Dear Class of 2013

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August 21, 2009

12:14 AM

We know that move-in day can be a drag, but rest assured its silver lining — college itself — is well worth the trouble. So, in between sweaty trips to and from your parents’ jam-packed car, stop for a moment and look around. This is it. You’ve made it. And we could not be more excited to have you here.

After all, we’ve heard great things about you — that you’re one of the most capable and diverse classes in the College of William and Mary’s history. Frankly, we’re convinced of your excellence and look forward to seeing what you accomplish. No pressure; just keep doing the kinds of things that brought you here, and we are sure you will not disappoint.

But enough of that. This editorial isn’t about you. It’s about us. And, as wise twenty-somethings, how old writing this makes us feel. After all, not long ago we stood in your shoes, reading this very edition of The Flat Hat. But be careful — you can see where that got us. Now, thoughts of graduation and job markets constantly loom, reminding us that soon we will have to leave this place that we love.

And, of course, with feeling one’s age naturally comes the need to pontificate. So, without further ado, allow us to offer you your money’s worth of our free advice. Please enjoy, and use responsibly.

The part of you that believes four years is a long time needs to be ignored to the greatest extent possible. That college is a very precious and finite experience cannot be stressed enough. If ever over the next four years you feel you are not making the most of it, make a change or you may look back and regret missing some of the incredible opportunities that are currently available to you.

That said, it is simply impossible to do everything offered here. We would ask you not to try, but we know better, because we remember the feeling of the first time we looked at the course catalog or went to an activities fair. So go ahead and dive in. Shop around and try different things, but keep in mind that most people find that they are happiest when they are meaningfully involved in one or two organizations or activities, rather than spread thin between many.

Remember, you’ve already gotten into college, and now that you’re here your focus should shift away from your resume and toward getting a solid start in the classroom and being happy outside of it.
In the pursuit of that end, this is a great time to examine the person you are in light of the person you want to become. While there are closed-minded people here as everywhere, most here will never judge you for being yourself.

As for the day-to-day, we recommend frequent picnics in the Governor’s Palace, frisbee in the Sunken Garden and late-night Chanello’s or Wawa. Also, be sure to introduce yourself to your professors and classmates, and do take the time to explore Earl Gregg Swem Library. It really is as incredible as they say.
Ask your Orientation Aides or upperclassmen you meet about the things they love about this place. And remember that while orientation is as silly as it feels, fight the urge to be too cool for it, because it really does work for you if you just have fun.

These next four years will be a lot of work, but if all goes to plan they should also be some of the most enjoyable and memorable of your life. But you knew that already. So get to it. We look forward to seeing what you accomplish.

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