New students should take time to participate in old Tribe traditions

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August 18, 2011

10:08 PM

I am sure every incoming freshman is tired of the quintessential pre-college small talk routine: “Where are you going to college? What are you majoring in?” For the out-of-state students, “Where the heck is the College of William and Mary?” Well, the time has finally come to actually begin your college experience.

For me, the orientation process has definitely been one of the most memorable experiences of college to date. The College does a great job of helping incoming students get accustomed to life at college in general and of helping them get to know the College itself better. Throughout the process some activities might seem redundant, especially after experiencing AlcoholEdu, but I promise the orientation aides will find ways to make even the drabbest of subjects somewhat entertaining. Furthermore, the freshman hall experience is most definitely the best part about freshman year. Never again will you have the opportunity to live with a group of people who for the most part do not already know each other. This is the best time to make friends and get to know everyone, because the people on your freshman hall and in your orientation group are most likely going to remain your best friends throughout your time here at the College.

During orientation, you will learn about some of the traditions here at the College. These are what make the Tribe unique. First is Opening Convocation, which gives faculty and students the opportunity to welcome new students to the College. All incoming students sit in the Wren Courtyard and get to first experience the uniquely rich voice of College President Taylor Reveley. Afterward, you will be greeted by a mass of cheering students as you walk ceremoniously through the Wren Building. Another one of my favorite traditions is the Yule Log ceremony, which occurs a few days before the end of fall semester. Students toss sprigs of holly into the Yule Log fire for good luck. While the Yule Log ceremony is often later during finals, I recommend staying and getting to experience this tradition. As you have gathered by now, the Wren Building plays a central role in the College’s traditions, as it is the oldest academic building still in operation in the United States. The Wren Building represents the formal beginning of your time here at the College, and it also represents the ending as all graduating seniors are able to ring the Wren bell after the conclusion of their final class. My advice is to take advantage of any and all traditions the College presents throughout the year.

Another hallmark of the College is the Student Activities fair held at the beginning of the fall semester in William and Mary Hall. There are more clubs and activities than you might imagine, and it may seem overwhelming at first. However, this is another great opportunity. My advice is to sign up for anything and everything. There is literally a club for any interest you have, and if there is not, you can always create your own. The diverse student interests, in my mind, are probably the best part about the College.

In the end, the best advice I can give is to go all-in. Remember, everyone is in the same boat, so do not be afraid to try new activities or to meet new people. I know the last few lines seem cliche, but they are true.
You will never get this type of experience again–so go out and take advantage of all the College has to offer.

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