Ryan: Trail Steps

I have the most memories of my college career passing through those steps. It’s the spot where campus becomes home, or home becomes campus. I’ve always lived on the Randolph-Botetourt side of campus. I’ve spent the last four years of my life in this hundred square yard stretch of dorm housing. I’ve come by here a lot whether it’s leaving to go out and do something fun, or going to Swem to leave all my friends behind and lock myself on the 3rd floor. Or coming the other way, when I cross that last step and it’s like, “Oh man, I’m out of the woods” both physically and mentally. I’m home when I pass that step!
Lots of goofy stuff has happened on that step. I’ve been jumped by a raccoon that came out of the garbage can. Lots of deer. There were two owls that were fighting for territory and they would “hoo” at each other very angrily at each other for nights on end, so my roommate and I ran out and yelled at them. There was once a thunderstorm and it was flooding. I had a small friend who I carried on my back through the storm. She held the umbrella and I held her, so we waded through the water here to get to Swem, of course. I also love walking through here because you can see the first turtles of the season in the spring over on that walkway. I love those campus turtles, man. I’ll never forget, I’ve seen one turtle perched on another’s back, trying to get better sunlight. Or occasionally the rare sight of a turtle perched on a rock, with a duck perched on the turtle.
It’s everything I love about William & Mary. It’s nature, it’s the people, it’s got a lot of symbolic meaning to me. I’ve probably walked through here, back and forth and back and forth, thousands of times over the years. And it represents transition. Once you drop off it, you can go anywhere you want on campus or off campus. Just at this point in my life, I can go anywhere I want and I know one day soon I might pass through that spot for the last time in a very long time, and I want to remember it.

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