Beyond the walls of the College: Keeping in touch with the outside world

Colleges in general usually support a contained community that is somewhat withdrawn from reality, but the College of William and Mary takes the concept of a “different world” to a whole new level — and we have Colonial Williamsburg to thank for that. Don’t get me wrong — I love CW. Nothing’s better than piping hot apple cider on a crisp fall afternoon (especially when it’s free) and a moonlit stroll down Duke of Gloucester Street is a great way to cure midterm blues. But the horse-drawn carriages and buckled shoes don’t help alleviate a problem that plagues a lot of students: staying in touch with the outside world.

It’s dangerously easy to get lost in the Land of Green and Gold. Homework, classes, parties, late-night Wawa runs — that’s our world, and as great as it is, we have to look beyond the brick walls that surround Old Campus. For many of us, college is the last stop before we plunge headfirst into the real world. That’s why it’s more important than ever to pay attention to current events, no matter what our career goals.

Here are some ways to stay informed:

• Clubs and Activities: Whether religious, political, environmental, etc., certain clubs will keep you in the know when it comes to national and global issues. Young Democrats and College Republicans come to mind.

• Study Abroad: What better way to stay in touch with the world than to actually explore it? For information about the College’s extensive programs, pay a visit to the Wendy and Emery Reves Center for International Studies.

• Guest Speakers: Every so often, a public figure comes to campus to discuss an issue that affects the world today. You’ve probably already heard the news, but His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama will be speaking October 10.

• Cohen Career Center: The College’s career center often hosts visitors who speak about certain industries. These special seminars are a good way to stay updated on news pertaining to your desired field.

• Campus Publications: The Flat Hat, The DoG Street Journal and The Virginia Informer are just a few names of the many campus publications that report campus happenings, as well as news that pertains to the rest of the world. Even if you don’t have time to read front-to-back, a quick glance over the headlines should help fill you in.

Then, of course, there’s word-of-mouth. Students at the College are not the type to stick their heads in the sand, so by simply surrounding yourself with your wonderful peers you’re bound to get sucked into a discussion that extends beyond campus. Thanks to this and other sources of information, we’re up to date on current events — even if a few blocks away, they’re still shouting about the surrender at Yorktown.

Old news, CW.

Email Samantha Farkas at


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