Fencing & Friendships

Are you in a class right now?

Yeah! I’m in the Intro to 3D Design. It’s been pretty interesting, there’s some things where I’m really not sure what to do with the instructions given, but that’s any class.

What drew you to taking this class?

I needed to fill my schedule!

Where you interested in art, or was this a last resort?

I mean, I like looking at art, but I’m not particularly great at making it. 3D art, where you get to play with clay and cardboard was a lot better than 2D art, where you actually have to have an understanding of depth and how to draw a straight line, which, you know, I can’t.

Were you surprised at all at what you’re able to do?

Well, kind of the way he’s been doing it this year, is he gives us 15 minutes in class to explore one concept. Then later, we come back and improve upon whatever we made, but most people just ditch whatever they cobbled together with cardboard and hot glue in desperation and make something actually nice-looking, which is more than I can say.

Did you expect to be working with those kinds of materials?

My roommate took the class last semester, so as much as I was paying attention to what she was doing, and as much as we were in the same room at the same time, I kind of had an idea of what I was coming face-first into.

So you’re not as interested in art as one might presume a person taking an art class would be, but what are you interested in on campus or what have you gotten yourself involved in?

Well I’m a Psychology major, and I’m on the fencing team. It’s a lot of fun and there are a lot of crazy people. For some reason, there seems to be a certain sort of crazy that tends to be attracted to hitting each other with bits of pointy metal.

Did you do fencing before William & Mary?

Nope, I came freshman year with no idea which end to hold the sword from, they have basically been teaching me for the past four years and it’s really cool. There have been a handful of tournaments we get to go to every semester and it’s a lot of fun.

How do you feel about fencing, do you feel differently than when you had first started?

Definitely feels a lot less painful, because there are muscles that you don’t use in everyday life. Honestly, it’s a lot of fun and something I gradually built up confidence at.

Was anyone surprised that you took up fencing here?

Given my propensity towards whacking anybody with anything vaguely tube shaped when I was a child, I don’t think my family was particularly surprised. I think this was more seen as a “finally, she has an outlet.”

So what year are you?

A senior, which is a bit of a scary thought. Wow, it happened fast.

Do you have a bucket list of things you would want to do?

Not particularly, I’m kind of just hoping to take advantage of whatever opportunities show up. I’m not going to go out looking for 5,000 extra things to do when I’ve got three essays already due. Not to say that I still won’t procrastinate.

What has been something about the campus or the people that have been instrumental in the way you’ve taken on these past years?

Definitely the fencing team, when I came to William & Mary freshman year, I didn’t know anyone and was anxious with no friends. And then the fencing team was like “Hello! We’ll be your entire social life” and I was like “Okay!” So now I can’t get rid of these people… But it’s a lot of fun and they are always entertaining.

Did you have the opportunity to welcome the new freshmen into that too?

Yeah, I’m still kind of hoping that I can be the same kind of upperclassman to somebody as I had coming in. Lots of love and thanks to the people who’ve helped me through freshman year, because I did not know what I was doing.

Do you feel like you know what you’re doing now?

Well, I know where all the buildings are! At this point, I tend to forget that you need to budget out 20 minutes to get from one end of campus, because it’s just like ‘Oh, it’s just over there by the Rec…’ and then I realize I have to walk all the way to the Rec.

Are you going to continue on with fencing later on, after college?

Probably not, because fencing in college, you just have to pay club dues and you get a ton of college events. I get to go to those without spending thousands of dollars. Once I get to be an adult, then I’d have to find a club near me as I can’t go to a school one anymore. I have to pay for all my tournament fees, for all sorts of new equipment because the requirements for grown-ups are higher than the ones for school tournaments. I can’t get away with the 10 dollar blades anymore. Unfortunately, once you get out of school, fencing is much a rich people’s sport. I’m just enjoying it while I’m here.

What was the initial thing that motivated you to go to fencing?

Well, I was at the Activities Fair as a freshman, and I saw someone walking around with a sword, and I followed them!  

Four Forever Friends

Tell me about the last time you felt really happy; what that felt like, what you were doing, where you were?

Raissa: The last time I was really happy was during spring break, when I went home and saw my family. My dad works out of the country, so we Skyped him, and my little brother is in college, and we were all Skyping, and it was really nice and really fun. Even though he’s not there, we are still able to be altogether, talking, and that was really nice.

Where does your dad work?

R: He works in Solomon Island, so it’s a little island near Australia and New Zealand. It’s a huge time difference so it’s really difficult sometimes.

What’s the time difference?

R: It’s 13 hours.

So sometimes he’s in a different day.

R: It’s usually daytime for him, and then like 10 PM for us, it’s really weird.

Samantha: My grandbig Alexis told me to come over for dinner and she made me chicken pot pie, and it was so cute. She just had to put it in the oven – it was readymade. It was just so comforting, and I felt like I found a home here with her.

Menna: My happiest moment so far was getting to go home for Christmas back to Ethiopia and getting to hang out with my family, and going around the city, and going back to my high school. That was all happy.

Hope: I would say mine, recently, was when I went home for spring break, and I finally got to have good pizza again. I’m from New Jersey, and Sadler pizza just cannot compare, unfortunately. I get the effort that they’re putting in, but New Jersey pizza is just so much better. I got home and immediately, before I even stopped home, we stopped to get pizza.

When did you guys meet? How are you guys friends?

All: Freshman year!

H: We’re (points to Mena) freshman hallmates, and then…

R: I met Sam at a party…and then I integrated myself into the friend group that they already had.

S: They all lived in the Units, but I lived in Botetourt. One of my freshman hallmates went to my high school for a while, and our mutual friends from high school would come over to visit us as well as her childhood best friend, who was Natasha…then Natasha introduced me to Hope, and then Hope introduced me to them…

So freshman year friends, and now you guys are juniors? What do you think kept you guys friends for so long?

S: I think we put in the effort and time to see each other. I was always in Hope and Natasha’s room last year, and this year too, and just having a central place to get together.

H: It’s a lot of linking friendships and relationships. I met Sam through Natasha, and Natasha was our freshman hallmate, and I knew Raissa via Mena, and me and Natasha have been roommates too, so everyone’s kind of central around each other. We just do a lot together, we take a lot of classes together too, we hang out on weekends too.

S: 75% of our classes this semester we have together! It’s crazy!

H: Because we’re all econ majors, except…

R: I’m a government major. It’s okay.

H: We still accept her!

What are some of your favorite things about each other?

R: My favorite thing about Hope is that she’s such a friendly and sweet person, she genuinely likes everyone. I’ve never heard her say a negative thing about anyone. She’s just so welcoming.

H: That’s like Raissa, she’s just a very positive ray of light. Always positive and always happy. And so is Sam. And then Menna, you can always joke around with Menna. Menna’s comments on everything are the funniest thing ever. In class, someone will say something stupid, and Mena will just say something under her breath, and it’s the funniest thing. I would be completely bored and then I just hear Mena’s comment and it makes it a lot better.

S: I think Menna’s really encouraging too. Especially last semester, I was in this accounting class called Strategic Cost Management. We had a lot of group projects and I was in a group of four, and three of them were guys, and I felt so intimidated because they would always take the lead on the projects and what not. We had to do this case competition and I was so frustrated with everything. It was hard and it was late, because you only had 12 hours to do it. And I was texting Menna, I was like “I wanna cry, I wanna leave,” and she was like, “You can do it, you’re in the same school as them, you’re just as competent.” And then I was thinking, “I’m gonna write her a Christmas card.”

H: She’s very pragmatic too.

M: You guys are interesting. I like hearing your stories.

S: And I think Hope is really easy-going too. She’ll go along with me to do whatever, like walk down to CW to get samples from Kilwins, without buying anything. And then Raissa just makes me smile.

What is your advice to being a good friend? What is the most important thing to find within a friend?

R: I think it’s just being there for each other no matter what. I can always count on them if I have a problem, I can text them and be like, “Hey guys, I need your help with something,” and they’ll just come and help me out. So just being there for each other is really important.

M: Yeah, and just checking up on each other. Like I feel like we don’t go more than two days without texting each other, to be honest.

Especially now, that’s important, because it’s so easy to get caught up in your own life, that sometimes you don’t realize you haven’t connected.

H: We talk about the little things to. Like, a day goes by, and if I haven’t heard what happened in their days, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much. If one of us is not here on the weekend, we have a lunch or dinner where we’re just like “Ok, tell me what happened!”

How do you guys feel about this weather? Describe that to me!

R: Oh my god, it’s so nice!

M: I’m getting my color back!

H: It just makes you feel happier. You can have five midterms but like, it’s beautiful, so it doesn’t matter.

S: I feel like time goes by slower when it’s like this outside. It’s just like I’m breathing, and I’m just appreciating it. When it was cold, I appreciate it – I have a really big window in my room, and when the sun comes in, it makes my carpet all warm, and I’ll just sit on my carpet for a while. My roommate questions it all the time. But I’m like, “Lemme just photosynthesize.” But now I can just do it outside.

Our Favorite Things

Tell me about how this day makes you feel.

Kate: It’s been like the best day.

Jack: I actually skipped one of my classes to go sit outside. We just had our test so I felt like I could. We’ve just been sitting on the Terrace together, and between the two of us, we have just seen so many people.

K: We know a lot of people.

J: Everybody is out though. I feel like I haven’t seen this many people out in such a long time.

K: I was having a very anxiety-provoking week, for no reason in particular, but then today has been really nice. And definitely, the weather, the sun makes you feel better.

Describe the last time you felt really happy. Where were you, what were you doing?

K: Today? That doesn’t count though…

J: This is a really hard one. It’s not that there aren’t many days when I’m happy – wait, there was a double-negative in that sentence.

K:  I’m a generally happy person…

J: Yeah, but a day that sticks out is harder for me to think of. I wanna come back to this question.

When was the last time you did something just for yourself?

K: Well today! Like I didn’t do any of my work, because today, I would prefer to hang out with my friends.

How come?

K: Because it makes me happy. I think relationships are more important than most things. But I think that’s a personal value.

What do you think led you to believe that?

K: I don’t know I just feel that people are very important, and probably that’s my upbringing. I’ve never really cared so much about school, like I care a lot, but I feel like I care a lot less than most people here.

J: It’s not that you don’t care, you just have a good balance.

K: I’m more chill with it. And I don’t think getting a B means my failing.

J: I think for me, last Friday, I had taken a test and my week had been packed with all of this other work, so I was decided Friday afternoon would be my time. So I went and got lunch with one of my friends, and we sat in front of the Cheese Shop, and I never go to the Cheese Shop. And we were outside and it was sort of a nice day, and it was good to be outside. And I was walking back through campus to get home and take a nap, and I ran into a different friend, and I ended up talking to her out on the Terrace for an hour and a half. And then I continued to walk home, and she had stuff hanging up in Andrews, her artwork. So I went in alone and just looked at the artwork of the students. It was really cool, because I love seeing student work and I love art, and then I finally made it home, and chilled for the rest of the afternoon.

Are you an artist?

J: I like to paint and stuff. But I don’t take classes here, I only took one. I’m taking an art class next semester though.

Tell me about that art class.

J: I can’t actually sign up for it yet because it’s major restricted, but it’s painting. Because I took a painting class when I was in Argentina last semester, which was really cool. Everything in Argentina is taught differently. It was like we’d just show up for four hours and they’d just be like “Paint!” I would just have to paint for four hours, so I’m really interested to take one here sort of on the same topic, but a little more structured, where I can hone some of my skills.

What made you pick Argentina for study abroad?

I’m a Hispanic Studies major, so I chose Argentina because I’m more interested in Latin America than Spain. But the program was focused on human rights, and that is something I want to focus on post-graduate.

(To Kate) Do you speak any Spanish?

K: I mean I took four years of Spanish in high school, and I went to Costa Rica, but I don’t know if I still can hold a conversation. I was really good at it back then.

Have a conversation in Spanish.

J: Hola. ¿Cómo te va?

K: Doesn’t that mean where did you go?

J: No, like, how are you doing? How’s it going?

K: Muy bien. Estoy bien.

Do you wanna study abroad, Kate?

K: Yeah, but I don’t know what I wanna do. I lowkey declared Econ last week, so now I’m a double major. I don’t know if I’m gonna keep it. But I don’t know if I have time to go for a semester. But I also don’t know if I wanna do next summer. It’s just a lot of moving parts.

If you could go one place in the world, where would it be? Somewhere you’ve never been before.

K: My friend’s dad was telling me about this place in India, where there’s a huge temple.

The Taj Mahal?

K: No, exactly not. That’s kinda the point. Since it’s in very rural India, nobody knows where it is and nobody goes, and it doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s like this beautiful, historic, very important place. Maybe I would go there. I feel like there’s so much about the world that nobody appreciates. People wanna go to all the popular places, and when they travel, they want to see all the things that everybody else is seeing, but I think it says a lot when you see things that not everybody goes out of their way to see because maybe it’s more difficult to get there.

J: Recently, I have really wanted to go to Taiwan because I took this super random class last year called 20th-Century Chinese Literature. And it wasn’t only Chinese literature, it was the wider area. It was so cool, my professor was super inspiring, and a whole section of the class was Taiwanese literature. I feel like that literature stood out to me. It’s a part of the world, sorta like India, where I have never been and I don’t know many people who have been able to go.

What’s your favorite part about each other?

J: Well, we’ve only known each other for like a month.

K: Like a month and a half.

J: The first thing that stood out to me was – Kate does this all the time, like ever since I met her, she’s done this. We’ll run into somebody who you might know through Facebook or through random people, but she’ll go up to people and be like, “I sorta know you, I’m Kate by the way.” And then she has this intense conversation with the person, and it’s just like funny for me to see her do that with so many people. But it’s also really inspiring because she has these deep conversations with people and then they’re best friends, and that’s kinda how we became friends. And we’ve just been hanging out everyday since.

K: He’s been the most successful, out of everybody I’ve gone up to! I don’t know I love everything about you! I think just the way you can make other people feel is really big. From when I first met you, you made me feel more relaxed and I’m not generally a relaxed person. I really feel like you care. You also are a good motivation for me to care less about certain things. Because I get so hung up about things in my head, caring or worrying about things that I don’t need to worry about. But whenever I see Jack, I kinda just forget about those things. You just make me really happy every time I see you.

J: This is a happy moment!

K: Go back to the first question! This is the last time we felt really happy!

Acting Out History

So, What kinda got you into working here, at Colonial Williamsburg?

Well, I will go first because I am retired. It’s not a career for me. I came down here from Delaware. I was a teacher in my other life, Mathematics, not History, and we retired down here. I have been down here a while, my wife and I had our Honeymoon here 46 years ago.


Oh wow, that’s nice.

Yeah, so we kept coming down because Delaware plays William and Mary in sports and we bought a house down here and we moved down full time. The guy who used to do this volunteer position in the garden had to quit because of his health, so I popped in. So, I do this twice a week on average, and I work in the gardens.



Plus I don’t have to wear a powdered wig. So that’s my story, I do this for fun. This is an apprentice, and this is his career.


Oh wow.

I also do it for fun though, I chose a career that I was going to have fun doing, so I didn’t have to work a single day in my life. That was the idea. Even though I don’t get paid that much.


How long have you been doing it?

Well, I’ve been in the living history field for a while, which started with my first internship in the field in 2010. But I’ve always been involved in History and horticulture. I started reenacting when I was 10 years old and uh, started to work in the nursery industry before once I was legal to work and make money, Ah yeah, I kinda just realized that I wanted to go into the museum field in my career. So I started to go to school, Siena College in New York, because they had a program on the revolutionary war era, and there are only a few schools that have that program, William and Mary being one of them, but it was way out of my price range…


Especially out of state…

But actually, I did end up coming down to William and Mary for a semester, as part of the NIAHD program, and you are probably familiar with that if you are an American Studies major. So that’s when I did my Internship there, in 2010. And then I worked for the National Park Service, and then after I graduated College I worked at Fort Ticonderoga in Upstate New York, and then came down here. At Ticonderoga, I got into a director level position, pretty good sized museum, and it was a good paying gig, but it started to become more of a desk job than working with my hands. So I left all of that to get back to into the trenches.


That’s great! What is your favorite part of reenacting?

Portraying and representing people who could easily be forgotten, and the stories of what happened. Kinda portraying them as people and not as a time period, you know, as some statistic or something. Obviously starting in military history has always been a big thing for me, but the more you get into military history, the more you learn about personal stories and personal history and how people’s families were affected by war and how it really can relate to anyone. As an American Studies Major, my thesis was on PTSD among Revolutionary War veterans, so it was pretty awesome research.


That’s really cool. So do you, here at Colonial Williamsburg, portray a certain character, or just kinda someone from the time period?

So, you’ll see people here at CW that are in what we call first-person interpretation, They are the people that are actually in the time period, and they are usually portraying someone like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, or someone like that. Most of the people in the Historic trades department or giving tours of buildings, or tours for groups, are in what we call “Third person interpretation”. Which tends to be a person in the period costume, using period techniques and practicing the trade, but will talk to you like I am. And you know, in the trades department, they are talking about gardening or carpentry or metal work, or whatever it may be, they talk about those technologies. But you really need to transcend time. You can’t just be stuck in one specific era, so it’s important to do the third person. Now there is this kind of thing that we call “pseudo-third person”, which is where you are portraying something, and you try to narrow that third person down, so instead of just being a modern person wearing funny clothes, talking about History, you are portraying a gardener. Maybe you are portraying a specific individual, but you are not talking as that individual. So you are gonna dress like them and do the things that person would do, which makes sense in military history, they do this a lot in reenacting, where they are portraying a company of soldiers within a regiment within the army.


Life After Graduation

What grade are you in?

I am a senior.


Oh, so am I. It is insane.

It is a little scary, yeah.


Are you as terrified as I am?

Kind of, I don’t know. I finally found a place to live where I’m going to be going to grad school, so that’s exciting. But at the same time, I am afraid of paying rent.


Yes! Where are you going to grad school?

I’m actually going to pharmacy school in Richmond, at VCU.


Oh, that’s so cool! I have one really good friend who goes to occupational therapy school at VCU, and they have this apartment on the Fan, and it’s beautiful. I spent a weekend with them once – it’s so nice.

Yeah, it’s a really nice place to live.


Are you from the Richmond area?

No, I’m from Suffolk, Virginia, so I’m like 50 minutes south from here. It’s south of Norfolk basically, about an hour drive from Virginia Beach.


So what are your thoughts on graduating soon?

Excitement. A little bit, well a lot of, nervousness. I’m excited to take the next step, I guess, in my life, because I spent four years here and I’m ready to check out the rest of the world, as much as Richmond is the rest of the world. But, I’m also going to miss going here, because it’s such a beautiful campus. I love just being able to walk around and not have it be a really big deal.


Would you say that’s your favorite part of William & Mary?

Yeah, definitely. The environment is really relaxing. I can feel like I can go outside and just get a breath of fresh air when I’m slightly losing my mind from all the work.


Yeah, I think that’s my favorite part too. I have a car this year, so being able to drive out past College Creek is really nice and is something you don’t find at other schools.

Yeah, exactly, you can drive to the beach and just chill or walk in the woods and it’s fine.


So, reflecting on your four years here, what would you say about William and Mary that really made your four years?

Definitely my major because I’m a neuroscience major, so I take a lot of…it’s an interdisciplinary major so I’ve taken a lot of different types of psychology classes and science classes, so that was really cool because I was always doing something different every semester. It wasn’t just like going to the next level of a certain curriculum, it was just all kinds of different things. So I really liked all the opportunities that I experienced through my major.


Did you always know that that’s what you wanted to study?

Yeah, I came here knowing I wanted to be a neuroscience major, so it was helpful that I knew that coming in because it’s a four-year major. Some people complete it in three somehow, I don’t know how.


What else did you get involved with on campus?

I’m in Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed service fraternity. I’m an active brother, and that’s been really fun. I’ve worked here at the Campus Center Info Desk — it used to be the Candy Counter — for about two years now. And I recently this year got promoted to Area Supervisor. It’s been fun.


What does that mean?

Basically, I’m in charge of the other student employees who work here at the Info Desk, and I help with professional development and things like that and working with professional supervisors and staff. It’s been a lot of great experience.


So you said you’ve worked here for two years – have there been any interesting encounters?

Oh, boy. I’ve just had a couple interesting people. I won’t talk about the bad interesting encounters because I try not to think about them. There were only a couple but what was cool one time was I had to work on Blowout, which stinks, but for some reason, the pancake house walked through here. I guess they were doing pancakes for freshmen or something on Blowout and they walked through the lobby to go to Sadler to do the rest of the pancake stuff, and there was the guy in the pancake suit and they all had pancakes with them and they were like, “hey, why are you working?” And I was like, “Because I got assigned a shift tonight.” And they were like, “Do you want some free pancakes?” So I basically got delivered free pancakes at my job, and I really didn’t think that would happen. And also we find a lot of interesting lost and found items. This one time we found a sword. There’s a picture of me, one of my profile pictures is of me with the sword.


Like a real sword?

Yeah, like one of those expensive fencing swords. Like, somebody never came back for it and I don’t know where it ended up.


How does someone just lose a sword?

Those are the questions we asked ourselves a lot when it happened.


Those are huge too, and expensive.

Yeah, it was one of the real deal metal ones, like no-joke. So those are two pretty interesting things that happened.


That is insane.

It’s a very lowkey job. It was my first job, so it was a lot of experience that I didn’t have beforehand, so that was great. And it’s also very good with my schedule. So if you’re interested, we’re actually hiring!


I’m actually working for Auxiliary Services.

Well, if you want a second job! Oh well, I gotta try.


Do you have any advice for people like me who are freshmen?

Oh yes! Let’s see. Please take care of your health, both physical and mental. There is such a stress culture at this school, where if you’re not 100% stressed you’re not doing well, which is completely false in my opinion, and I’ve taken a lot of psychology classes, I’ve taken a lot of learning classes, and the brain learns best when you are well taken care of. You can’t push yourself too hard. You have to realize where your limits are. Get enough sleep, please. It’s 7-8 hours per night, please. And find an outlet, be it exercise or art or something like that, or just walking around. And always make time for friends. You gotta make time and take care of yourself, because if you take care of yourself then your body will do well, and then you will do well in school. So that’s my advice. Also as somebody who’s going into the health profession, I can’t stress it enough. I get worried by how many of my friends are like, “Yeah, I got five hours of sleep last night” and I’m like, “that’s not good. That’s not good.”

Bigs and Littles

What grade are you guys in?

T: I’m a freshman.

A: I’m a junior.


Are you guys both in Phi Mu?

T: Yeah, she’s my big!


How is Phi Mu going?

T: It’s good stuff, we have a sisterhood event tonight–it’s Galentine’s Day and there’s a waffle bar.

A: And we’re going to watch Parks and Recs. It’s going to be lit.


I’m in Kappa Delta so we were helping Phi Mu get established and I really love how much it’s taken off, and it seems like all the sisters are very happy with the way it’s going and I just love that.

A: I went through the extension process so I’ve been here since we started back on campus and thinking back to those first meetings and we didn’t know anything–our consultants handled almost everything for us. Now we’re running things and getting more comfortable in our roles and how things run. I’m really proud of us.


What have you guys done together as big and little?

T: Not much, because she does theater, so she’s really busy all the time. We’ve eaten food together, taken the obligatory big-little sorority squat picture–just, like, the essentials!

A: Hopefully this semester we can ramp it up a little.


Do you guys have any plans?

A: We don’t have plans…

T: We can make plans! That’s something we should do.

A: It’s good because Taylor lives in Newport News and I’m from Virginia Beach!

T:  We need to go to Cheesecake Factory because the nearest Cheesecake Factory to Newport News is in Virginia Beach. So I’ve never been to one, but I need to change that, so that needs to happen.

A: Yes, at some point!

T: Also that grilled cheese place-

A: Grilled Cheese Bistro! We do need to go there!

T: So now we have plans!


If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

T: I would say mind reading, just because I’m really nosy, or invisibility for the same reason.

A: Flight or teleportation; I feel like teleportation is the lazy way out because I don’t have to expend the energy to fly, I can just pop over somewhere. The ability to just transfer spaces in a very short amount of time would be ideal. You wouldn’t have to pay for airfare, you can just get there!


Have you guys gone on cool trips abroad?

T: Yeah, this is only my second semester here so I haven’t done study abroad here yet. It was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, and I went to Ecuador–it was kind of a school trip thing with EF–my Spanish teacher was hosting it. Whenever I have to play those little introduction games like we did in Phi Mu that’s like ‘what’s something interesting about you?’ my go-to is that I ate guinea pig once, because that was something I did there, and I ate llama, and it was just a good time!


Did you like it?

T: Honestly, the llama was just pretty okay. The guinea pig was really good, but it was rotisserie and chopped up so it was still obviously a piece of a guinea pig and that made me kind of uncomfortable. Like, I also love guinea pigs as pets, so I probably wouldn’t eat one in this country.

A: The only time I’ve been out of the country was when I went to Austria after I graduated from high school, my aunt was planning on going to Austria anyways and was like ‘why don’t you tag along’ so I did! And it was amazing, it was such an eye-opening experience to know that there are people outside of here. There are people all the way across the ocean just living their lives, it was great. And Austria–Vienna–is just beautiful, it was a really fun time. I hope to go back one day.


If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

A: I would go to Cape Town, South Africa, mainly because, in pictures, it seems like the most beautiful place in the world. Just standing on Table Mountain, being able to see the vast landscape, and being at the absolute bottom tip of the entire continent of Africa seems so cool to me. It’s also a very vibrant city, it has a lot of culture but it’s also very modern.

T: Either Italy, purely just for the food–like authentic Italian food just sounds really good–or Ireland because according to AncestryDNA, I’m 25% Irish so it would be a cool heritage trip. I also wouldn’t have to stress about learning the language because Irish is a dead language and they all speak English so it would be good!

A: I would also say Italy because I take Italian as well so I hope to use it.

T: I feel like I know enough Spanish to go to Italy–it’s pretty similar.


What is your guys’ favorite thing about William and Mary?

T: If I say ‘the people,’ that’s like everybody’s answer, but it’s true. I’m trying to think of a less corny way to word it–just, like, everybody’s beautiful and wonderful.

A: I would say, ‘the opportunity,’ there’s a space on this campus for all of us and all of our different interests. I think that’s really special and I don’t know if you would find that at really big universities. I think what William and Mary has going for it, is its sense of community and you make it your own, it’s definitely here.

T: My boyfriend goes to Virginia Tech, which is quite a bit bigger than William & Mary, and he says he doesn’t fit in as well as he wishes he could because he’s such a nerd. But here, there’s the whole Twamp culture thing, and I tell him all the time that if he just came here instead, he would have so many friends!

Rowing Along

L: What are you doing out here? Do you come here often?

Uh, yeah! Sometimes. I mean, I don’t know. I like it, just ‘cause I’m a history major, so I came here for this. So …


L: This is where it happens.

Yeah, basically. I do a lot of colonial history. I enjoy a lot of colonial history. So I come out here to read, do work when … My stats class actually got canceled, so that’s why I’m here.


L: Nice. Why do you have to take a stats class if you’re a history major?

Math requirement. To graduate.


L: Dang, hate those things. What are you reading? What’s your textbook for?

I’m taking a COLL 100 on mapping the world and images, basically. Like cartography and stuff. So, I don’t know. I think it’s fitting that this is where Jefferson would have walked around. He is kinda the reason why I took the map class.


L: What do you like about Thomas Jefferson?

Oh, he’s fascinating. He’s absolutely brilliant. I was lucky enough to take a class last semester all about him. It was really, really great. So, I don’t know. He’s an enigma. He’s kinda controversial right now, but there are so many things that he’s known for that he did. So many places that he’s mentioned and recognized for his brilliance that it’s hard not to be impressed by him.


E: In your life, what would you want to be recognized by?

Within my lifetime, I would like to have a book in, like, the gift shops of Monticello, Montpelier … like something that’s well enough known to be put in, like … it sounds kind of corny, but like, the gift shops of these fantastic places that I enjoy visiting and getting books from.


L: So did you always know that you wanted to go to William and Mary because of your fascination with colonial history?

Well, I kinda locked on immediately into my college process. ‘Cause my old rowing coach went here and was like, “Hey, you should check it out. This is cool.” She rowed there and so my sophomore year and junior year I came up here and was like, “Yup. This is where I want to be.” So then I spent the next two years working to get here.


E: So was that just in the back of your mind all throughout high school? Were you pretty set on knowing you’d be here?

My first two years I had no idea where I wanted to go. Like at all. Ever. And then once I kinda locked … I only … I’m from South Carolina and I only look at schools in Virginia. I applied to UVA. I applied to Mary Washington. I applied here. Only applied to schools in Virginia because that’s the history I want to learn.


L: Interesting. Because I’m from Virginia, and I’m always like, “Why do people want to go to Virginia from cool places? But yeah, that’s kinda where this stuff happens. Have you, like, been down to Jamestown and stuff?

Yeah, I went to Jamestown once, like, ten years ago. But in my Williamsburg and the Revolutionary class I’m in right now we’re talking about Jamestown and how important it is and the origins and stuff. So, I’d like to go back at some point.

We had a crew party at Jamestown beach, so that’s the closest I’ve ever been.


L: Hey that’s good. That’s good enough.

E: So what else are you passionate about, other than history?

History and rowing are pretty much what I do. I’ve been rowing for … I guess this is my fifth year. So I rowed all through high school and I’m on the varsity women’s team here.


E: Good for you. That’s amazing. The rowing team just blows me away because whenever I hear about what you all have to do … I cannot get up that early. I cannot work that hard and that long.

L: Yeah, when I was a freshman, I was like, “I want to be on the rowing team. Oh my God, here we go.” And I went to one interest meeting. I was like, “I am not cut out for this.” ‘Cause there was that special machine in the Rec Center where you just do reps and reps and reps.


What’s your favorite thing about rowing, then, do you think?

Well, there’s a feeling when you’re on the water and you just everything goes right. And you hear the oars clicking and everyone’s in sync and everyone, like, has the same goal in mind. And it just feels like you’re flying ‘cause you’re going fast, the wind is in your face, you’re just watching yourself move. You’re like “Oh my God, like, I am moving this thing … really fast.” And when you’re on the erg it doesn’t quite feel that way ‘cause you’re sitting still and you’re just kinda suffering, but when you’re on the water, you really know why you’re doing it.


E: It’s something that you can’t understand unless you do it. That sort of thing.

Yeah, I mean in the winter we are just inside the entire time because it’s cold outside, and you know, the water’s wet and you get really cold if you get wet. So we’re inside training for the spring season, which is, like, sprints. And so you put yourself through a lot in the winter and once you get back on the water in the spring, you’re like, “Oh. Yeah. This is why. This is 100% why I’m doing this.”


L: Is it a pretty tight-knit group? Do you have to … actually, we were just talking to people in this Improv group and they were saying that you need to be really tight in order to be funny and have good shows. Do you think the same can be said for rowing, expect you have to be in sync?

I mean, yeah! You don’t always have to be in a lock together, but the best practices come when you do. And the best practices come when you’re working hard to support the other girls around you. Like, it’s a team sport, but it’s also an individual sport. Like you’re in your own head the entire time — which is my problem — but there’s also the girl in front of you who’s working super hard, the girl behind you working super hard, so you do it for them, mostly. So, I’d say we’re pretty close. I think they’re a great group of girls and I’m really glad I found the team.


E: That’s awesome. And are you going to continue that after … I know you’re just starting out, but, after your college experience?

Oh, definitely. There are masters programs all around the country.


Emily and Lyla 03b

E: I don’t know if you’ll ever get your fill of Virginia, ‘cause there’s so much, but once you get close to your fill of Virginia, do you have another place that you want to go and be?

D.C. Which is like this close. I’d love to work at the Library of Congress if I could. But that’s like, far, far off. 10 years. 15 years.


L: Okay, I’m wondering what did you mean when you said, “That was my problem. Being in my own head”?

Oh, I psych myself out. I’m such a mental, cerebral, person that, like, I count the number of strokes that there is in a two thousand meter piece. Like, which, I don’t know, good and bad. I’m constantly in my own head, like, “You can do this. No, I can’t. You can do this. No, I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” So I have to get out of that. You have to break through the wall and it’s something I’m still working on. It’s been five years and I’m still working on it.


E: But it speaks to how much you love the sport and how much it means to you, that you go through it. So that’s cool, too. Do you find a lot of people here share your passion for history? I mean, I know it’s a history school, but are you able to, like, relate?

Oh, yeah. I took this class last semester called, “Virginia and the Age of the Revolution,” and every Friday we spent all day traveling around the state. There were nine of us and two professors, and we all just loaded up in a van and drove around all these cool places and talked about history over lunch, and, like … The very first class — over pizza — we compared Donald Trump to Lord Botetourt whose statue is in front of Wren. So, like, modern politics meets colonial history, meets just, like, a bunch of cool people who love it just as much as you do.


L: What was your favorite place to visit, do you think?

Me being a TJ fan, like, the immediate answer would be Monticello, but, like, there’s this place in Richmond called the Wikem House that was just the most stunning house. He defended Aaron Burr during his treason trial. And it’s just this neoclassical, absolutely stunning mansion in the middle of Richmond.


E: I love hearing you talk about this in such a cool way. I always just think it’s really important for people to, like, have the feeling of happiness and exuding that through their words.

L: Yeah, passion is a beautiful thing when it’s conveyed through what someone is saying.

E: What do you want to get out of your experience here at William & Mary? Or just college, in general?

I don’t know. I mean I’d like to come out a competent historian. Like, not, of course, an actual historian yet, but someone who loves it, wants to continue it, has experience, and, you know, feels comfortable with the history.


The History of Family

In thinking of your own history, what do you take from it and what have you left behind?

That’s a good question. I’ve honestly never thought about that sort of thing.

I’ve definitely found an appreciation for family history throughout my life. My mother is a genealogist, so we know a lot about our family history. We’ve found a lot of our family are immigrants, whether from a long time ago, or more recently. I think from that, I’ve just sort of taken that even the most simple stories … you know you don’t have to be a politician or, you know, a great hero to have an impactful life, or have interesting stories that will be passed down through the family.


In your mother’s work, has she uncovered anything that you’ve found cool about your genealogy?

Got a lot of really interesting people. Supposedly, one of our ancestors was the son of a train robber who was then adopted by the town sheriff. Also, supposedly there’s a distant relationship to Davy Crockett.


How has your family impacted who you are?

My father and his family have definitely had an impact on my love of knowledge. There’s a strong tradition in the family of going to college, of doing something useful, of trying to gather as much knowledge as you can. My mother … her side of the family is a lot about knowing family history and appreciating your family. And also trying to do what’s best for you as a person, not necessarily what other people think is best for you.

My mother paid her way through her associate’s degree to become an electrician. So she was the first one in her family to go to college in her family.


That’s exciting. Do you have any siblings?

I have a younger sister.


Okay. That’s cool. What year are you here?

I’m a freshman.


Cool. How’s it going?

I’m enjoying it! Definitely enjoying a lot of history classes. That’s actually going to be my major, so …


Oh nice. That’s awesome. I’m assuming somewhat inspired by your family.



Where do you want to go with your knowledge? What do you want to do with your knowledge that’s so important to you?

Um, I’d like to be able to share what I know. As someone who really enjoys history and knowing the finer details of people’s lives, my favorite part of history is understanding people as human beings rather than just looking at events. I’d like to, kind of, share that with the rest of the world in some way. Try to get people to understand, specifically the founding fathers, not as gods who created America, but as actual, regular people.


Is that something that you’ve come to understand through your own education, or is that a through that is also from other people?

It’s partially from my own research into their personal histories, but also heavily influenced by my mother’s genealogy work. Since a young age, I’ve understood that history’s not just stories — it’s people.


Has there been somebody in history that you used to look at as a god or a story and then they became more human to you?

I think the person who I see in the most human sense would be James Monroe. Before doing research into him, I didn’t really know anything about him, so I didn’t necessarily see him as, like, a god, but I saw him as just a name behind the Monroe Doctrine. I never knew anything past just that name. But then, the more I did research into him, the more human he became with his relationship with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and also to LaFayette and that sort of thing.


What are you up to other than history here? Or is it all history all day every day?

Right now it’s sort of all history all the time. I also enjoy writing. I’m part of the creative writing club.


How has William and Mary been for you as a place to, like, grow in your knowledge? Can you speak to that?

I have really enjoyed my classes so far. Specifically one of the history classes I took last semester I really enjoyed. It was American history to 1877. And the professor really took a look at the events from a human perspective because he would talk about the different social changes and remind us that it was a time when people had different beliefs and they were all still human even though we may not agree with them anymore. We still have something to learn from them.


How would you describe yourself as a person in terms of personality?

Um, quiet, shy. But, I think with a strong set of beliefs about, I guess, humans in general. And the fact that everyone’s different and that everyone deserves to be understood, rather than just looking at someone’s surface level.


When you describe yourself as shy, that doesn’t minimize how much power you have, which is cool. Because you have a lot of strong ideas and that’s important.

If you had to give advice to a large group of people, what would that be?

I guess my advice would be to just … don’t be so quick to judge. I think even if you don’t fundamentally agree with someone, their opinion still has some sort of merit and you should listen to it whether or not you take it to heart. There’s always some merit to listening to dissenting opinions.


I like that. Sweet. Thank you.

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.


Healing and Reflection

I noticed you guys were promoting awareness of unhealthy relationships. When I came to William and Mary, I didn’t realize that my relationship with my parents was unhealthy. But because of the distance that college brings, I realized there were some issues that needed to be addressed. I figured this would be a good opportunity to explore that a bit because I don’t really talk about it a lot. From social media you’d never be able to tell that the relationship that I have with them is really toxic. I guess I just wanted to put it out there to other people who might be experiencing similarly unhealthy relationships that might be masked by social media or by the general happy facade of William and Mary.

Yeah, that’s really easy to do.

It’s really easy to fall into that kind of trap, thinking everyone around me is happy, everyone around me has healthy relationships with their family. When in reality, of course that’s not the case. That’s just how it seems from the outside. So I thought that by stepping up, even if anonymously, I could say to those individuals “You’re not a silent voice, you’re not a silent minority.” In fact, the majority of people I know at this college are actively working on their relationships with their parents that are not healthy and need to be “fixed”, for lack of a better word. That’s why I approached you.

Yeah, of course! I really appreciate you reaching out. So, how long has this kind of toxic relationship been going on?

I guess I should define toxic because unhealthy relationships take many forms. As an only child, you don’t always realize the amount of pressure that’s put on you by your parents even if they love you, even if it comes from a place of the best intent. The expectations that are mounted on you are also coupled with, “But honey, we love you regardless of who you are or what you do.” It’s this false unconditional love that’s presented to you from childhood. So that’s something I’ve been working to wrap my head around. They say, “We love you, but also make sure you get A’s. We love you, but also make sure that you’re able to keep up with your extracurriculars. And remember we love you regardless!” It’s this weird coupling of what’s supposed to be unconditional and an underlying layer of familial pressure and expectation. I feel like there are a lot of people who haven’t realized this is unhealthy because there’s a baseline expectation that their families love them and are acting out of the purest intent. You have to understand where the line is drawn between love and how reasonable your family’s expectations from you are. I guess that’s what I mean by toxic. It’s been going on through my whole life, but I didn’t recognize it until I was in my first semester of college. That’s when I finally took a step back to evaluate, and realized, “Woah. I have a checklist of expectations that I require myself to complete. Where did this checklist come from?” It wasn’t really until this past year that I realized that my family’s the root of this. The reason why I wanted this to be anonymous is because I don’t think I have the guts to have had a proper conversation with them and say, “Hey, we need to talk about our relationship.” The first step has been acknowledging it myself and realizing there’s something fucked up about the way I interact with my parents. They also have a lot of intermarital issues that have definitely complicated things and added another layer of pressure. It’s a really sophisticated system that developed between us over the years, and I would say it’s definitely been there since the beginning. It’s just an unfortunate situation. I know it’s weird to say this, but I’m proud of myself for recognizing that something needs to change because that’s the first step to addressing the issue.

Was there a specific moment that you realized you had this unhealthy relationship with your parents?

A lot of things about my sophomore year were pretty terrible, but throughout that, I realized that this was one of the main stressors.

So besides putting a lot of pressure on yourself, it also had led to you not doing as well as you would like to?

One-hundred percent. Reflection in grades, reflection in social relationships with people my own age, people older than me. I mean, the anxiety-ridden thoughts that have been ingrained in you from such a young age have an impact on almost every aspect of your life. It’s maddening. It makes you feel like you have no control over your life, which is something that I’m trying to recognize and trying to overcome somehow. But it’s crazy how pervasive those thoughts are. It’s a horrible thing to think that in a space like your college campus where you’re supposed to have autonomy over your things, over your daily activities, over your future, there’s a fundamental puzzle piece that’s just missing and doesn’t allow you to fully have control over what you want to do or what you should be doing. There’s always someone in the back of your head telling you what they want, what they think you should be doing. It’s pretty insane how this has developed over the course of my life. Sustaining two unhealthy relationships has just led to so many unimaginable consequences. Does that answer your question?

Yeah! I also think that the rambling part of thought processes is important to help you figure out where your thoughts are going.

Yeah! Exactly, exactly, and the fact that I’m allowing myself to ramble about this.

Are there any particular red flags in your relationship with your parents that you could point out as the part that is unhealthy?

I think the whole concept of unconditional love is so important for parenting in general. Like, the doses of guilt that are washed over me along with the seeming compassion leads to constant contradictory emotions. Even now as I’m talking about this, half of me wants to defend them because they’re just trying to do their best. It’s just that their best is not great. I’ve become pretty cynical about parenting, to the point where I want to say if you not sure you can handle being a parent, don’t do it because you shouldn’t shove your anxiety on someone else. Much less, a child. Much less, your own child. So I think that’s the biggest red flag for me. First, the inability for them to communicate with each other and with me. Second, their inability to sort out their own feelings and then communicate those emotions with me. They should want me to be really happy and confident in myself and my abilities as they are. They should be confident in my ability to try my hardest to succeed because I’m going to try my hardest. They can’t be like, “We’re proud of you and what you’re trying to achieve, but couldn’t you try a little harder?” I think that’s most evident through my academics.

Do they have a lot of expectations for your academics?

A lot of it is societal stuff that’s been internalized since before day one, but there is definitely a huge part of the pressure that’s intrinsic to their person. I share a lot of those values with them and definitely place a lot of importance on academics. But there’s comes a point, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, when no matter how many values you have in common with someone, it ultimately comes down to how you express those values. My parents just express their values in a totally different way than I would want to. It’s been hard to balance seeing how they choose to express their values and the way I feel I should be treated. A lot of it is internalized conflict on their part too. I feel like it’s really easy to forget that parents are also humans, that they are also figuring out what they want to do and how they want to live their lives. This has become more and more apparent to me after their separation. I’ve started recognizing that they’re also human, but still wondered why can’t they treat me a little better. I don’t know, man. And that’s not to say they’re not full of love, it’s just the way the choose to express their love is different from what I would want as their child.

How long have they been separated?

A few months ago, so it’s really new, and it’s taken a toll on everyone. It’s brought a lot of change, and my family’s not good at change. That’s been interesting to grapple with, but it’s also opened up a lot of areas for communication between me and my mom. My dad and I still have a lot of things to work through, a lot of conversations that are probably going to be left unsaid for the rest of our lives because he’s not the kind of person to talk about things. I’m trying to accept that. I’ve started to recognize the way they’ve lived their lives is not the way I want to live mine. I don’t know if I want kids right now, but if I have kids, I know I’m not going to do the same things that they’re doing. Not to say that all of the things they’ve done are bad. As with any relationship there are good and bad aspects. It’s just like, I’ve recognized all the good and bad stuff about our relationship, and now where do I go? How do I choose to live my own life? How do I choose to express the values that I feel are important to express? How will I move forward, especially looking forward to graduation and afterwards? William and Mary is a great haven, but the real world’s out there. I can’t escape it, so how am I going to deal with all of this in not such a safe space?

That’s awesome that you feel that William and Mary is a safe space.

It wasn’t always. It was not. I think I’ve only come to make a space for myself this this year. Like a lot of people, I feel like I tricked myself into thinking this is home, but this was not home for me for a good year and a half, two years.

How did you figure out how to make it more of a home for you?

Well, I think part of it was that my expectations of the College and the college experience itself were pretty minimal. I was arbitrarily like, “College is cool! We’re going to make it work somehow!” Then college turned into a whole different ball game than I was expecting, and living in Williamsburg was in itself another whole ball game than I thought it would be or wanted it to be. Once I accepted what William and Mary is, I became a lot more comfortable. I also just found people that were fundamentally good people. It took me a while to find them. Now that I have, I’m like, “Fuck! I’m leaving! I’m gonna be gone in a couple years, and then what?” I just came back to William and Mary after being away for a while, and I’m so grateful to have a place like this to return to. More importantly people to return to who I know are my safety net. They’ve become the family away from home that I never really thought I needed or could have.

Have you been able to talk to your friends here about your family?

Yeah, one of my friends from freshman year has been with me from as close to day one as you can get. She is just so compassionate and empathetic and everything I thought in high school I could never have. Of course, I’ve met other friends over the past year who have been so, so supportive. They’ve been so understanding, even if they don’t get what it’s like to go home and not feel like it’s home, they are so, so compassionate, and I couldn’t ask for another group of people who would be better to be with, and that’s awesome.

Is there any other piece of your story that we didn’t touch on that you think would be important for the William and Mary community and anyone else who reads your story to know?

I guess there are a couple things. The first is that people may have a fixed perception of what someone’s life is from their online presence, but it’s so fake. I just want that recognition to be reaffirmed. Social media is fake. It’s ironic because this is going to be published on social media, but it angers me how horrible those misperceptions are. The second thing would be if you are experiencing, or you’re starting to become more observant of the symptoms of unhealthy relationships with your parents, significant others, friends, just don’t be afraid to call it out, even if it’s just to yourself. Say, “Hey, I recognize a red flag. I recognize something that’s not right. Maybe I won’t do anything about it today, but the fact that I’ve even acknowledged it means that I have the power to do something about it in the future if I want to. I think that’s where I’m at right now, and I feel like it’s a very important limbo to be in. I think that’s why I wanted to talk to you today.

I think it’s a really important thing to do. If you could give one piece of advice to the William and Mary community, what would you tell them?

Don’t be afraid to be alone.

In what way?

It might be a lot of different things, it might mean standing out from the crowd, or sitting by yourself for a meal. [Being alone] is not a bad thing. I eat by myself all the time and it makes me very happy. Don’t be afraid to have your own opinion, your own voice, to spend a Friday night at home, alone, doing nothing. Don’t be afraid to revel in solitude because at the end of the day you are the only person you have. I know that sounds really cynical and terrible, but at the end of the day you’re the only person you can really count on – and I think this is the best thing possible. What more do you have except yourself? And your ability to relate with others, your ability to make a difference, or your ability to enjoy your day. Ultimately, it’s up to you, and it’s up to your attitude, to make the best of whatever situation you’re handed. Why should you be afraid of being alone? That’s honestly one of the most empowering things. Obviously there’s strength in numbers, and all those other cliches, but why would you not want to experience yourself for who you are? I feel like that’s something specific to this campus, and college life in general. There is this constant need to be with people and make friends. There’s that need to have every hour of the day blocked out to spend with people, and I’m like, “Take a step back, be alone for a little bit!” It makes the time you spend with other people so much more meaningful.

Do you feel like you’re in a healing process for yourself right now?

Yeah, I mean, I’ve been going to therapy for two years to talk about a lot of the things that happened in my childhood that kind of led up to – I don’t know, it’s weird to call it trauma. I feel like I’m being more vague in this interview than I might have intended. My therapist uses the concept of tiny “t” trauma, not capitalized Trauma, but tiny trauma. So for me to process the my own experiences that I’ve been through, I guess yeah, you could call it a healing process. Also I’ve also been working on being patient and accepting myself, which is a terrible cliche but necessary. But I’ve been trying to accept the fact that the process of healing is a struggle, and some days will be easier than others. Some days, depression won’t let me get out of bed. Some days anxiety will fuck up a test, but ultimately those things aren’t who I am and aren’t who I want to be. But yeah, definitely a healing process.

Joyful Laughter

E: What makes you laugh?

Usually hanging out with my friends just makes me laugh. Me and my friends, before we go out, we like to do game night. And my friend has this game — it’s a card game — and it’s sort of like a horse race. So you set up these cards and you bet drinks on which card is going to advance forward. So you flip cards, and if it’s a spade, the spade goes forward. And my friend who taught us this game, who does it, she puts on this voice. She’s like an auctioneer. She’s like, “Alright, here we go! We got three drinks on spades. Oh spades!” and she gets very excited and as the night goes on, it’s just so funny. So she makes me laugh.


Um, what else makes me laugh? My little brother makes me laugh a lot.


E: How old is your little brother?

He’s seventeen. I recently went home [and] he was in this variety show, sort of. It’s called Mr. Mills Godwin, which is the name of his school. And it’s a bunch of boys, and it’s like a Miss America pageant, but for guys who want to do it. And he did a skit, he did like the Jimmy Fallon “Ew” skit, and it was so funny. And then he had to do a talent, which was supposed to be like a real talent, but also sort of funny. And so he pretended that he was going to play, like, Beethoven on the piano, and then he kept on messing it up. It led into, like, “Lose Yourself” on the piano, and they did, like a medley of rap songs. And he won! So, he makes me laugh.

Puppies make me laugh because they just fill me with so much joy.


E: That’s true.

L: That’s a good answer. I like that one.

My friend recently … his girlfriend came to visit and brought their new puppy and he snuck him in his dorm room. It’s like a little corgi puppy. His name is Gus. And he is so cute. And so they had to keep him from barking so my friend John would yell at him every time he would bark. And he loves John so much, his ears would go all the way back and his eyes would get all droopy when he was yelled at. It was so cute. So, he made me laugh.


L: That’s amazing.

E: It’s cool to see how other people influence your life, how they make your life better. How do you think you make others lives better?

I think I seem to be the friend that everyone comes to for advice. I think I’m a pretty good listener, so people usually come and, like, bounce ideas off of me and stuff like that. So I like to try to help people through their problems, I guess. And I try to be as non-judgemental as possible, while also being honest, so I’m not just gonna, like, you know, give them fluff and tell them what they want to hear.

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L: What is a piece of advice you find yourself giving the most?

I think so often people want to dismiss or apologize for how they feel. So I feel like a lot of time I tell people it’s okay to feel how you feel. You can’t help how you feel. I mean, you can do a lot with your actions, but I think it’s important to let people feel how they feel and deal with their feelings, you know, they do whatever they need to do with those feelings. Because I think so often that we, like, try to be who we think who we’re expected to be or be whoever everyone else is trying to be and we don’t … we’re not listening to our emotions. That sounds so hippy, but that’s what I tell people a lot, I feel like.


E: So do you live by that, too?

I try to. I think I’m pretty honest, and not always in a positive way. Like I put my foot in my mouth a lot. But I think one of the positive, sort of, effects of that is that I try to be pretty upfront with how I feel. Try to lead with that. Sometimes I need to, like, lead with thinking about how I feel before I say it out loud. So, there’s definitely some reflection that needs to maybe go along with that. But I think, for the most part, I try to be pretty true to how I feel.


E: Did you learn that through experience or has anyone given you any good advice?

Yeah, that’s the advice my mom always gave me. The reason I give good advice is absolutely because of her. Ever since I can remember she’s always been like, “You can come to me with anything.” And we talk about everything, so she’s really good at validating how I feel and just making sure that I’m not stifling myself. So, definitely props to her entirely.


E: I like how you pass on that to others.

Yeah, I try. I think it’s a really nice message to spread.


L: That was really great. I think a lot of people needed to hear that.

L: Tell us about your tattoo.

So it’s “I love you” in sign language. I got it when I was eighteen when I thought that I was gonna do a sign language major and I went to the University of Tennessee. And I did that. And it was wonderful, but I hated University of Tennessee, so I made the decision to come here, which was a really hard decision, but it was a good call. But now the plan is to get my Masters in education and then go back and finish my interpreters license so I can be a teacher and interpreter.

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L: So when did you transfer?

So I went there for my freshmen year, took fall semester of my sophomore year off, and did a service project, and then transferred here in my spring semester of sophomore year.


L: What was your service project?

I worked at a school in super East End Richmond. Like Creighton Court area. And I worked in a fourth-grade classroom.


L: That’s really cool. So you did a lot of ASL in high school, then.

Uh huh. So I definitely, definitely, want to go back. But this school sucks because they don’t have ASL classes.


It’s Our Tradition

What does Yule Log mean to you guys?

It is a bright spot of happiness at a time that is usually pretty stressful. It reminds me of how much I love this place and makes me want to come back to the ceremony every single year.


It reminds me of the tradition and community we have at William & Mary, especially with the holidays; I love our community and people coming together to enjoy the season.


What do the doves represent?

The doves are the wishes and the hopes people have for the future. For me personally, this year has been about savoring the moments with friends and the little things. I want to take those forward as I move onto grad school next year and remember what brought me here in the first place.


My dove would represent how grateful I am for the Tribe family and opportunities that I have experienced during my four years here. I hope to carry these memories with me as I enter my next journey after graduation.

A Drawing and a Dream

What is caricature drawing for you? Is that your main focus in art?

It wasn’t initially my main focus. So, originally, I was just drawing for fun. My older brother, who’s deceased now, he used to enter art contests and took a lot of art classes. And he kinda gave me some lessons on how to draw. And, for the most part, I never actually listened. I’d be like I’m not doing that blah, blah, blah. And he’d go off, win an art contest, and then I’d come up, try to submit some stuff, and they’d be like, yours is shit. So anyway, I was decent at art, but I wasn’t super, super great. But, it started when I started working at Busch Gardens, which was in 2012. Like January and February, somewhere around there.

I’d gotten a role in a TV show in South Carolina called Changes. It was like a romantic comedy, and I hated it. Like I hated it with a passion. And I thought that the cast sucked, and I didn’t like the script, and a bunch of other stuff. So I quit and I ended up on the fly moving to Georgia and I moved in with a celebrity trainer and basically trained a bunch of clients and would work at the Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals place and a bunch of other stuff, and randomly moved back to Virginia. To explain how I moved back is just … it’s too many details.

So, I come back here and the first week that I get back, like the very first week, I meet up with a friend at William and Mary speaking of, and we go to the gym there, and I had a shoulder injury previously, but I thought I was okay. Go there and dislocate my shoulder at the gym. And immediately, I was like, shit. So, I needed … I couldn’t drive, so it wasn’t like I could go back to Georgia. After a couple of months after being in a sling and stuff, I was like, I need money, so … and I had a check coming in for acting, and the checks don’t come in for three months. So all the money I had coming in, it was not going to help me right now. So, I started looking for jobs and I looked in the paper and saw Busch Gardens hiring. They were like, submit your artwork. You could be an artist. We’re looking for portraits, caricatures, blah blah blah. And I was like, I’m submitting for caricatures. So I submit. They like my artwork. They call me in for an interview. I go, get hired, set point. And from there I’ve been doing caricatures from basically 2012 until now. Stayed at Busch Gardens for a few years. Ditched it because I wanted to make more money. And been going solo. So, yeah. Caricatures is my primary focus. Caricatures and illustrations. Like I do illustration on the side.

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What is the best and worst part of your work life?

The best part is, is that I have a lot of free time. I can work when I want because I’m basically working as my own boss right now. And I’m travelings a lot, so I get to explore the world, meet a lot of new people, and connect with a lot of people. I made a trip to Tennessee recently and I stayed there for a month. And I felt like it’s the most free I’ve ever felt in my life, despite the fact that I almost got robbed by somebody at gunpoint. But, other than that, it was great. So I’d say that’d be the best part right now.

The worst part would probably be that sometimes it can be really slow. For example, Halloween time was super, super slow. It was ridiculously slow. Like I got called in to do an event at Chick-fil-A and I show up at Chick-fil-A and they promoted it, and nobody wanted a picture until I told them it was free. And then all of a sudden I was getting twenty dollar tips, and before that, it was like ten dollars. It’s still less than Busch Gardens and nobody wanted one. So, it’s hit or miss. Sometimes it’s really, really good, and other times it’s not so great. So the process of building it so I have some sort of residual income while doing this and, like, passing incomes, that’s the work. That’s where it’s hard.
Right now I’m actually trying to set up an online course for intro to caricature or something so that way I can have something else coming in. But, it takes time.


You mentioned that you felt free in Tennessee. Where or when do you feel most at peace with yourself or most like yourself?

When … I know this sounds cliché. I’d probably say when I feel like I’m most free and most at peace with myself when I am not being tied down to a certain regimen and schedule. Like, I kinda feel as if there is a societal view where if you don’t do things a certain cookie-cutter way, which is to follow the American dream, that you can’t have success. And I’ m not saying it doesn’t work, but what I’m saying is that that doesn’t apply to everybody. I mean, if everybody followed that exact path then we wouldn’t have any sort of major entrepreneurs that exploited their businesses.

I know for me, it’s not like I’m just that I’m chasing after money or anything, but I feel like there’s a level of freedom in just taking the chance and doing something. And for me, when I went out to Tennessee, I went out on the fly. Like I didn’t even plan it. I think I was managing a gym at the time in Leesburg. And I quit the job and the very next day I just packed up my bags, left half my stuff there, and just drove out to Tennessee. And I bought a tent and slept in the tent for the first three days. And within a week I got a place at the Grand Opry.


Is that something that you do often? Have you made a lot of trips like that?

I’ve done it a couple of times. Like when I took the role with the TV show, this was another surprise. I was on Facebook one time and I was doing some commercial work. I was trying to get a TV role. So I go and I looked up some movie producers and I start adding people on Facebook. And, I mean, not everybody’s gonna add you. Some of these people were like, who the hell is this? But, every now and then some people actually accept and it’s actually a real person. I was talking to this one producer and I just, like, messaged her every day. And I didn’t care how she took it, I was just like, I’m going to spam this lady until she gets tired of me spamming her and either deletes me or puts me in a movie. And that’s exactly what happened. So as soon as she said she wanted me for a role, I quit my job, packed up, and moved to South Carolina. And as soon as I realized I didn’t like the role, I packed up and left again.

Who makes up your main support in life?

I’d say I have some close friends that I can call on. For example, Josh. I can talk to him sometimes. Occasionally my brothers. Sometimes my mom, parents. I’d say more so friends, I don’t really talk to my parents about everything. I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t talk to anybody. For example, when I went out to Tennessee, I did not consult a single person. I turned my phone off, actually. The only reason I had my phone on was for GPS. Anybody who called me, I ignored the call. I didn’t tell them what I was doing.

So, I have a support system of friends. And for the most part, they’re pretty encouraging. Sometimes. And I’d say that’s about it. People that I know really well that I hang out with.


So when you are by yourself, where are you in your head?

I feel like there’s this point when you have a certain vision in your head, you have to block out all the noise. So there’s this level where you focus and just shoot for the goal. And if you take in too many distractions it could start to bring too many voices in your head where you start to doubt yourself. And I personally feel like if you allow certain voice to come in, even if they are friends where they start to speak certain things, for you to even begin to doubt yourself, you can fail. And I had it in my mind that when I went to Tennessee I was going to make money. And I didn’t care how it was going to happen. And that’s basically what happened.


When have you doubted your ability?

I have a perfect example for that. Alright, so one time … I brought up the acting right? I got asked … I flew out to LA to meet with this guy —  I’m not going to mention his name — but he was a Universal Studios casting director. And they heard how I have a gymnastics background. And I did some coaching for a while in boot camp at .. And they wanted to talk to me about a role for Bring it On. And I’m not a cheerleader. And I don’t dance. So, it’s like they had this idea of me in their head. And then when I go out there, I was like, what the fuck, I can’t do this. So I doubted myself there. And I will not deny that I doubted myself. In fact, I’d still doubt myself if I went back in that situation because I know that I can’t dance.


So the doubt is more you knowing, or being sure of your inability.

Yeah. In fact, I believe that even if they tried to teach me, I’d still suck.


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So you have a pretty good mindset about what you are able to do and that’s really cool.

As you can tell, I was never in the movie, so … *laughing*


You mentioned your brother’s passing, which you don’t have to get into if you don’t want to, but how was life for you after that?

I would say I was trying to cope, but I didn’t technically take it well. So, when my brother died … we were really, really close. And I know this may sound really strange, but I had a dream that somebody got shot on the street I grew up on in Hampton as a kid. And I had that dream two days before he died. And I didn’t think much of it. I mean, it kinda freaked me out, but he called me three times the day before he died and I didn’t answer the phone because I was saying to myself, like, I can call him back, it’s not big deal. And, I mean, I was free, but I was procrastinating and putting it off. And then the day he died, he got shot. And it was in Williamsburg. And, I mean, I took it hard ‘cause I kinda felt guilty that I ignored his calls. And I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it. When I did talk to people about it, I was pretty bitter about it for a while. Especially about how it went down. So, it took a while to get over.


He seems like he was a big influence on your life. And I’m sure if he was able to look down right now, he’d be amazingly proud of you.


So where are you at right now in your life? Like, being back here.

Ideally, I don’t want to be back here. But, I’m fine. I’m pretty content. I don’t want to run form any problems I have. Like, for example, I got shoulder surgery and ankle surgery and I feel like if I run around too much and take too many gigs outside of Williamsburg, then I wouldn’t have time to actually rehab the injuries. So I want to actually kinda focus on one central location especially because I got my surgery in Williamsburg and I have follow-up appointments and so forth. It’s just more convenient to be here. The other thing is, is that my parents are in town and we get along, but ideally, I don’t want to be this close to my parents. Like, I want my freedom. So, in that aspect, it’s like, I’m sucking it up. It’s not like this my grand plan.

As soon as I get all healed up, my plan is to launch a course and do some illustrating, take some more gigs out of town, and travel more.


Is that in order of rank?



What do you want to get out of sharing your ability with others and traveling?

Make people smile. And I also get to talk to a lot of people. So, for example, when I’m not actually drawing there’s a lot of off time. So during this off time, make new friends.


One question I like to ask everyone is if you could give one piece of advice, to anybody, what would it be?

I’d say the same thing I said for a magazine interview. I would say that if there is a certain goal that you have and a certain passion that you know you have, then basically run after it and don’t give up. Because if you don’t give up, I’m pretty positive you can reach that goal.


And that’s how you live your life?

Yes. Yes. Fearlessly and quite the adventurous, authentic nature.


That’s awesome.

And if you could add anything else to a general audience what would it be?

*Laughing* I’m single.

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Shoot for the moon

I came here extra early so I can get a good spot for the Yule Log Ceremony. It’s one of William & Mary’s biggest traditions and, in my opinion, it is a must-see event. I feel pretty lucky because they are putting up the fire at 5pm in the dark. At least I could get some warmth.

I’m a transfer student and I just came to William & Mary. Compared to the students back in my hometown, the students here focus more on their studies and interpersonal lives, which is something I was looking for in a friend all along. Lots of people at the College care about each other as well as their education.

One thing that I think William & Mary students should remember for 2018 is similar to the old saying “Shoot for the moon; even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” But it’s about perseverance and taking it one step at a time, no matter what stage of life you are in. I hope that, for 2018, we will welcome our incoming members of the Tribe and teach them valuable lessons (like the one above) to follow.

It’s like passing on the torch of knowledge to the next generation.

A semester in review

K: Kate, interviewee

J: Jamelah

M: Michelle


J: As a freshman, how does it feel ending your first semester?

K: It went a lot quicker than I thought it would. I just had my last class.

J: How was it?

K:It was great. I loved all my classes this semester. It feels weird ending so early because I just don’t know what to say to the professors after the classes are over. I’ll want to be like, “Oh hey, this class kind of changed my perspective on everything. And I’m really grateful for the opportunity to have taken it with you…” but really, I’ll just kind of be quiet and just leave.

M: Was there a class in particular that made you feel that way?

K: I took a really cool class for my COLL 150. I took Sympathy for the Devil, which is a religious studies class. I have no background in religious studies. I’ve never read the Bible, I don’t know anything, but it was a super interesting course and very different from anything I took in high school.

M: So can you tell me more about the class what kind of material you covered and why you say it was different from your other classes?

K: It was kind of like a Comparative Religions course, but mainly focused on devil figures, and it also went into pop culture representations of Satan, like have you ever seen the movie Horns with Daniel Radcliffe?

M: No, how is that?

K: It’s a good movie, but we read the book that it was based on as part of our pop culture study. I got to write an essay on horror movies, which I’m really into, and this anime that I like, so it was flexible and a super interesting course.

M: What anime was it?

K: It was Blue Exorcist. It’s a good show, really good show.

J: So you talked about your classes changing your perspectives, could you go into more detail about how and what happened?

K: It really is opening my mind to areas of studies that I haven’t really considered before. In high school, we don’t have as many good choices. When I tried to take Forensic Science my senior year, it ended up being a completely underfunded course that no one cared about. But here, when I take classes in specific subjects, it’s much different, and it’s just so much easier for me to learn about things I’m interested in.

J: Is that class your most favorite?

K: I’d say so, yeah. Well, I like all my classes, but that one was the most engaging to me because it was the farthest from anything I’ve studied before.
M: Are you taking anything similar to that next semester?

K: No, I’m not taking a religious studies class next semester, but I am trying to take more things I know nothing about because I had such a good experience. I decided to start taking computer science. I know that’s like completely on the other end of the spectrum.

J: Did you come into college knowing what you wanted to study or what you wanted to major in?

K: A little bit. I knew I wanted to major in English, and maybe film, maybe Japanese–I have a lot of areas of interest, and I’m not quite sure what I want to do with it yet, but I’m gearing towards English.

J: Do you think your first semester of classes helped you find direction?

K: I think so. For freshman year, I’m not really focusing on the requirements for my major as much as I am going around and trying a bunch of things I don’t know much about, and I’m hoping that’ll influence me.

J: That’s a good idea.

M: In general, how are you enjoying college at William and Mary?

K: I love it here, I think it’s great. I’m not from here, I’m from Orlando, so this is all very different. I’m not used to having to wear a jacket when I go outside, so that’s been interesting. I think my favorite part of college are the clubs, I joined six–it’s real bad, I have no time.

M: What’s your favorite club?

K: My favorite club is probably… that’s so hard… I love Pep Band, and SciFi club is like the best part of my week, and I was in Rocky Horror, too, and that was really fun.

M: So did you have a really memorable experience in one of those clubs?

K: I feel like every week is a memorable experience in Skiffy (SciFi/Fantasy Cub). I also go to Nerf Wars every weekend, which is a super good time. I did not think I would get so into it, but every time someone comes to visit me on campus, I bring them to Nerf so they can see what I do here.

J: You said you were from Orlando, how did you hear about William and Mary?

K: My friend’s parents got married here, and I know a couple people, like my friend’s cousin goes here, my mom’s really close friend went here, so I had a lot of sources who knew about the campus. They were like ‘Oh Kate, this is the school for you, you need to check it out.’ But I didn’t do a lot of research, until I got in–I came here for Day for Admitted Students, and as soon as I was here, I knew this was the right school for me.

M: Did you know anyone else from Orlando who also was coming here?

K: Nobody that I know personally, but I do know of a couple people from Florida who are here. There’s somebody else in my dorm who’s from a part of the state that I haven’t been to, so there’s that. It’s kind of cool going in not knowing anybody; well, it’s scary, too.

J: Well, it seems like you really like it here. Was it difficult at first coming into this place as a new environment especially since you’re from so far away?

K: It was a little bit hard at first, I had a bit of a tough time during Orientation. But I think there was a moment for me when everything kind of clicked and I was like, ‘Well, I’m here now, and it’s a great place, and I’m going to get used to it.’

J: What was that moment like? When did you get to realize that?

K: It was the first day I went without calling my parents, and I started feeling like I could have a life here. And it was cool, it was a cool feeling.

A member of The Hoard

Is this your first time at Grand Illumination?

Yes, this is the first time I’ve actually been. I live very close but I’ve never been before – always too much traffic. But I do work and live around here.

Is there a particular reason you chose to dress up like this for Grand Illumination?

I’m actually part of a reenactment group called The Hoard. We thought it would be fun to come out here and have a little “takeover or raid” type thing for Grand Illumination and have a little bit of fun with it. We like to let people take pictures of us too!

What sort of things do you reenact?

I personally do everything from Colonial all the way up to World War II. Everyone does it a little bit different though. [pointing to another reenactor] He actually does everything from pirate to mermaid…merman I should say. We all are a little bit different, but we’re just a group that like to have fun.

Because this is Grand Illumination, what sort of things illuminate your life around this time of year with the holidays?

I’d say my family and friends, we always get together and have a good ol’ time.

The Start of my Happiest Years

E = Eva

K = Kyle

What year are you?

I’m a freshman.

How is this year going for you so far?

E: It’s going so well. I love it here. Actually, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go here or another school, but then I picked here. I’m so glad I did. I feel like I made the right choice for me.

What drew you to William & Mary?

E: I’m an in-state student, so obviously I knew about it before. And also another reason is the summer before junior year I went on tours of a bunch of schools around here and William & Mary just stuck out to me because, um, first of all the tour guide was super friendly and the campus was beautiful. And I felt like the community atmosphere was really, apparent to see. It just really stuck out for me from all the other tours because the other people doing the tours for the other schools were not that passionate as the tour guides for William & Mary. And yeah, I’d say everyone is really friendly.

Did you have a moment where you were like, “I made the right decision.”?

E: I wouldn’t say there’s one specific moment. But I’d say especially after I got onto campus and I met all my hallmates and we just got really close, and I was like, “Wow, this is the right school for me.”

What’s your favorite William & Mary specific memory so far?

E: Kyle!

K: Oh, hey.

E: I’d say my favorite moment was [when] me and one of my friends, we always do late-night walks and always go to the Sunken Gardens. And you know the steps facing the Sunken Gardens where you can see the whole field? We always sit there and just have really long conversations late at night. And they are pretty deep, philosophical, and it was really interesting. There was this one time we were just sitting there talking and this drunk guy came and sat next to us and started talking about the meaning of life with us for a really long time. That was really interesting. So, yeah.

What do your conversations revolve around?

E: Just like, our past lives, and stuff. And he’s really into philosophy and literature, so we talk about that a lot. Just like things that have been going on in our classes. Things like that.

I can relate. I have my deepest conversations at night, too.

E: I feel like after a certain point at night I feel like I just revealing more, I don’t know why.

How did you two become friends?

K: On Tinder.

E: What? Shut up, Kyle!

K: I’m just kidding. We’re hallmates.

E: Yeah, we’re hallmates. He lives in the hall next to mine. Wait, how did we become friends?

K: I don’t know.

E: Oh, because he always come into our hall and he tries to be super sociable. He also always likes to pretend we are dating.


K: They think I’m funny.

E: You’re kinda funny.

*More conversation about Kyle wanting to be a politician and Eva liking psychology and personalities*

E: My parents actually didn’t support it for a very long time. I guess several years, but I guess they just saw that I kept continuing to like, you know, research it. I liked it a lot, so they were like, “Okay, I guess it’s fine that you do it.” And then I guess they supported it even more towards the end of my junior year.

What’s something that you researched that stuck with you?

E: Okay, do you know what micro-expressions are? They are, like, fleeting and they show someone’s true intentions. There’s this TV show called “Lie to Me,” and it’s all about micro-expressions. It’s really cool.

*Explanation of TV show*

Do you think you are better at observing people with a psych background?

E: I wouldn’t say I know how to read micro-expressions because it’s really hard, and it takes training and stuff. But, I’d say I’m more in tune with people’s emotions, I guess.

How would you describe yourself? Personality test aside, how would you describe yourself as a person, or how would your friends describe you?

E: Kyle, how would you describe me?

K: Like, as a person?

E: Yeah.

K: Um, odd? No, um, you’re funny. Nice. I don’t know how to describe you, I don’t know.

What drew you to her friendship?

K: I feel like the reason we are friends is probably because we are both kind of … okay, normally I am super nonchalant and a chill guy, but when I’m with Eva, like, I’m a little odder, I guess. One time we were walking back from breakfast and we were listening to the song, “Big Papa,” by …

E: You’re the one who knows this. It was something like … Big Sean?

K: Anyways, it was a really intense song we were listening to at 9:40am and I just feel like with other people I can not do that. Like I could only do that with Eva.

E: Yeah, we were bopping.

K: Yeah, we were bopping to it, too. Like it’s not like we were just listening to it.

E: I feel like a lot of people would say that when they are around me they get a lot weirder. Which, I don’t know why because I don’t think I’m that weird.

K: I think you’re just a fun person.

E: Thank you.

Maybe they’re more likely to be themselves around you.

E: Aw, that’s nice. Thank you.

K: That’s true. Because I tell you things I don’t tell other people, either.

E: I tell you some weird things.

K: Yeah, you do.

E: I’d say we tell each other a lot.

K: I think that is a big thing in our hall. I think that by living in such bad dorms, we really come together.

K: Oh, and you know what? We bonded that night you got locked out of your room.

E: When was that?

K: Remember, like the first week of —

E: Oh yeah! Okay, it was the first week and I got locked out of my room. It was the day right before classes started. Oh, wait, no it wasn’t. But classes had just started and I got locked out of my room because I was having a deep convo, but I didn’t have my key. And I knew he was up, as well. And I was like, “Can I sleep in your room?” And then he was so sweet, he let me take his bed and he slept on the floor. It was so nice. True friendship. And we barely knew each other.

K: Yeah, we didn’t know each other that well.

E: And his roommate was just so nice.

K: My roommate is abnormally nice.

E: I thought his roommate would kick me out or something.

K: Yeah he could’ve probably been like, “Um, what are you doing?” but he was just so helpful. He like threw his blanket —

E: Yeah, he gave me his blanket. It was really sweet.

Do you have any hobbies that you share with Kyle?

E: Well we get breakfast together every morning. And also, sometimes he can’t wake up in the morning.

K: Oh yeah, it’s a problem.

E: And he sets like 50 alarms. Like you set alarms an hour from …

K: Yeah, I set alarms …  I have to be up at 8:30 and I set my alarm at, like, 7.

E: And he still can’t wake up. There was this period of time where I would go to his room every single morning and wake him up and we would walk to class together. And I haven’t done that lately because I can’t wake up.

K: But I guess that’s something we have in common.

E: But yeah, we still walk to class together and get breakfast afterwards. And we always get, like, chai tea lattes. And yogurt. You always get vanilla yogurt with graham cracker crumbs and blueberries.

K: Ever since they put out those graham crackers, I’ve been living my best life.

E: I’ve always wanted to be interviewed for a Humans page.

Is there anything else you want to say about your WM years?

E: When I’m old and senile, I’d just like to look back and think that these are some of my happiest years. Because, you know everyone says that college is some of your best years and I guess I just never really thought about that quote until I got here. And I feel like even though it’s only been a couple of months, I feel like the happiest years of my life could actually happen here. I know that’s kind of sad, because it’s so early in my life, I guess. But, I don’t know …

Well it can be the start of your happiest years.

E: Yeah, exactly. It feels like … I don’t know. It’s really nice.


Walk with Honesty

What was the best relationship that you have had in your life? What was it like? Do you have any emotions or memories associated with that relationship?

“I would say the best relationship that I have had was the shortest in duration. We met by chance. I met him not four days after my two year relationship fell apart. It was the first time I had dated someone where we had no mutual friends–we were total strangers. Because of that it really felt like it was just us. We could spend entire days together, just talking and walking and sharing our philosophies. I have always dated someone from long distance, and this is was the first time I had connected with anyone on campus; though I would say it was harder for me to retain my personal relationships while balancing getting to know him. We had decided to remove physicality from the relationship, which was something completely different for me. Coupled with the fact that we really were starting from scratch, not knowing anything about each other, that we decided to connect intellectually and emotionally rather than physically truly made all the difference. He allowed me to question my convictions and challenge my philosophies in a positive way that has still affected me today. He once told me something that has really stuck with me: ‘Forgiveness is letting go of the notion that you could have changed something.’ It was easily the most happy I had ever been. Though things fizzled out into the summer, I would say it was the most amicable parting I have had, most likely because we had not been bogged down by confusing physical endeavors. I left for the first time retaining the feeling that I had not been destroyed, that I did not need to ‘start over.’ And guess what? My life continued.”

What have you learned from your current relationship with your boyfriend? Any good advice?

“Completely different from my last relationship, my current one was originally based solely on physicality. It was the first time I had delved into that realm. I enjoy being in relationships, and I had tried my best to do something different and let my emotions settle for once, to not fall. But, what can I say? I did the opposite.

I met him only been a few months after the end of my first long term relationship, and truly, I was still so angry. I still felt lonely and unfulfilled and silenced. But the world has a funny way of putting people in your life exactly when you need them. Now into the fourth month of getting to know one another, I feel like myself again, and I can truly say that I love him for that.”

If you could give any advice about relationships what would you recommend?

“I spent two and a half years with someone who was more than my boyfriend; he was my best friend. We had known each other for years. He had been with me through my freshman year before I transferred here. I noticed as soon as I came to William & Mary, he not only pulled back, but seemed to resent that fact that I did not need him as much. One day in the spring he called me as I was walking to class and told me he did not love me anymore, despite having visited him the night before and hearing just the opposite. He hung up before I could grasp what was going on. A few weeks later, he left the country for months, leaving me to deal with everything while he got to play around. I never got the chance to speak my mind, to defend myself. I still hold so much anger, and I still wonder for how long he lied to me. I was never sad–I hated the way he had treated me. But I was furious. I am not someone to sit and take it, and to be denied the opportunity to stand up for myself, is something I cannot ever forgive.

I know now I should have stepped in months before that explosive end. I had noticed he had been getting more violent with me, both physically and emotionally, but I forgave him every time because I had always known he was unstable–I just never could comprehend why it would be me making him that way when all I ever did was try to give him the confidence to work his way through life. He had manipulated me, consciously or not, into thinking I was the one who was unstable and that I needed therapy. I only realized this when my therapist told me “there is no reason you need to be here.” But I had trusted my ex when he said these things to me because I thought he genuinely cared about me; but I see now it was to cover up and turn the tables on how he had treated me.

From that experience, it would be easy to say ‘speak your mind when you see warning signs,’ but who really can see those things. In the moment, they seem like isolated incidents, only compiling when things come to a halt. However, I think the more valuable advice would be to not let anyone determine your mental state. Only you know what is going on in your head, and just because your significant other is unstable or unhappy, does not give him the right to push you around without consequence. You owe it to yourself and to the one you love to always walk with honesty.”

Tell Me Something Good

H: Humans of William & Mary, P: Peter, K: Kathy

H: What is your favorite part about being a senior interviewer?

K: Hearing people’s stories, which I guess is exactly what you do. I just met so many people over the summer interviewing and the people I work with that are constant reminders that there are people who are infinitely cooler than I am. To be surrounded by such inspiring people is really fun.

P: Just being able to discover those tiny little things that make these rad high schoolers tick, whether it be them being really passionate about Jewish History or being able to do a great Christopher Walkin impression or loving horses – but just really being able to see someone’s passion and the way that they talk about it, and seeing the sparkle in someone’s eyes.

H: What is the most meaningful conversation that you’ve had with a prospective student?

P: I think the most meaningful one that I had was a student who was very adamant about the fact that her and her parents did not have the same dreams for her…they wanted her to go into like cooperate finance or pre-med and she was like “I just love music, and I want to play music” and she ended up crying in the middle of the interview which ended up making me really sad as well because I was like “you shouldn’t have to conform to your parents way of thinking because that isn’t what’s going to make you happy in the long run.”

K: I guess one guy that I met was talking about how he loves staying up into all hours of the evening working on computer science projects in his basement, and he’s a high school senior and I was like “Wow I don’t have that drive”. And he was saying that he would much rather be doing that than sitting in a hospital, because he overcame a really rare type of bone cancer and so just like his desire to learn and work really hard after something I can’t imagine going through was really inspiring, and he definitely had that fire lit under him that I think so many William and Mary people have.

H: I hear a lot of people wondering where you guys come up with the super funky interview questions- are you guys involved with that at all?

P: Yeah, just like the weirdest train of thoughts spur the weirdest, most fun questions.

K: Backstory, yes, out interviews are completely unscripted. So we come up with the questions entirely by ourselves. The Deans don’t assign us any questions.

P: The Deans during training give us questions that we should maybe think about asking, such as “tell me about your high school experience and passions” or “what’s your favorite thing about your least favorite class”. My favorite section is the “fun section” is what I like to call it, and its just like asking these quirky questions. And I’m not going to judge anyone based off of what they say, like I won’t judge someone based off of what ice cream flavor they think they are – but I like to see if they are able to talk about themselves and go with the flow and think on their feet a little bit.

H: What is your favorite question to ask?

K: My favorite question is what I always start my interviews with, I just say “Tell me something good”, and that could be something about your day, your week, your summer, because it really puts the ball in the other person’s court and the interviewee really gets to decide where the conversation goes. And sometimes its something like “I spent the summer lifeguarding at the pool and it was awesome”, and that’s great, but some people have things to day like “This summer I started my own business using different models taking pictures of parking lots to see how much cement you need to fill the parking lot” and I’m like “You’re 17, how are you doing that”. So I really enjoy that. I always lead it with “I love to start everything off on a good note, so just tell me something good”.

P: I love to give a hypothetical situation, so my favorite is saying “Image that you had to give a Ted Talk, and it had to be like 15-20 minutes long, up to you how long it may be, but you have absolutely no time to prepare for it…and at this point their eyes are usually like “oh no”…..so what would you give your Ted talk on? And its mainly to see like what is this person an expert on…because a lot of times people will be like “the values of friendship” and things like that, but every now and again people will say things like “Olympic scandals” and I’ll be like “Ooo tell me more”. I also really love this one that I overheard my friend Josh asking, that’s “imagine that its just you and me in this room, and I start unloading puppies, breed of your choice. At what number of puppies would you start feeling uncomfortable?” And guaranteed everyone is like “UNLIMITED amount of puppies! No amount would make me uncomfortable!” and I’m like “Really? A tower of puppies? Dying by death of suffocation by puppies?” but then every now and then a kid will say something like “4” and I’ll be like “thank you”.

K: A realist!

H: I know the students are probably often really nervous coming in, but do you guys ever get nervous to DO an interview?

K: I don’t usually get nervous, but sometimes I think that maybe I won’t be my best self in the interview room, I mean we work in the office 8 to 5 over the summer at least. And then over the semester, every student has a laundry list of things that they have to be doing and we all walk around campus exhausted- so sometimes I get nervous that I’m not giving the person the full opportunity to share their story with me. And sometimes I’m thinking about a test that I really need to study for tomorrow, but I still need to leave all of my baggage at the door so that this person as my undivided attention for the next 30 minutes. So sometimes I get nervous about that- not fully having my heart in it. We’ve each interviewed definitely over 100 people, so I get nervous that sometimes I’m not giving each one the shot that they deserve.

P: I don’t get nervous before an interview or during it, but its after when I’m thinking if I really took the best notes on this person, or fully encapsulated in my notes the best way to evaluate this person for their evaluations, because I really want every student to have equal opportunity to be represented in the light that they gave to me, but if its on me for not doing the best note taking during the interview then I’d hope that that wouldn’t negatively impact them.

H: What do you guys hope to get out of your last interviews in these next weeks?

K: I think this is not just my goal for the next couple of months, but my goal kind of for senior year is to leave this place better than I found it. And something that is really weird about interviewing is that we will never be on campus with them at the same time because they will be entering as freshmen once we’ve graduated, and so I think that is really interesting. But I want to know that the legacy that I’m leaving behind at William and Mary is better than I found it- that there are more caring people, that they’re just as passionate as the role models that I’ve had during my time here….so I know that’s kind of a lofty goal, but that’s something that I want to do through all of my involvements senior year, to just leave it in a better place than I found it so I can be proud of the legacy that I’ve left behind.

P: I guess a goal of mine would be to just keep that level of zeal that I have in each interview, and use that knowledge and skill that I’ve developed to further develop and benefit relationships in the future. I feel like after interviewing so many people, we’ve been able to develop a skill of figuring out what makes people tick and we are really able to, in a sense, make people dive really deep and tell us things, which is really really helpful when you’re getting to meet a person and things like that. So like when I came back to school this year, I wasn’t so much like “tell me about your summer” but instead was like “tell me the top most meaningful moment of your summer” because I don’t think anyone wants to be asked “how was your summer” or “how was abroad” or things like that because that’s just so impossibly difficult to answer. But yeah keeping the same level of verve I have for each interview.

In Interview Mood

H: Humans of William and Mary, A: Alex, G: Gaby

H: So I thought until recently that the questions you guys ask were like a set thing that you always do, but you come up with them yourselves! Do you have a favorite one?

A: Absolutely do! I always start with, because I think it helps them relax, that there’s no script and that I’m just going to ask a little bit of everything. Then usually my good interviews chuckle, because they realize that that means this is an open conversation. I think my favorite is “If you had a theme song what would it be” and I don’t add a preface or any guidelines unless they ask for it.

H: …Does anyone start singing?

A: Not in response to…THAT question.

G: There’s been other singing.

A: We won’t get into that. But that is my favorite question, and we made a playlist of all of the theme songs that we got this summer. We put all of our theme songs on a Spotify playlist, and its so cool. It is SO COOL.

H: THAT’S SO COOL. Its all just from students you’ve interviewed?

A: Yeah!

G: ~laughs~You couldn’t really listen to that playlist for any particular mood though…its not a chill mood or a hype mood, its just, all over the place.

A: You have to be in this…interview mood. I always think its so cool listening to it now, I’ll hear a certain song and be like “Aw he was amazing. That was a really good interview”. I’ll just remember THAT KID definitely gave me that song.

G: What I like about W&M admissions is that they give you the guidelines of kind of what they want you to cover: academic, extra-curricular to some extent, but they give you free reign for any question that you want to ask. So I have two favorite questions…one that I came up with is “If you were a bird, where would you fly?” because you get really interesting responses with that. One that always stuck out to me was an interviewee who said “If I was a bird, I would fly to Olive Garden and eat form their thrown out breadstick pile”, and I was like “That’s…amazing. I would too”. And then, one of the other interviewers, Rachel, always started with this question “What is something that is really you?” so now I’ve started using it almost every time, asking “What is something that is absolutely you” because you can kind of go in any direction with that. You can have people responding with an adjective, like “I’m compassion, and this is how I embody it” or like a thing, they could respond with “My room is very me…” or a story, and stories are sometimes some of the most fun ones. And then sometimes I like throwing in questions too, so like if someone says they really like history, I’ll ask them if they could have dinner with any historical figure who would it be, or if they say they really like biology I’ll ask what part of the cell they would be…that can kind of set apart interviewees because the people who are really fast to answer those or really think about it are the ones that you know really ARE passionate about that.

H: Wow, there’s no way you could prepare for that!

G: Exactly.

A: Yeah there so prepared for things like “What was your biggest challenge in high school” or “tell me about your leadership experience”.

G: And I love it too, sometimes we’ll ask our question and you’ll get someone who is so animated and say they love that question, or sometimes you’ll get “….oh no.”

H: Do they ever try to ask you guys weird questions back?

G: I did have that happen once! A girl went “I’m going to throw a fun question at you!” I was floored. I was not prepared for that. What if MY answer was lame?? And she asked me if William and Mary was a food, what would it be? I said “some type of weird cheese- like a nice bleu cheese, or a nice triple cream brie”.

H: Did she take that answer well?

G: She said that she’s been asking most schools- and I was like “Oh no I’m being evaluated right now.” I responded with cheese because, not everyone likes cheese I get it, but cheese is an eclectic food- it comes in a lot of different varieties- you know sharp cheese or sweet cheese….

Friends in Physics

Brenna 02a.JPG

Did you guys meet through class?


Though we meet in Calculus.

Do you study together?

We used to, but we’re not taking the same physics classes anymore.

At William and Mary sometimes it’s hard to make friends with people from your classes, so how did you guys do it?

Physics is a weird field where if you don’t make friends, and you don’t work together, you fail.

What’s your favorite thing about each other?

(laughs) You’re funny, and we have good conversations.

Reclamation of Beauty

I’m going through this transition where I try not to worry about what others think of me.

So, I cut my hair at the end of May after my freshman year of college here, and it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I was in a long-term relationship for quite awhile, and while I was in that relationship, I had previously cut my hair and he told me that I went from a nine to a four. And I ended up staying with him, even though [his comment] totally should’ve been a red flag, but you know, I was 17, I was young. So we broke up and I got to be single for a year and really discover myself. And I realized that I had changed my ideals of beauty to match his ideals of beauty. And that’s not what I wanted for myself. And so it was kind of an “F you” to him and everybody that ever tells females, or anybody in general, that they can’t look a certain way that they want to look or that they won’t be perceived as attractive that way. I always say it was about the reclamation of my own beauty.

And now, I like my story because it’s a way for me to use [a comment] that was definitely a blow to my self esteem and my own vision of self worth as something quite powerful. And it really just solidifies the idea that you have to dress for yourself, you have to do your hair for yourself and whatnot, which we hear all the time, but I don’t think I truly understood it until I actually did it. And after having a pixie cut for four or five months, I can’t believe that I ever compromised my own desires for, in my case, a boy, but for anybody really. And for some people, a pixie cut is not their version of saying “F you” to the world. We’ve seen in society, for a lot of people, just wearing their natural texture is that “F you”, and I think that’s just as beautiful and just as empowering. So whatever it means to people, I think it’s important that we stand up and live for ourselves. Which, again, we hear so often, but it’s hard to practice it. Especially when you have a significant other who has a preference, you’re never going to be happy with yourself if you change to what they want when it’s not what you want, but I think as women we are very prone to doing that because we want to be accepted, we want to be found beautiful. As nice as it is to feel beautiful or be seen as attractive, at the end of the day, even if we all had no hair, aren’t things like intelligence and compassion more important? Because my hair says nothing about the kind of partner I’ll be, or the kind of student that I am, or the kind of daughter that I am. So at the end of the day, [appearance] is all so inconsequential, and it’s really just about what you want to show the world.

Three states, two siblings, one weekend and one band

IMG_2907.JPG“When was the last time you felt you were doing something just for you?”

Maybe this weekend. I went home for the weekend and me and my brother saw our favorite band play three concerts in a row which was really cool. I gave up all my responsibilities at school for the weekend, which was kind of nice.

“What band?”

The Avett Brothers.

“Oh, cool!”

I love them.

“When did you first starting getting into them?”

Three or four years ago, but I got really into them this summer.

“Did you see them three times this past weekend?”

Yeah, yeah it was a lot.

“That’s crazy!”

Yeah, Friday, Saturday, Sunday all in different states. We followed them.

“How far were the concerts from each other?”

It was New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, so not too far, but kinda far from here, so a lot of driving.

“How many hours of driving would that have been?”

It was six to Pennsylvania, then 2 to get back to New York, and then… I don’t know. It was a lot. It was totally worth it.

“Are you and your brother really close?”


“Is he also in college?”

Yeah, we’re quadruplets actually so there are four of us who are the same age.

“That’s crazy! What year are you here?”

I’m a senior.

“So you’re almost done?”

Yeah, getting up there.

“Do you know what you want to do next year?”

I don’t know, I worked in publishing this summer which was cool, so maybe that, but we’ll see.

“You’ve still got a little time to figure it out.”

Right exactly. That’s what I’m telling myself. I’m hoping this year is super long, so I don’t have to worry about anything for a while.

“Do all of your siblings go to school around here, or are you all over the place?”

I have two brothers at UVA, a sister at Michigan and then two little sisters who are freshmen this year at UCLA and Notre Dame, so we’re kinda everywhere.

“That’s crazy! So in your family there’s a set of quadruplets and then twins?”

Yeah, it’s a lot, a loud house.

“What’s your name?”


“That’s really pretty! Do you know where it came from?”

I don’t actually. I know my parents wanted to name me Shelby, but they didn’t.

“If you could give one piece of advice to the William and Mary community what would you tell them?”

I would say, take opportunities when you get them. If there’s something fun [happening], and you want to do homework instead, you can finish that later. Have fun, experience things.

“And you’re definitely doing that!”

Exactly! It’s kind of my mantra.

Leo-Brother, Leo-Sister

dog“Leo’s the new addition of our family, he’s like our younger brother.”

“Yeah our mom has started referring to us as Leo-Brother and Leo-Sister.”

“Whenever we are on campus, he just runs around, smelling, and experiencing everything. He really enjoys meeting new people. Especially on the Sunken Gardens where he can roam freely.”

“This is actually our second time coming to campus since school started. We’re coming back next weekend for Family Weekend too.”

“Our family is actually pretty close, so love it when they visit.”


When was the last time you did something that didn’t feel like an obligation?

Well this week is not a good example because I have midterms, so it’s been pretty busy. Last weekend ….

*Friend named Peter comes over*

I think this past weekend I got to spend some time with friends and I’m in a sorority and we had a date party and so that was really fun and it didn’t feel like an obligation. It was nice to get to do things that I didn’t have to do and it was a choice.

Is there something you try to do if you have free time?

Yeah, I like to go for walks around campus because it’s really pretty — especially when the weather is like this — and to just be outside as much as I can when I have free time.

Especially during midterms it’s hard to give yourself some time to sit back and relax.

That’s sort of what this is, too, is I got my homework done and now I’m hanging out until my last class.

Oh, wait. Do you have classes late on Friday?


No I thought that was like illegal here or something!

Yeah, it should be, but, alas, I have a class at 3:30 every Friday.

Good for you for sticking it out.

I was just texting him about how I wish I was at the beach.

So you said you like taking walks, um, do you just go by yourself or …

It depends. I mean, if people aren’t busy it’s nice to go with other people, but, you know, if I can’t find someone to go with me, I’ll just go by myself.

What’s important to you in your free time/in taking time for yourself?

For me it’s important because I just, sort of, lose my drive to do work when I’ve just been doing work constantly or doing things that I have to do all the time. It’s nice to do things that even if free time and giving yourself time becomes an obligation, it’s nice to do something that’s a choice or is a choice in that moment instead of something that you have to do all the time and gets kind of tiring and stressful. I feel like you have a choice.

No, that’s definitely awesome. What are you studying here?

I’m a European studies major.

Oh, cool. Have you gone abroad?

Yeah, I was abroad last summer and I’m going to go abroad again in the fall

Friend: Ask here how many times she’s been to Italy.


How many times have you been to been to Italy?

I’ve been to Italy seven times.

Is there a reason? 

I did a short term exchange program in high school and then I had gone with my family a few times before that, and then I just have a bunch of friends there so I like to visit them and then I’m an Italian studies minor as well.

Oh, that’s so cool. What got you interested in everything?

My whole town — I live in New York — is mostly of Italian descent, so that’s part of it. And then the really cool exchange that I did in high school really made me fall in love with the people and the country and it’s just like a second home now because I’ve been to that town so many times.

That’s awesome. Do you ever imagine yourself living over there?

I maybe would like to. I don’t know, the economy over there is kind of rough and they’re having a really hard time with the refugee crisis, but I think it would be cool to live there for a short time, maybe.

So what year are you?

I’m a sophomore.

Cool, I’m a freshman.


That’s insane that you traveled so much in a short period of time.

Yeah, I’m really lucky to have been able to do that.

Were you interested in this in high school and everything? 

Yeah, but we didn’t have Italian or any sort of classes on that sort of thing in my high school because I’m from a really small town. So I was really excited to come to school and take Italian here and really expand my horizons.

That’s really cool.

Yeah, and I’m a TA for Italian right now.

Oh cool! Good for you. I’m from Massachusetts. Talking about the Superbowl and Massachusetts.

What are you up to this weekend? More midterms or…

Yeah, I have to write a paper for a midterm on Monday, so lots of that stuff. Maybe some shenanigans with this kid. We’ll see.

What’s your favorite thing to do with friends besides, like, walking.

I like going to the beach. I don’t know. (At friend) What do we usually do when we do fun things? We just hang out?

Friend: We, like, harass each other. That’s a sign of true friendship: when I can show up and sit here and laze, and then I’m gonna leave. Like, you don’t even need to talk. That’s a sign that you’re friends.

Exactly! Their presence just brings you comfort.

Friend: Yeah.

Just, like, hanging out, honestly. Like listening to music, watching a movie or something. Just anything.

*Laughing and directed at friend* I’m sorry, I just can’t get over the fact that you look really nice and then you are wearing your Tevas.

Friend: That’s my summer look.


Friend: I just got ice cream.

How was it?

Friend: It was great. And I spilled ice cream. I got a cone and it was like, really bad because you know how it’s a constant battle? It’s really hot out, so it melted really quickly and it started dripping all over me and on my sandals. I didn’t spill any on my clothes, though, thank goodness.

That’s good.

Friend: Oh yeah, but I spilled some on my —

The Tevas?

Friend: Yeah.

Not the Tevas!

Was it caf ice cream?

Friend: No, I went to Kilwin’s.

Who’d you go with?

Friend: Lacey.


Friend: It was a new friend of mine, so the goal is to not look like an idiot, but I did, because I spilled it all over myself.

But also it shows that you are a real human and you’re relatable.

Friend: True.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your non-obligatory adventures?

I think doing random, spontaneous things is really fun sometimes, especially when you’ve had a busy week. Our friend has a convertible and one day last week we just decided to go for a ride because it was nice out. Or yesterday, I just decided to go get sandwiches out of the blue and we went to local and ended up hanging out there and talking to the guy for two hours. Just little stuff like that is really fun.