If you wonder whether you made the right college decision, know that there are many others struggling with that same question. I doubted my college decision. In the weeks leading up to move-in day, I became increasingly pessimistic. I convinced myself that my rooming situation was going to be horrible, registration would be stressful, orientation would be awful, and I wouldn’t make any friends. During the first few weeks, I made friends, successfully completed a stressful registration period, withstood orientation and adjusted to living with a roommate. Things started going right, but it wasn’t perfect: I was overwhelmed by the onslaught of newness.
It’s normal to have fears, and it’s normal to have trouble adjusting. But slowly, you will start to see a change. I did. Still, I would be hard-pressed to say that I’m “in love” with William and Mary. Yes, I like it. Yes, I think this is the place for me. But nevertheless, this school was never and will never be a peerless deity in my mind.
You don’t have to fall head-over-heels for your school, now or ever, to realize that it’s the place for you. Maybe it isn’t love at first sight with you and William and Mary. But if you decide to stay here, and if you decide that William and Mary is the place for you, you have to make a daily commitment to your relationship with this school. It can take a lot of effort, but your time at the College will be over before you know it; you might as well make the most of it.
When you made your initial decision, you made an initial commitment to William and Mary. Think about the reasons behind that choice: academic strength, in-state tuition (if you’re from Virginia), a vibrant student body, small size, access to professors and research opportunities, location. Remember those reasons in your first few weeks. If the reasons for which you chose William and Mary start to manifest themselves, you’re probably at the right place, immediate love or not.
I chose William and Mary for its size, academic strength and opportunity, and close-knit sense of community. During my first few weeks, I saw both vague hints and overwhelming confirmations that the things for which I chose William and Mary were indeed present at this place. Do not let anxiety and negativity be blinders; look past your initial hard feelings to see if you can find the things that made you want to attend the College in the first place.
Once you commit to making things work with William and Mary, find a niche. You don’t have to overtly identify with a specific organization — be it a sorority, sports team, club, academic department, friend group or volunteer program — to find your place, but it’s a good idea to branch out of your comfort zone. Talk to your professors and fellow students, but not just about where you’re from and what you’re studying. Try new things, but also cultivate the ability to quit. Being too committed can inadvertently hurt your view of the College.
I never fell in love, in the clichéd sense of the phrase, with William and Mary. However, I made a commitment to this school, and in the end, that’s the best kind of love.
Email Devin Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org.