On TWAMPs: A vocabulary lesson

Dear freshmen,

Let me introduce you to a loaded little acronym that will inevitably follow you during your college career — perhaps even for the rest of your life:

“TWAMP (n.) Typical William and Mary Person. Used to describe the awkward, bookish, ugly nerds that infest the College of William and Mary.” —Urban Dictionary

You will use the acronym often. A club leader can be TWAMPy, an event can be TWAMPtastic, and yes, U.Va kids who do not understand will use the word against you, as if being a TWAMP means you are socially inept.

Whether you choose to be the optimist or the pessimist, today is your first official day as a true TWAMP. Congratulations.

Is there really anything so “typical” about the William and Mary experience? You are about to embark on the four best (and worst) years of your life, years where you will learn the most, change the most, love the most and question the most.

According to statistics, 40 percent of TWAMPs will spend significant time overseas, 17 percent will make honor roll, 33 percent will join a Greek organization and 98 percent will have bragging rights to say they walked back through the Wren Building on graduation day.

Along the way, you will sign up for tens of organizations at the clubs fair, half of which you’ll never attend. You will take classes you never planned on taking and create lifelong friendships with fellow “typical” William and Mary people who are so different from you, you may learn more from them than any textbook.  You will share experiences that shape you. Late nights and early mornings that will challenge you. You’ll be changed forever.

Right now it’s so new — a beautiful, clean, blank slate.  And trust me, things aren’t going to turn out the way you planned or expected. Thrive on this opportunity. Which kind of TWAMP do you want to be? Beginning today, you get to choose your own adventure.

But what amongst all this uniqueness binds us together and creates this feeling of a “Typical” WAMP, you ask?

Recognized by many yet fully understood by few, there is no commitment quite like the Tribe. At the intersection of wacky colonial culture and cutting edge academia, we find our place in a tradition we learned to call home. A tradition that you now call home, too.

There is no other place where you see colonial re-enactors riding segways on parents’ weekend. No other place with professors who care so much about their students and their research. No other place where you bond with your freshman hall mates by going on ghost tours and staying up all night afraid that Lady Skipwith haunts your dorm. It’s the intersection of history and the future, and you get to call it home. Congratulations!

So, no matter what unique adventures you decide to embark on in these next four years, remember you are now apart of something bigger. From here on, whether you like it or not, you’re a total TWAMP.

Welcome home. Big adventures await you. Choose wisely.

Here’s to a TWAMPtastic year.

Ariel Cohen is a Confusion Corner columnist and still checks under her bed for Lady Skipwith. 


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