College tours during winter months create different, meaningful presentation of campus, add value

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At the moment, it seems like you can’t go anywhere at the College of William and Mary without running into a college tour.

There always seems to be someone walking backwards and talking to a group of prospective students and their parents about the College’s history, the school’s clubs or the COLL curriculum.

These tours can sometimes be inconvenient to current students, especially if we are on our way to classes or are trying to study at one of the tour stops. Why are there so many tours happening right now? Is February even a good time to be showing off our campus?  I’ve thought a lot about these questions recently as I’ve encountered more and more tours and as I had my family visit me at the College for the first time.

I was excited to show them my new home, but again, I wondered if this was the right time of year to be visiting. To me, it seemed like every season in Williamsburg but winter came with its own beauty.

I myself visited for the first time in spring, and afterwards, I always remembered the College the way I saw it then: full of life with its chirping birds, budding leaves and blooming flowers.

In summer, life blossoms beyond plants and animals, and is carried through laughter and voices calling out to one another on the Sunken Garden. Finally, with fall comes the deep reds and oranges that complement the Crim Dell and mark change as students begin a new school year.

What does winter, especially after the holidays and winter break, have to offer?

As I was showing my family around campus on a Saturday morning, it became clear that I was wrong to so quickly make these assumptions.

Though the February weather was cold, the sky was a clear blue and the sun shone its crisp light through all of the treetops.

Walking in front of the Sir Christopher Wren Building, we had our knit scarves, warm coffees and the view of the great green expanse of the Sunken Garden.

Touring in February gives people a unique perspective of the campus they would not normally see otherwise — it is not the campus that is shown in videos or experienced at the Day for Admitted Students.

Instead, the February campus warmly welcomes with its quiet poetry, as if slowly waking up again after a long, refreshing winter slumber.

It’s a campus that inspires contemplation and reflection, but it’s a campus that only those who look for it get to see.

Seeing all of the tours around campus forces us as students to see the College through the eyes of the visiting  prospective students.

It reminds us of when we were in their shoes, and it reminds us of why we came to this university in the first place.

It’s important not to lose sight of that initial inspiration, but it’s also important that we are able to see the school in a different light.

As I was showing my family around, I knew they were falling in love with the school, and to my surprise, I too was falling in love all over again.

Email Anhthu Cung at

atcung@email.wm.edu.