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Freshman Year at the College of William and Mary in Review

Social Life:

I guess I'd spent so many years as an only child at a magnet school, isolated by distance from my friends and the real world, that coming to a place where I'm surrounded by so many fun and intelligent kids like me all the time was a needed refuge. My hallmates are wonderful, and it's always entertaining here cuz we don't seem to run out of crazy things to do, from bakery and cider runs (ten dollar mug = free cider for a year!) in colonial williamsburg to a perfect attendance party (playing twister at the basement of the library) to hurricane frisbee (playing frisbee on the sunken gardens in a thunderstorm...the whole sunken gardens is transformed into a slip n slide) to movies and ping pong tournaments in the attic, painting murals on the walls, going out to the governor's palace lawn at night and stargazing while our astronomy friends tell stories and others play music softly in the background, culture shows with free ethnic food, a visit from the director of Scrubs (who went here!), ting tings concert, beach and busch gardens for study breaks, or just fitting too many people in one room and chatting all night long.

Traditions:

As a school founded 83 years before the founding of our nation, we've got tons of traditions. My favorites so far have been convocation, the yule log, and grand illumination. At convocation, all the freshmen gathered in the courtyard of the Wren building, and the rest of the school stood in the back of the Wren building. To symbolize the class of 2012's entrance into the school, we entered the front of the Wren building and came out the back to a crowd of cheering friends and friends to be. We were celebrities for a day! At graduation, we'll enter from the back and come out the front of Wren. The yule log was near Christmas, where President Reveley, our incredible president who speaks gold and has a fanbase consisting of the entire population of our school, dressed as Santa Claus and read us How the Grinch StoleChristmas on the portico of the Wren building. We were each given a piece of holly, which we had to rub on the yule log and then throw into the flames Wren's Great Hall fireplace, symbolizing our riddance of the year's burdens. Grand Illuminations is also in the winter. The students living in the student house in colonial williamsburg invited the school over for hot cider, cookies, and a cappella, and then we sat on the governor's palace lawn for a fireworks spectacle!

The Town

Colonial Williamsburg is a great place. It's a minute's walk from my dorm, and my friends and I love to go there on saturdays for the Farmer's Market and on other days to visit all the attractions that are free for WM students. I like to brag that I can roll out of bed and visit a palace. The governor's palace has a hedge maze in the back and a beautiful lake, and a wall with doors that look like they lead to Narnia! I like to take people who visit me to the Cheese Shop for lunch because it is wonderful and you can buy a huge bag of delicious bread ends for a dollar. Then there's the peanut shop with free samples of everything and Mermaid books, the cutest used books / antiques shop around! I also love to show off the Wren building, which is the oldest academic building still in use in the States! It was used as a hospital in the Civil and Revolutionary Wars and consists of two wings: the Great Hall and the chapel. A cappella concerts are sometimes held in these two wings, which both have incredible acoustics. In the chapel is also a 400 year old manual organ donated by a duke, which I, as an organ student at William and Mary, have played on! The classrooms in the middle section of Wren are still in use, and one of my classes last semester was held there. Christian Origins was a great class: the classroom had a fireplace for cold days, and on nice days, we had class outside on the Wren portico, and our teacher morphed into Jonathan Edwards each time a tour group walked by.

Academic Life:

Incredible. My first visit to William and Mary was the Monroe Scholar visitation day where I took two fake classes which were supposed to show prospectives what classes were like. One was about the Wallace and Gromit film Trousers and the other was about the environment. Neither impressed me very much, so I didn't have great expectations for classes. To my surprise, my expectations were far exceeded, and they would have been had I had enormous expectations. I've already talked about Christian Origins, in which we read nearly all of the New Testament, but instead of a burden, it was an enlightening window into the thoughts of early Christian figures. My freshman seminar, quantum world, was a great 15-person class that opened me up to crazy concepts of the universe, or even many universes. Our teacher brought us pizza and doughnuts sometimes, and it was just great to discuss physics on a conceptual basis. I didn't expect Study of Language to be a linguistics class, but it's been one of the most intriguing classes I've ever taken. I was always eager to come to class and learn about the development and intricacies of language, and even the homework, which was more like language logic puzzles, was fun. This summer, I'm going to China on a service trip to teach migrant children English, and as a side project, I have a grant to do a linguistics study on their foreign language acquisition, which I hope to apply to help them learn more effectively. Before I decided to come to William and Mary, I was afraid that a small school meant a dearth of opportunities, but I am constantly proven wrong. I love the tight-knit community here. I love seeing ten or fifteen people I know on my way to class, and everyone here, including the professors, is so friendly and helpful! I sometimes send facebook messages to people I don't know who are majors in departments I need help in, and they always go out of their way to help me. The professors all do research, and they are so willing to let students participate. In deciding between Echols scholar at UVA and Monroe scholar at WM, I thought that Echols would be cool because I wouldn't have to do general education classes, but I've discovered that I love general education classes. Both my Christian Origins and linguistics classes were for general education requirements, but now I'm considering majoring in linguistics. Academics here really open up your eyes to so many possibilities!

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April 2009

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