That Guy: Andrew Cunningham

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January 26, 2008

2:43 PM

p. I walk into the room for our interview to find Andrew Cunningham sitting at a table with two cups of fresh hot cocoa, candy canes and marshmallows. The table is scattered with holiday cards, most of which are already written and addressed. He is potentially the only person I know who would be writing cards to family and friends amidst our winter finals. Yet, this setting is only a surface insight to Andrew’s dedication to those close to him. Among his limited-scope goals listed on his Facebook profile he included “Be ‘That Guy’ in the Flat Hat.”

p. What is your biggest fear?

p. I cannot stand the feel of foam. Not like foam in coffee, but rather the mattress type foam. Like all the stuff electronics are packed in. Ugh, I hate that stuff. I even take those foam things off my headphones. My freshman hallmates would tape it around my door as a joke because they knew how much I hate it.

p. A more legitimate one is the idea that, a lot of times, I feel like everyone should be working to be better in anything. There is no reason to stop. Maybe work on other areas of your life, but no one is going to max out on any of those things and my biggest fear is to stop thinking that way and just to say, “I’m done.” To stop trying to develop or improve and have to look back and realize that and that I am exactly the same person I was before. There’s no excuse for that. It’s not an issue of being dissatisfied with yourself in any way, but I see no reason to stagnate.

p. Do you think you’ve changed in your time at the College?

p. The past two semesters, I’ve been in charge of APO pledge staff, and over my time here helped to initiate close to 350 brothers of APO. It’s exhausting, but on the last day we had our brothers’ meeting, Brian Chiglinsky had brothers stand if I had helped them pledge and everyone except those that had pledged a semester before me or when I went through the process stood. I was really floored by the number and there’s no denying that APO is a huge part of what I’m about here at William and Mary.

p. How were you different in high school or even elementary school?

p. I was not like this at all. I would say the biggest difference was that I wasn’t open to others or even to myself. I don’t really know how to describe it. I had a reputation of being smart and stuck up about it. As much I would hate to admit it, I think I was like that. People would say, “You’re not missing anything if you’re not friends with him.”

p. I would get embarrassed a lot when I was little. I was the kid who cried about everything and anything. [On] the first day of kindergarten. I was sitting next to Alan Matt and he looked at my sandwich and, in a really calm way, said “You like lettuce?” I interpreted that as “Ew, you like lettuce?!” and I just started bawling that my mother had sent me to school with lettuce. Normal people just don’t do things like that. Youlikelettuce: I even made a screen name about it.

p. If you had to flash forward, how do you see your life changing and developing after graduation?

p. Professor [George] Greenia always tells me that the average person changes careers seven times in his life. That is what is keeping me sane right now. I am hoping that I never have to have a career and I know that sounds odd. I am currently treating the real world like I do toward college: procrastinating. I’m not looking for a real job that I want to keep for the rest of my life. I know I don’t want to go directly to graduate school because I’m not sure exactly what I want to do yet, and I feel as if I should figure out that first so I can then determine what further education I’ll need. I’d like to apply to the Peace Corps if I haven’t already missed the application deadline, but I probably have.

p. You said earlier that the College has helped you in ways other places couldn’t have. Are these the same things that made you attracted to the in the first place?

p. In truth, I originally didn’t want to come to William and Mary. The whole process … I just messed it up and never did anything right. I decided that because I liked languages in high school, I wanted to go to a school that had an acclaimed international program. I applied early action to Georgetown and when I got in I almost withdrew my state school applications but was just too lazy to do it. I drove the four hours up to Georgetown with my family from Roanoke for their Day for Admitted Students and didn’t see anyone. I finally found the welcome banner but even that was hanging haphazardly from the building. I then found out that the Admitted Students Day weekend was Friday and Saturday not Saturday and Sunday and that I had missed everything. Even after that, WM wasn’t top on my list and I was more considering U.Va. because that’s where my brother had gone. What really got me were the different attitudes from the acceptance letters. Other schools would talk about how proud I should be because of what fine institutions they were, which they are, but almost to the point of asking me to further impress them. I compared those to William and Mary’s which was more like, ‘We’re so excited … come all these days for admitted students weekend …’ and it just sounded like so much fun. I spent the entire weekend and here I was blown away and was so impressed after that weekend that I had pretty much decided I wanted to go and told my dad to send in the deposit. I absolutely loved the attitude William and Mary had and it’s really what this school is like. They were able to reflect who they were and a place that I wanted to be a part of.

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