The weekend before my spring break was chaotic. I spent my Friday and Saturday volunteering at the International Relations Club’s annual Model United Nations conference for middle school students and served as a rapporteur for a regional committee. I had a great time working with the conference’s delegates and was thoroughly impressed with their decorum and demeanor.
However, while staffing the three-day event was enjoyable and informative, I was disastrously stressed by Saturday night. The weekend was certainly a success on a professional front — as I had obtained enriching experience staffing a collegiate conference — but at the same time, the weekend’s frustrating lack of productivity with regard to homework and midterm studying significantly boosted my stress levels.
Like a typical student at the College of William and Mary, I had bitten off more than I could chew. As I looked over the various problem sets, readings and assignments to complete by Monday morning, the price of my lapse in judgment seemed increasingly evident.
Also like a typical William and Mary student, I became angsty and resilient, refusing to acknowledge my defeat; Saturday afternoon, I decided to lock myself in my bedroom and be ferociously productive. I feverishly cranked through my economics homework, completed my multivariable calculus problems and annotated my readings for Comparative Politics (while downing a few cups of coffee in the process).
When I was done, I figured that a weekend of volunteering, as well as my afternoon of intense and exhaustive productive effort, made me eligible to enjoy my Saturday night.
So I went out with my friends and decided to blow off some steam, which I thought was the perfect way to conclude my busy and boisterous weekend. I had a great time, especially since it was the last weekend I’d enjoy with my beloved pals before we all returned home for spring break. It unquestionably made the stress of the preceding two days worthwhile, and when I returned to my dorm room in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, I felt confident that I could conquer the week’s upcoming deadlines with aplomb.
When I woke up the next morning, something felt off. Indeed, something was off — namely, my glasses. The tortoise shell frames that usually adorn my face were nowhere to be found, leaving me slightly blind and intensely confused. I checked my phone’s camera roll to see if I was wearing them in the dorky pictures I’d taken the night before. Sure enough, my admittedly dirty (but undeniably present) glasses were on my face in every single photo.
I tore through my drawers and emptied my desk, only to discover a measly 34 cents and a spare cardigan button (quite disappointing finds!).
I soon dreaded the loss of my favorite frames since I felt my glasses had become such a vital part of my personal motif; without them to push angrily up my nose, how could I indicate my frustration to slow walkers and frustrating passersby? An Ethan without his glasses was an Ethan deprived of his habits and of his very identity.
Hyperboles aside, I was fairly upset when I turned to William and Mary’s Lost and Found page on Facebook as a last-ditch effort Sunday night. As I scrolled through the countless images of misplaced keys and Tribe cards, it increasingly seemed that my search would prove futile.
But then, in a flash of unparalleled relief, I saw them — someone had posted a picture of my prescription Warby Parkers on the Sunken Garden with the comment that they’d drop them off to their owner at his or her convenience.
I quickly messaged the post’s author and agreed to pick up my glasses the following morning. Within 12 hours, I had the wondrousness of sight returned to me, but even more importantly, I felt a deepened appreciation for the warmth and compassion of my campus community. It is extraordinarily meaningful that students at the College are willing to sacrifice their time to preserve the property of their fellow members of the Tribe.
Because there is a less cohesive sense of community at larger schools, I sincerely doubt students at bigger universities feel compelled to improve the lives of their peers as students at William and Mary do. These simple acts of kindness make me cherish my college, and I’d bet that anyone else who has been saved by a benevolent stranger on the Lost and Found page feels the same.
Email Ethan Brown at email@example.com.