Persistence

So what are you into here?

I do PSP — Phi Sigma Phi — and I’m also involved in the Association for Computing Machinery. I’m the Hackathon Chair.

Oh, okay! You guys just won something, right?

Yeah, one of our teams won Dominion Hacks, which is a company in Norfolk, and we are getting ready to do our own pretty soon. You may have seen our stuff left around campus. Posters and whatnot.

Okay, yeah. That’s so cool. What got you interested in that?

I was Webmaster last year and then I volunteered with the Hackathon and just … I’m not that into, like, actually doing that stuff, but being able to put on an event like that that helps people sit down and be creative and meet employers and meet other students is just really, really cool.

So do you do it at all, or are you just kind of like the glue to everything?

I’ve played around with stuff a little bit, but never actually made anything. I just like the planning and taking care of logistics because that’s something that a lot of people don’t like to do.

Well, we need more people like you in the world then to do that. No, that’s really cool. Especially if you can have fun with something that people don’t find fun. Then that’s awesome, like, “I’ll take that role.” Yeah, no, that’s neat.

It’s great. There’s so little competition. We’re actually trying to find my successor now and it’s like, “Please take my job! I can’t do it anymore.”

That’s so funny. Oh my gosh, is this a tour group or is this like a … it’s a huge tour group. Oh goodness.

It’s so fun to watch them all going through campus. Like, I’m never going to know some of these people, but …

Yeah, I know. Like which one of you actually wants to be here? They always look so sad. When I got here, I was like, “Mom, look at this!” And I don’t know if that was the same for you, but …

Yeah, I loved it. I came here in the summer, though, and it was so hot. Like it was miserable.

Well if you were able to make it through that and love it, then I think this is the perfect place for you.

Yeah, I’m from Virginia Beach, so I never minded it as much as some people do. You get people from the north and they’re like, “Why is it so hot all the time?”

Yeah, I’m from the north. Like, I’m dying right now. I wish I could wear shorts right now and have it be kind of acceptable.  Okay, so where are you at right now in your senior mindset?

I don’t know, I’m just kind of laid back at this point, honestly. Like I should be making the last final charge for homework and classes and stuff, but I have a job, I have my TribeHacks mostly figured out … I’m just kind of sitting back and watching it all happen now, you know?

Have you been able to do that in the past years or is this a totally new feeling for you?

It’s sort of new. I’ve been always very heads down, get the work done, get everything out of the way. And then once it’s done, sit back. But, now it’s just kind of like, these are my final days, so gotta enjoy it.

Is there anything like … I know sometimes people are like, “I have to do this before I graduate,” or whatever. Is there anything that you’re trying to do?

I don’t know. Nothing specific. Just, like, hang out with people mostly. I’ve sort of adopted this mindset of like, even if I have work I’ll always say yes to hanging out with people instead.

That’s awesome.

Just to, like, make the most of … like you can always go back and learn something or, I don’t know, like, sit alone in your room for whatever reason, but there’s a lot of people here that I may never get to see again.

I’m starting to learn that. So that’s awesome you are able to …

It’s a lesson I wish I had learned earlier.

I guess better late than never.

Yeah.

Okay, yeah. Deeper question, if you’re okay with it. Like, what is something you’ve been proud of? Either over … it can be like you’re whole life or reflecting on the last four years here … I’m assuming you’re a senior that has spent four years here.

Yeah, that’s definitely a deeper question. I guess, I don’t know, it’s kind of vague, but I’m very proud of my persistence.

Okay.

I’m in a field where there’s a lot of people that just come with natural talent, or whatever, and I started totally from scratch. Did not touch CompSci until my freshman year. And like, that’s sort of [like] a lot of things in my life. Just things don’t come naturally to me very easily. I just have to try a lot, so I’m proud that I’ve persisted in my field, persisted in getting out there and getting to know people, persisted in being a part of ACM and, yeah.

Yeah, no, that’s beautiful. That’s really cool. Like, so was there a point in time where you didn’t persist? And you saw how persistence helped you? Or was it, you knew it was always the right thing.

It’s just … I don’t think I ever totally stopped, but I feel like everyone has those moments where you’re alone with yourself and you’re not getting the positive feedback that you need and so you’re just like, what is the point, like, am I going to get anywhere. How do I keep going? And it’s very hard to fight through that. And honestly, sometimes I don’t know what kept me going.

But it did. And that’s cool. And I guess that’s will be very helpful as you on in life.

Yeah, I guess that particularly in the last two or so years, my mantra has just been, like, wake up in the morning and, I don’t know, scream, I guess. Like, no matter how bad it gets, keep going. Keep fighting against everything life throws at you.

That’s awesome. Has there ever been a point … for me personally, when I keep on screaming and it’s not going anywhere, I just become silent in that type of metaphorical sense. Like, has there been those moments where you just didn’t [scream]?

Yeah, freshman year was super tough for me. I didn’t click with my freshman hall. I had no idea where I would be in four years. If I would have a career path, or if I would have friends. And I just, like, I don’t know, I think I had even considered changing majors or like transferring out, but I just stuck with it for some reason. And then, it got better.

Yeah, I know a lot of people I am surrounded by are questioning their decisions on coming here or what they are doing in general. The it gets better part is nice, and I know it’s different for everybody, but …

Yeah, there are some people where actually, like, making that change does work really well, but I feel like if you feel strongly connected enough to something, if you keep going you can eventually make your place.

That’s awesome. I love all the musical people that come over here and serenade the Sunken Gardens.

Yeah, it’s always so cool. I had some guy on the terrace once, like ask if he could sit next to me on the grass and play his guitar. And like, yes please!

Yeah, like stay here forever. Like come follow me around campus and play!

Yeah, I don’t know, that was just a question I had in mind for no particular person, but I’m glad I was able to ask it to you. Okay, other random question: What’s a very, like, “you” thing? Like what’s something that defines you in a way that’s either goofy, weird, or just like …

Um, I don’t know. It’s like one of those, “what is your essence” questions, I guess. What defines me?

Or just an aspect or something about you that says something about you. That was a really bad way of putting it, but for example, I like love milk and will order it at restaurants no matter whether or not people think it’s weird. And, I’m sorry, I really like milk.

I guess, sort of on that beverage note, for me, it’s coffee. I just have always been in love with the coffee shop vibe and a bunch, for lack of a better term, hipsters sitting around reading, or, like, writing in their journal and sipping a latte. So, yeah, I was interning in San Francisco over the summer and I got very into that coffee shop vibe, and now I have my AeroPress and my Chemex and I make all my fancy coffee and all my friends hate me because I’m pretentious.

It’s okay. It’s you. As long as it makes you happy. That’s so funny. Okay, I’ve never had coffee, ever, which is like, “I’m not going to eat this cookie; I’m not going to get this coffee and get addicted.” So is any place around here okay to get coffee at for you?

No, I love Aromas and The Grind. There are definitely places better in terms of coffee, but the vibe is always great, you know.

That’s funny. How the vibe can change something.

Yeah, one of the first places I visited when I first got into William and Mary was Aromas, so it’s a very tender place in my heart. Also, I lived in Brown, so I basically lived in Aromas.

I like how spaces, like, can, you just go there and you feel at home. And I guess this whole place eventually feels like that, but there’s always those little places.

It’s going to be very strange coming back as an alum with new buildings and stuff.

Yeah, I’m hoping it doesn’t look funny. Like, I don’t know. I don’t even know what they are developing near Sadler, or whatever, but that land area and then like …

Oh, yeah the new health center. That’s going to be interesting. I know a lot of people who were sad about the lodges. I’m sure it was a very good place for a lot of people, but I had a group of friends that lived there in their final years, and like, they were like, it’s kind of trashy.

Yeah, that makes sense. I live in Botetourt …

You poor soul.

Yeah, I’m done with cockroaches. I never need to see one ever again.

So do you live off campus now?

I’ve lived off campus junior year and kind of missed the ability to have late-night hangouts, and like, you know that kind of stuff. So I’m in HoHouse this year, which is nice minus all the fire alarms. It has a private bathroom, though, so can’t complain.

True! Except you have to clean it yourself, which I guess isn’t that bad, but …

Yeah, if it’s just you … I have a single, so knowing it’s my own mess makes it easier to clean.

Yeah, that’s true.

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