Appreciate the College

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February 8, 2007

9:31 PM

It’s about this time of the year when the winter blahs start rolling in. The realization that we’re back in school grind hits, “frigid” weather turns the campus into a veritable North Face fashion show, and we discover that a month off has really done nothing to diminish the Wren Cross controversy.

p. So, with all that looming large, it might be difficult to remember everything that brought us here in the first place, what made us so excited to receive the “fat envelope” one April.

p. It struck me when I arrived here after driving 900 miles from St. Louis a couple weeks ago. I was alone at the wheel, not ensconced in the back seat anymore with some travel games, a grin and a pillow. This time, I wasn’t coming to visit grandparents or Virginia Beach, but simply to start my fourth semester at the College.

p. You see, even though I’m from the Midwest (not the “flyover states”) I’ve been coming out here for as long as I can remember. I’m still deciding what exactly it was that lured me to the College and away from the comfort of my more familiar cornfields and Steak’n Shakes.

p. It’s gotten me thinking, sure, this campus might be our little bastion of excitement amidst the entertainment vacuum that is Williamsburg, but it’s also so much more than a place we’ll be forced to endure for four years to receive an education and a job offer.

p. There’s something about sunny afternoons in the Sunken Garden with the scent of boxwoods hanging in the air that sends me back 12 years in an instant. I’m told this has something to do with the way the brain and the nose talk to one another, but whatever the reason, it happens just the same. I’m 20, walking from Jefferson to the University Center. I’m eight, feeding the ducks in the Crim Dell with my grandmother. I’m 20 again, worrying whether my GPA and extracurriculars are satisfactory, and then a more pressing thought: I haven’t been out to Matoaka Court recently (let’s hope Williamsburg Police didn’t come to tow my car).

p. Just the other day, in fact, I was heading back from church when I decided to take a turn down the Colonial Parkway, ending up at a little beach among the tidal marshes along the James River, a world apart from my general interpretation of the area as a land of tourists and pancake houses.

p. Doing a bit of cliched reflecting as I strolled along that beach, it occurred to me that most of us hold a certain nostalgia, if such a thing is possible at our age, for the time when our grandmas kissed our boo-boos and our biggest debate was over whether the Power Rangers would be able to take the Ninja Turtles in a street fight (without hopping in their Zords, mind you, because that’d be lame). On the other hand, we’ll probably find ourselves wishing we were back in college 20 — or two — years from now, so it could all come ‘round in the end.

p. Then again, I came across an article in The Washington Post last week about high schoolers competing over whose course load was more miserable. What? I hope you weren’t like those kids. But seriously, is that how we’re going to remember the College? Will it be known as the place where we worked as much as possible to earn those jobs where we’d work even harder? I have more faith in us than that.

p. It’s true that we have an amazing school. I mean, where else can I walk across campus and hear, “I don’t even care. Schrodinger’s cat pisses me off,” or “Well, the major problem in our relationship is that I’m a communist and my dad’s a fascist,” all in the span of 10 minutes?

p. I’m inclined to think, however, that there’s more to why we came here than academics and a few lines on a resume.

p. So why did we choose the College, then, as opposed to U. Va., or any of those other places that stuffed our mailboxes with “personal” letters back in high school? (“Do you hate freedom of speech and learning, Andrew? If you do, then you definitely won’t like Smalltown Liberal Arts College!”)

p. Perhaps I’m going out on a limb, but I think it’s that feeling we get when we’re all crowded together in the Wren Courtyard for the Yule Log Ceremony, or when we slip up and call the College “home,” only to find ourselves wondering if it really was a mistake. Or maybe I’m just being overly sappy about the whole thing, and that sweet consulting job is honestly what it’s all about.

p. Here’s hoping Accenture likes sentimentalists.

p. __Andrew Peters, a sophomore at the College, is a Staff Columnist. His views do not necessarily represent those of The Flat Hat.__

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