Josiah volunteers with ASAP (The Armed Service Arts Partnership). Last weekend, I approached him to share some of his experiences working with the veterans in the Comedy Bootcamp session.
What is ASAP, how did you become involved, and which section do you work with?
I discovered ASAP through its founder and club basketball teammate, Sam Pressler, when he was an undergraduate student at W&M. At this point, ASAP was still the Center for Veterans Engagement. I saw the good that Sam was able to do through personal testimonies and through articles written about the program, so I casually told him one day that if he ever needed help, he could come to me. I didn’t think much of it, but about a year later, he came to me asking if I still wanted to be a part of the program and I was able to begin serving local veterans through Comedy Bootcamp.
What have you learned from working with the veterans?
From being able to spend time with veterans, I have learned veterans are people first before any stigmas or labels society places on them. There is definitely a certain stereotype of what we believe a veteran to be like, but when you are in the same room, laughing at the same things, making fun of each other in the same way, and being able to share stories with each other, those stigmas melt away. Labeling someone a veteran doesn’t encompass the entire essence of a person, and their service doesn’t define their entire being. They are regular people yes, with different backgrounds and experiences, but who also appreciate and provide humor the same way as you and me.
What has been your favorite memory of Comedy Bootcamp?
My favorite memory of Comedy Bootcamp was the graduation show this past semester. To be able to witness how far the students had come in their confidence and humor was a delight to see. The encouragement and camaraderie in the environment were incredible, and I was able to experience firsthand the impact this program has in bringing people together under the commonalities of laughter and humor. I remember a student that I was able to speak in the second class that was incredibly nervous when sharing jokes in front of the class and his material flopped pretty hard the first times he spoke. To see him confidently stand up in front of a sold-out crowd and for me to realize that everybody in the room was laughing uproariously was a powerful moment in my life.
Why did you come to William & Mary?
I came to William & Mary for the beautiful environment, the open atmosphere, and the small school size. Not knowing what I wanted to study, I felt that a liberal-arts school would be an ideal way to find the passion that I wished to pursue. Being a part of a campus with people so intelligent and who are smarter than me pushes me every day, and that challenge is something I knew I needed for college.
When was the time you felt most accepted here at the College?
The time I felt most accepted here at W&M was during our rehearsal for our Graduation Show last semester. A week before the actual grad show, we invite students to attend a free rehearsal so the comedians can try their material in front of fresh faces. I invited a couple of my friends, not really expecting them to come. However, as the show started I saw them all filter in and laugh along with everyone else at the jokes the comedians told. It was a great feeling to be supported by those around you, even if they aren’t the biggest fans of comedy. To have people willing to take time out of their day to support you is a great encouragement and made me feel very accepted here at the College.