost every organization they were involved in. And while many were able to juggle it all, a majority of them sacrificed sleep, healthy habits, and just plain time to themselves. Be passionate about what you do, but don’t forsake your personal well-being.

3. The trek between Morton and Wren will always take you the full 10 minutes between classes. That’s just how it is. Even if you’re on a bike, it’s still going to take you a while to weave through and dodge pedestrians.

4. Don’t go to Swem during midterms/finals. Trust me. Swem is crowded with other students who are constantly on edge, or haven’t showered, or worse, actually packed all their meals with them for that day and refuse to give up their computer on the second floor (yes, I will admit to doing the latter once or twice…). No shame. Still, there’s no sense in stressing yourself out searching for a study spot, unless you don’t mind camping out on the carpet. There are other places to study, so feel free to change it up every now and then. Empty classrooms, computer labs (my favorite was the one in the ISC), dorm lounges, the Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and more, await you! Plus, it’s nice to get a change of scenery.

5. Do go to Swem during other times of the semester. It’s actually a really nice environment to do work in, and for some, to socialize. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on a crucial part of the W&M experience. Plus, you’ll always find a study table that meets your standards and is adjacent to an electrical outlet.

6. If you find someone’s lost ID, go to the Directory. You can type in their last name and email them directly to notify them of your discovery. It just makes their search so much easier – they won’t have to search all of the front desks on campus, nor retrace their steps from the past couple of days. Plus, you’ll have to meet up with them to return their card to them, and there is nothing wrong with making new friends!

7. Take advantage of the Rec Center (and running trails if you’re the outdoorsy type). Students need only present their student ID to gain access to the facilities at the Rec! Looking back, I wish I had gone much more frequently (3x a week would have been a good goal), because I would have established much healthier habits for myself sooner. After you leave college, you actually have to pay for a gym membership, unless you live in an apartment complex with its very own gym.

8. Purchase a CW cider mug at the beginning of the year (since it’s January, do it now!). You’ll get free refills for the remainder of the year! And if you’re 21 and up, invest in a Green Leafe mug. You’ll thank me later.

9. Are you, or is someone you know, going through a tough time? Go to the Counseling Center. I can’t emphasize enough just how underutilized this resource is. Can you believe it took me until my sophomore year to realize that such a place existed? It wasn’t until I was in crisis mode that a kind language professor suggested I make an appointment there; I’m happy to share that I ended up attending sessions there until my senior year. I participated in individual counseling and later transitioned into group therapy (the latter being my most memorable experience at the College). There are other services there, as well, including couples and family counseling, outreach programs, and resources for helping a friend in need. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. You won’t be penalized, you won’t be judged, and you won’t regret it. After all, when you break a bone or catch a nasty virus, do people tell you to not go to the hospital or clinic? Of course they don’t. They tell you to seek medical attention immediately, if not take you there themselves. The same is true for your mind. If you have mental health concerns, address them! Take care of that beautiful mind of yours. 

Hope these were helpful. I know I wish I learned them sooner. If you have any additions or rejections of any of the above, feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below or emailing me at rmtanap@gmail.com.

Cheers,
Ryann

Halloween Homecoming

October 30, 2013 by

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.

 

The Williamsburg Winery

May 1, 2013 by

After hearing that it offers free wine tastings for students, my friends and I recently made our first trip to the Williamsburg Winery. Only a five-minute drive from campus, the Winery has a great wine selection and a beautiful vineyard that includes two restaurants and a gorgeous indoor venue for formal events.

After a short tour that showcased the Winery’s history, equipment and wine-making processes, we were taken to taste a few wines. Along with wine lists, pairing suggestions, and background information on each wine, the Winery also served crackers and Gouda cheese, which was a delicious surprise. Visiting the Winery was a tasty and informative change of pace from the college routine, and I highly suggest all the 21 year olds out there make the trip.

A Trip To Williamsburg Isn’t Complete Without…

April 12, 2013 by

A blog series from your Admission Ambassadors…

Now that the weather is FINALLY starting to get a little warmer (come on, Virginia!) here is a list of my favorite things to do in Williamsburg during the springtime.

  1. Colonial Williamsburg. This answer may sound a bit cliche, but Colonial Williamsburg is absolutely gorgeous in the spring. When it starts to get cooler, one of my favorite things to do is wake up early—not too early of course, and jog down Duke of Gloucester (DoG) Street. Last year, a few of my friends in my a cappella group would head over to the lawn on the Governor’s Palace most Fridays and eat a Cheese Shop Picnic.
  2. The Farmer’s Market. Although I have only been once or twice, the Farmer’s Market takes place most Saturdays on DoG Street. Check it out for some great vendors—crafts, foods and more!
  3. Busch Gardens. If you haven’t ever been (a surprising number of W&M students haven’t gone!) GO! Busch Gardens is a fun, clean (as far as amusement parks go) way to spend your Saturday when the temperatures get a bit warmer. Most of the time, the Student Assembly on campus holds a W&M Day at Busch Gardens where students get half price off tickets!
  4. Fridays at 5. These are one of my favorite events in the Spring. Alma Mater Productions (AMP for short) puts on concerts each Friday at 5 on the Sadler Terrace. It is a great way to de-stress from work and welcome the fun of the upcoming weekend.
  5. Screen on the Green. Another AMP event! Screen on the Green is a large event held on the Sunken Garden from W&M students. AMP provides snacks (popcorn, cotton candy, drinks) and always shows two popular movies. Some of my best times at W&M have come from hanging out with my friends at Screen on the Green!

-John