Laugh the Hardest.

When you were coming in as a freshman what were your expectations for the next 4 years?

So I actually didn’t want to come to William and Mary originally because I grew up here. I wanted to go to NYU and be a city girl. I had this weird idea that William and Mary was really preppy and really nerdy and there were people here that are aggressively competitive. And I found that that wasn’t the case really early on. Everyone is very supportive and quirky and cool, so it was really different than what I expected. Also a lot more fun than I expected.

What are you feeling now as you get really close to graduation and is that different than how you expected to feel?

I think I am still in denial. I don’t think I’ve hit a point where I feel like I’m about to graduate yet. But I also feel like everything I do is the last time I’m going to be doing it. I just took a picture on my Snapchat saying I’m going to miss the Sunken Gardens; that’s really corny but there’s just a weird sense that this chapter is about to end and nothing will be the same. Even if I come back, it won’t be the same as it was as an undergrad. I’m very sentimental but I’m not really sad about it – I’m kind of ready to go. I feel like leaving on a high note is always good.

Looking back are you surprised about where you are now…going into the future, would anything have surprised you if you had told your freshman self about you now?

I don’t think I imagined finding my best friends in life. I had a really close group of friends in high school, but I found such an incredible community here that is really amazing and something that I’d be surprised by when I was 17 coming in. I think academically and career-wise, I wanted to do journalism when I was coming in here, and I’ve taken a completely different path.

What do you hope W&M is like if you come back in the future?

I hope to see a greater range of people coming to the College. I think there was a lack of diversity in a lot of important spaces on campus. I’m looking at you B school. Seeing greater diversity in all aspects being welcomed at the College would be really important for when I come back.

If you could do all 4 years again, would you do something differently?

I think I would be more confident in myself, especially at the beginning of my college career. I was really insecure about everything about myself. So I definitely wouldn’t care what people thought of me and would definitely be more open with people. I’ve had great friends so being more vulnerable with the people around me would’ve been something that really would’ve helped me in college.

What do you think is the biggest way you’ve changed or grown as a person?

I think it kind of goes along with that. Learning how to be vulnerable and learning how to be open with other people about my needs and experiences have been the most important way that I’ve grown in college. I feel like I’ve always internalized a lot of my experiences. It’s just part of my personality and part of my life that I wouldn’t openly express my emotions in situations or ask for help easily, which would make me seem really reserved and stoic. Since I’ve come here, the learning I’ve done regarding how to be emotionally open with other people has been the most important. When you’re able to express yourself in healthy ways, people find it easier to be vulnerable with you. This is something I’ve never been good at in the past, but I’m growing now to understand that letting your guard down is necessary.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Asking for help. My dad is always like: “You need to learn how to ask for help.” So I’ve learned how to reach out and having people tell me it’s okay to ask for help.

If you could give advice to freshmen, would it be along those lines?

Mhm, use your resources. And I think we do have great resources here but they’re not super well-known. And also find something to be very passionate about whether that’s activism or joining a club. You should put yourself in the community and fight for what you believe in.

What advice would you give someone that wants to get involved but doesn’t know where to start?

I would just join everything. That’s what I did. Freshman year I just came in and joined way too much. Then I just narrowed it down to communities I felt really welcome in like Humans – I’ve been here since freshman year. So I just found places I felt really comfortable. Not everything you do is going to be for you. But just putting yourself out there is the most important thing.

What are some of the small moments here that you think you may have taken for granted?

I think being within walking distance with your friends – I took that for granted. Being around your friends and being around people who are like you and finding spaces where you feel welcomed is something that I definitely took for granted. As well as being intellectually active. I feel like this was a good opportunity to explore things. Like going to class…I took that for granted.

What do you see in the world that needs changing and how do you think you can make a difference?

I’ve always been a big believer in that being kind or respectful to the people around you is the most important thing. So I think if everyone can just do that, that makes the biggest difference. And also what I said before, finding things that you’re passionate about and getting really involved in them.

When’s the last time you laughed really hard?

I laugh every day. I have a really annoying laugh. People tell me my laugh is high key aggressive. More like a cackle. But who cares? I always laugh the hardest around my best friends; they make me feel the most like myself.

What would your friends say is your best quality as a friend?

I think I have a sense of humor about everything. I don’t really take things too seriously and I feel like my friends appreciate that.  I like to listen to people, and I try not to project my feelings onto other people. Who knows if I’m successful.

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