Defining History

Why do you think it’s important that we continue to study history and to celebrate William & Mary’s birthday each year?

When you study history, it makes you more aware of how we got to be in the position we are today because of what happened in the past that brought William & Mary to its current state. I also think that it’s really important to recognize issues in the past. William & Mary has certainly not done everything right in the past – the school used to own slaves and was active in enforcing segregationist ideals. But I think that being aware of that, which you can only really be if you actively study history and continue to look back into the school’s history, helps ensure that similar mistakes aren’t made in the future. Studying history also allows us to be aware of the privilege that we have to be at William & Mary right now. In terms of celebrating Charter Day, it is pretty cool that this school is so old and that it’s managed to continue on to this day.


As we reflect on Charter Day and the history of William & Mary, we want you to reflect on your own history. What do you take with you and what do you leave behind?

The first thing that comes to my mind as being something I have left behind is dependence on other people like my parents. But then I was thinking about it more, and I actually think that dependence is something that I take with me in my present-day life, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I came to college and realized that I obviously do need to have more independence because my parents aren’t always here. But I think I brought with me the knowledge that they are still a part of my life – they’re just a phone call away. It’s okay to still need them and to need other people’s support and advice. I think it’s a wonderful thing to let other people help you when you need it.


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