Branching Out, Looking Forward: Meg Jones ’22 reflects on her time at the College, prepares for post-graduation

COURTESY PHOTO / MEG JONES Jones is a sociology and government double major and a social justice policy initiative fellow.

As Meg Jones ’22 begins her last year at the College of William and Mary, she reflects on the meaningful moments that have shaped her past three years. Jones, who is double-majoring in government and sociology with a concentration in social problems, policy and justice, made sure to take advantage of as many personal and professional development opportunities as she could. From being an Orientation aide to conducting research in the sociology department, Jones has dipped her toes in a number of the countless opportunities that the College has to offer. 

Among her various involvements at the College, Jones described her role as development coordinator for Branch Out Alternative Breaks as her most meaningful. Originally joining the program to participate in community outreach, the experience also reshaped her understanding of social justice. Now, Jones is responsible for organizing partnerships with students and service opportunities. 

“Alternative Breaks happen every fall, winter and spring break and build upon long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships with local organizations to teach participants about a social justice issue and how community members are impacted,” Jones wrote in an email. “…I’m now the Development Coordinator for the organization and am motivated by my desire to teach other students about intentional and informed community partnership and to continually improve our program’s accessibility, anti-racist practices, and solidarity work.”

Along with this position, Jones has also been a resident assistant, Orientation aide, a member of the Students’ Rights Initiative with the Student Assembly and a Social Justice Policy Initiative Fellow with the Sociology Department. In her position as a fellow, Jones assists with research focusing on attaining an accurate history of Black residents in Williamsburg.

“I’m motivated by our work’s importance to the local community and unwriting of dominant, white-washed narratives, as we research local Black history and the many instances of displacement and disenfranchisement the Black community here has been forced to overcome,” Jones said. 

Through all of her experiences, Jones emphasized that the most important component of her success has been the community she formed. She attributes the positive environment that she found to the constant support she feels from everyone at the College.

“I think what will stick out to me forever about this place is the wonderful, wonderful people here,” Jones said. “I can’t even pick out one particular experience, but at some point during my time here, everything just seemed to click. The people around me, from professors to friends to building services staff, genuinely wanted me to succeed and cared about my well-being in addition to that of those around me. I think that warmth has been so meaningful to me in too many instances to count.” 

“I think what will stick out to me forever about this place is the wonderful, wonderful people here,” Jones said. “I can’t even pick out one particular experience, but at some point during my time here, everything just seemed to click. The people around me, from professors to friends to building services staff, genuinely wanted me to succeed and cared about my well-being in addition to that of those around me. I think that warmth has been so meaningful to me in too many instances to count.” 

With regard to her academic pursuits, Jones is working toward fulfilling majors in sociology and government. She has a particular interest in inequities across education, housing and criminal justice that are based on racial and socioeconomic status. In terms of career aspirations, Jones is considering everything from pursuing a doctorate in sociology to working as a legal aid for groups that work to empower people to defend themselves in civil courts. Whatever path she follows, it is clear that Jones will be an active member in her future community. 

“I’ve already decided to take at least a year to breathe and recuperate, as I’ve never really let myself stop and pick my head up,” Jones wrote. “…I want to give myself this time before heading back into schooling because I want to be completely sure — I’m big into gut feelings and internal clarity, and I’m really lacking it going into graduation. I’m trying to give myself some grace through this time ‘off’ and really figure out where and what and who I want to be.”

Outside of her extracurricular and academic interests, Jones has a number of hobbies and passions that form part of her identity.

“I really love playing and watching soccer, especially women’s soccer — go Thorns,” Jones wrote. “I also enjoy running, singing and playing piano, melodramatically listening to Lorde on repeat, and vegan cooking and baking. I’ve become a mean cross-stitcher over quarantine, and I’m also trying to become somewhat knowledgeable about ‘cinema.’ And, of course, I am very passionate about Halloween and am already planning my costume for this year.”

Throughout her time at the College, Jones has used a specific mindset to help motivate and encourage herself to do more. She described her positive mindset as a critical part of her success.

“Truly a huge question, but I think I consistently try to center community in what I do, so I’d say I’m most motivated by the fact that a better world is possible if only we choose to work together, build upon one another’s strengths, and center justice and kindness over all else,” Jones wrote.

“Truly a huge question, but I think I consistently try to center community in what I do, so I’d say I’m most motivated by the fact that a better world is possible if only we choose to work together, build upon one another’s strengths, and center justice and kindness over all else,” Jones wrote.

Despite the immensely positive experiences Jones has had during her time at the College, she wasn’t without times of confusion and doubt. She described how the highs and lows she’s had helped shape who she has become. 

“I think I just want to note that my W&M experience was by no means perfect,” Jones wrote. “In fact, I almost transferred my freshman year. … I struggled a lot with my mental health, especially during COVID. And don’t even get me started on some particular decisions made by W&M admin over my four years. But I want to remind everyone that there are support systems out there for you, and seeking them out and asking for help are signs of strength! We are all meaningful parts of this campus, and we all deserve to feel and help others feel like we all belong here. I hope that all reading this know that they are deserving of support and belonging, too.”