Your College of William and Mary memories are very different from those of the person sitting next to you. Whether you’ve been on campus for one year or four, you’ve likely collected some experiences that mean something to you. Maybe through a club, a sport, a class or a friendship, there are some memories you’ll cherish forever, and some memories you’d like to forget as soon as possible.
As varied as these memories are, after spending years secluded in Virginia’s Tidewater region, we all share some common experiences. Inevitably, common experiences morph into shared habits. For better or for worse, we’ve all been ’Burg-ified.
Long after we leave this historical cocoon we call home, this place will stay with us. Here are the things we will all carry after we depart from this rarified environment:
1. The caffeine addiction
When we came to college, the majority of us enjoyed the occasional cup of tea or Starbucks latte, but by no means were we addicted. Isn’t that a funny thought?
For some, it was the first research paper, for others it was the 8:00 a.m. math class, but it hit us all hard. We bought K-cups or French presses, and we maxed out our punch cards at Aromas. By the fourth year, coffee becomes as integral to life at William and Mary as the bricks. We all learn that unchartered inspiration lies somewhere in the bottom of your second cup of black coffee.
2. The email anxiety
Gmail really needs to create a “retrieve sent mail” button. How many times have you sent an email to a professor or to a club’s listerv only to panic over the possibility of a typo? Plenty of times. How many times has that typo actually been there? Not nearly as many. After you’ve been scorned once, the panic never disappears. Even when sending the most innocuous of emails (did I really just spell my professor’s name wrong?)
3. The ability to deal with any and all types of weather
Williamsburg: Where you can experience all four seasons in one week. Is it 70 and sunny today? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch – it could snow the day after tomorrow. Is there a 30 percent chance of rain in the afternoon? Chances are there will be a complete downpour between 2 and 3 p.m., so you should probably wear your rain boots and carry your umbrella in your backpack. After living in Williamsburg, no erratic weather can faze you.
4. The “y’all” in our speech
William and Mary is the least southern “Southern college” below the Mason-Dixon line. Most of us come from the Northern Virginia area or New Jersey or New York. Hence, it’s no surprise that southern culture does not reign.
But, despite all this, many of us have picked up a “y’all” or two in our casual, everyday dialect. Don’t deny it. Y’all do it, too.
5. The habit of crossing the street without looking both ways
Coming home from school my freshman year, I had some crazy stories to tell – and they were all about the traffic patterns in Williamsburg.
“Its unbelievable!” I told my friends, “You don’t even have to look, and the cars stop for you!”
Maybe it’s that polite southern attitude, or maybe it’s just the slower pace of life that accompanies small town living, but people here are just extra nice. This serves us well while in Williamsburg, but not so well when visiting another town. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost been hit by a car while crossing the street back in Washington, D.C. Williamsburg habits die hard. But, in the name of safety, it’s best we abandon this habit as quickly as possible.
6. The lowest of standards for a bar scene
Because nothing says a raging night out like a pitcher of cheap beer and sitting around a table with friends! Let’s be honest, this is what most college students call “Monday.” The lack of atmosphere and dance floors create a bar scene that leaves something to be desired. Any other town or bar scene is wild by comparison.
As a visiting friend once said, “Wow, you guys drink in sandwich shops here.” Yes, yes we do.
7. The over-trusting nature
One day, you will be sitting in a coffee shop in your new city and you will have to pee. After four years of William and Mary life, you will inevitably assume that it is completely safe to abandon your table for two minutes to use the restroom facilities. Or maybe you will be riding the bus to work with your bag unzipped. Again, you’ll assume that this is no big deal.
Not everyone out there has taken the honor pledge, and sadly, we can’t trust everyone either. This is a harsh reality we will all eventually face.
8. The true words of Anna B. Martin and Tom Brokaw
We will always remember, “It will do us little good … to wire the world, if we short-circuit our souls.”
Ariel Cohen is a Confusion Corner Columnist and will be right back with her fifth cup of Aroma’s coffee.