Dinwiddie isn’t a place I go back to to hang out because it’s beautiful, or even nice. It’s just a place where memories happened. Freshman year, that was my dorm, and those are my people. They’re my family. That’s why this is a sacred space for me, not because it was at all, again, beautiful or even clean or anything like that. I don’t come back because I miss my room or because I miss the lounge. I come back because that’s where those friendships happened. I can point to places and say “Oh, that’s the kitchen where Lamar almost electrocuted himself by putting a fork in the toaster!” Y’know, things like that that have been fun moments and brought us together as a group.
I chose the computer science lab because I’ve pulled the most all-nighters here. Legitimately, I think sophomore year I lived here. At the end of the semester I pulled three all-nighters in a row, slept here, woke up, worked some more, slept again. Yeah, it was crazy. It’s also a place for people to collaborate, so computer science people come together and they’re like “what the fuck is this problem?”. I don’t know, that’s probably the biggest reason why I chose it. I didn’t want to choose a place that was aesthetically pleasing but didn’t have any memories for me. And this place has a lot of memories, even though it isn’t the most beautiful place.
I really wanted to live in the Hispanic House, because as a transfer I didn’t have a freshman hall experience, and here I found this nice community that felt genuinely welcoming. I’ve made some of my best friends here in the Casa. I couldn’t imagine living in another place where people don’t really know each other. I really love being able to come back every day—especially since I’m graduating soon—to a great group of friends who really get my vibe. Even when I feel like there’s nothing to do, there’s always someone here, and it’s a great feeling.
When I was a freshman, there was a time when I thought I was going to drop out of William & Mary, because I didn’t think I fit in at all. In one sense, I was in the perfect place, but I felt like this place and “home” were highly incongruent. So I went on a walk, on a cider run. And I came to this stand, it was in the winter. They had a fire, and I came over because of the fireplace, since I like the smell of campfires. It was like November, there was only one worker here. I was trying to be calm and then I started talking to her about…how much people were obsessed with entertainment, and that was one of my frustrations with William & Mary and people here, that they spent so much time and money on entertainment and there didn’t seem to be any necessities in life anymore. And I felt like people at home struggle with necessities so much that they didn’t have any time for entertainment and it was hard for me to balance being in between those two worlds. But we had a really good talk about her life experience and my life experience and probably talked for like an hour, even though I should have been studying for a midterm. But it was nice and calming and the fireplace smelled really great.
I’ve tried to come back here. Every time I come through CW, I stop here and look for that same employee, but she’s never here. She told me that she rotates through different spots, but I guess she just never rotated back. But she was where she needed to be on that day.
I really think the Sunken Gardens is the centerpiece of campus, it’s kind of the heart. Convocation just happened and I remember doing that with my hall. I feel like this place is the least stressful spot on campus. If it’s warm out, you can come and relax or study, but even in winter, when there’s snow here, it’s just beautiful. It’s a spot that unites the entire campus.
This place is kind of secluded from the rest of campus. You can come here and forget about all the busyness and all the work you have to do and all the pressure that’s on campus. Because this is a little far away, it helps me clear my head and just get rid of any thoughts I’ve been struggling with. It’s a good place to come and not have to think for a while.
The first place that came to my mind was the dock behind Botetourt because I used to go back there to enjoy the quiet and be alone, but I changed my mind and chose the Crim Dell Amphitheatre instead.
Every Wednesday there’s this event here called Worship Wednesday, and it’s not only one group that comes but just people come out to the Amphitheatre and they worship together. I’ve gone a lot, but it was weird for me going there at the beginning because I’m not really out there with my faith and it was strange to go and worship out in the open, like “what am I doing?” So it was always weird for me to worship there. But the reason I’d choose to talk about that instead of anything else is because I think it was very important for stuff like that to go on.
During my four years here, I’ve heard people talk about the TWAMP stereotype, of people always being stressed and letting their GPA define them. And although I see that stereotype defied by so many students, sometimes those stereotypes are based on truth and there are a lot of people at W&M who struggle with those aspects of life here, and they’re trying to find identity outside of school but it’s hard because college puts a lot of emphasis on quantifying what you’re doing. But the thing about Worship Wednesdays is that it’s the most unquantifiable thing there is. You go there, and people see you worshipping, and it’s kinda weird. Or at least it feels weird to me because I’m sure that some people think I’m kind of a freak being out here, and while obviously not that many people think that, some people definitely do. So I don’t do it so people think highly of me, I don’t do it to have something to put on a resume, it’s not quantifiable. I just think it’s important for students to see that sometimes there are things that are just so much more important than just doing schoolwork all the time. I think we have a campus where a lot of people struggle to find fulfillment and aren’t very happy in their day-to-day lives. For me, I found that fulfillment through trying to follow God. So I want students to realize that sometimes it’s okay, and actually good and essential, to do things that can’t be given a point value in order to find yourself. So the Crim Dell Amphitheatre will always have a lot of meaning to me as a place where people can find their identity outside of the typical W&M student bubble.
This was one of the first places where I took a walk with my boyfriend. Every time he comes and visits me we take a walk through CW. We always go all the way to the end and touch the wall of the Capitol Building and walk back. It’s a time where we just talk and tell our thoughts and feelings and let ourselves go. For some reason, being here lets us do all that. I also think it’s a place where you can just come and gather yourself, alone.
I love large fields of grass, maybe partly because when I was younger I spent a lot of time in my apartment complex backyard. It’s just grass, but there’s so much you can do there!
There’s so much that happens on the Sunken Gardens and so much of my college experience happened here, or at least, my favorite memories. There are some very cliché college things that happened, like freshman year I was sitting here and some friends came and were playing Frisbee and one guy started playing the guitar and it was all very cliché, but awesome! I spend the most time here, and I’d say I do more studying here than in the library. I sit out here to talk to friends, to call home, to just sit and take a nap. I walk across the Gardens practically every day. I’ve always had classes around the Sunken Gardens. This year I walk from Tyler to McGlothlin and then back to Tyler because I have three classes back-to-back. And it’s great. I walk across and it’s early morning and the sky is blue and there aren’t so many people around. It’s almost meditative to walk across and just look at the sky and the trees and the grass.
Other powerful moments happen here as well. Like after the election, the rally/vigil was here. The big events like Convocation are here, and picnics, and so many fun events. And…Oh! And the most important—well not the most important, but one of the most important events—streaking on the Sunken Gardens is one of my favorite activities here. I’ve streaked the Sunken Gardens at least ten times. I’m always doing it with people. So it’s a bonding experience with those other people, and with the Gardens. You walk past here and think “Oh, I was naked there…and over there…and someone saw me naked there!” There’s the person you plan to streak with, and the people that accidentally see you, and there’s the people who plan to streak at the same time even though you didn’t know it, and then you’re streaking together, and it’s great! It’s so fun to do that.
When you come out here at night, and there’s not that many people around, it’s really beautiful and peaceful. Also in the snow, and when people start building snowmen.
There are no negative feelings associated with this place. I just love it here.
The Hispanic House is the place where I’ve grown the most, in my whole life. Before I lived here, I considered myself to be super introverted and as a kid I never liked to talk a lot. Now, that is very, very not true! I talk a lot and I do a lot of impressions and other weird things. I feel like I’ve grown into myself a lot more, and the Hispanic House has played a huge role in that. Especially last year when we had such a close community, it was all these people with a common interest in Spanish language and Hispanic culture, but we were all so different and I could really be myself. It sounds like the plot of a cheesy novel, but this place has so many memories for me. It combines all the people that I love and what I love most about being at W&M.
I love it here because freshman year I used to go on strolls at night into CW and I would always come to Wren first and just sit here in the courtyard and take everything in before going on. Then I’d walk as long as I could to clear my mind, and come back and sit here again. My boyfriend also confessed to me over there on Confusion Corner, so that was really cute.
Freshman year was a lot of me walking around here in the evening, and I like to come back every so often and just be like “it’s been four years, and it’s still a nice feeling to just walk around and have a place to come back to.”
I walked this staircase a lot when I was freshman, sophomore, and junior. While I passing by here, I’ve had lots of conversations. Some deep ones, some not so deep ones, but all significant just the same. It’s called the “Grim” Dell, but it’s surprisingly beautiful, especially at night. There’s a lot of nature around here. You can hear the frogs croaking. The ducks are here; it’s one of their favorite spots. You can see turtles as well. At one point, we had the Pirates of the Grim Dell and they floated around. It’s a place where most people don’t seem to find beauty, but I’ve had a lot of great memories passing by here, and I certainly think that it’s one of the places that I’ll remember all my life, this staircase specifically. There’s always different ways to climb up the staircase. It’s just one of those places that I’ve grown to appreciate because I walk by so often.
I think the Arabic House was a transition point for me. I lived here for three years and I’ve met some of the greatest people here. I had the fortune to meet two different tutors, one of whom had a profound impact on my life. She came from Morocco, spoke very little English, and was the sweetest person you’ll ever meet. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. Just developing a relationship with someone where you communicate with few words and lots of gestures, it teaches you a lot and you have to adapt to different situations. I know I’ve seen her struggle, but myself and some other people were always really close to her and I still talk to her. She’s one of the main reasons the Arabic House will always have a special place in my heart.
I just like Matoaka a lot. I’ve come back this way drunk a lot, with friends a lot. Where I’m from, we don’t have a super green area like this. This campus is lit. Also low-key I walked back here with a friend-slash-boo-thang and I’ve come this way with the current boyf. I’ve come a ways in my romantic development. When the sun is shining through the leaves, I feel –not to be dramatic—a little awestruck. It’s just so lush. It’s rich and feels calming and earthy and grounded.
Before I even came to William & Mary, when I was still a senior in high school, I would see people posting pictures of this place. My whole freshman year I always wondered where the dock was, but could never quite find it. Finally, about a month ago, I came to this place with some friends who had built a raft and were launching from here. I remember getting to the dock and it was an “ah hah” moment. I’d finally found this place! We were in the middle of the lake and it felt great being able to see the stars and the moon as we drifted on the raft. I was there next to my girlfriend, and she said “We’ve got to come back here!”
Last week was her birthday. I wanted to make sure it was a very special day for her, so I brought her here. I’ll never forget the look of joy on her face! There’s a lot of great memories here. When you lay down on the dock, it’s cool because it looks as if you’re in the water. It’s so peaceful, especially right now because all the leaves are changing colors. When you listen to the silence…you can hear the sounds of nature. I love to feel the warmth of the sun here, I just feel at peace.
I have a lot of late night memories at Morton. It’s where I’ve spent some of the most formative nights with friends. Studying for finals, doing other work. It’s where I’ve had more than half of all my classes. When I think of my college experience, I think of Morton as a building where I’ve learned the most and had a lot of growth. Especially in terms of my major, since I’ve taken most of my major classes here. Morton has been an integral part to me gaining the knowledge to do what I love in the future.
I feel like there’s a collective understanding of Morton as a horrendous building on campus. Everybody talks about the treacherous walk up and down the stairs and the fact that it’s sinking into the ground. So for everyone taking classes there together, especially in the basement, there’s a collective feeling of solidarity.
It’s also a testament to how much I love William & Mary. If I can love one of the worst buildings on campus, then I definitely love the rest of this school.
This is a very special place for me. For most of the dance shows I’ve participated in during my time at the College, whether they were with CSO, or Bboy, or Bhangra, we’ve had our practices here. The act of dancing, making friends, and the whole creative process and seeing it all come together, multiple times, is such a rewarding process and it was always great to take a break from studying or be done with class and just come to the Andrews lobby where you’d see everyone that you knew, and just have fun together.
I grew up Episcopalian and went to church a lot. But when I went to college, I didn’t do anything with religion or church, I left that at home and fulfilled it as an obligation when I was home and my parents wanted me to go to church. But I never really found “my place” in a physical sense when I was first at college. I’ve transferred colleges twice. At my first college, I tried to find a cool place where I could feel present and calm, but never managed to do that. And even though my second university was much more peaceful, with a very different setting and feel, I still couldn’t find that place.
Then I transferred to William & Mary, but I didn’t get in to Canterbury, the episcopal association here, at first. I got a concussion, had migraine issues, had to go on medical leave, and met my girlfriend. She has her own religious background and story, but after visiting me in Annapolis and going with me to my home episcopal church, she decided to check out our episcopal ministry down here. Now the episcopal church has a strong connection to William & Mary, because it was the state church of England during colonial times. So Bruton Parish in CW sponsors the ministry on campus, and the Wren Chapel was built for the Episcopal church, even though other denominations can use this space as well.
So she gets into this, and once I came back to William & Mary after my medical leave, she encouraged me to come to evening prayer here, put on by the episcopal campus ministry. By then, I had learned a lot about being present and being calm and mindful, but I still felt the calmest I’ve ever felt while at college right here. I didn’t expect that to happen to me in a religious place, because I never thought of myself as really fervently religious. I figured it was part of my heritage, but not a deep part of who I am. It turned out that it mattered to me emotionally, and I still come here for evening prayer pretty consistently. Maybe I should be more consistent…but it’s still a significant part of my experience here.
This is the spot that I’d always come to call my dad. I’d come here every night and call him, especially my freshman year in Jefferson. I still sometimes come here, even though I can’t call my dad anymore. I like to come here and sit and just meditate.
This is the study room that I always find myself going back to. This has been a trend for every year that I’ve been here. Whenever there’s an exam and I want to be isolated from the rest of what’s going on in Swem, I come here. Because I love Swem. I love seeing my friends and interacting on the first floor, but when I really want to be alone and be in my own space, this is the place I end up in. And this is the room that I’ve bonded with so many different people in my little group studies. Some of my closest friends and I have spent lots of really late nights here.
Freshman year I found this trail because I’d go for runs a lot. I actually found a lot of trails, but this is one of my favorites, and I remember spending a lot of time here. Second semester freshman year was a bit tough emotionally, so I spent a lot of time walking along this trail, thinking about things. It was a nice short walk where I could go out and then come back in. I spent a lot of time with friends on this trail too. We’d just go adventuring through here. And then I realized that a lot of the big thoughts I was having that year occurred here, and a lot of the questions I was trying to figure out. And I remember sophomore year, when that big snow storm happened right at the beginning of second semester, a group of my friends came here, and I don’t know why, we just naturally decided to walk back here and I felt that meant this place signaled something more. I don’t know that I’ve spent a significantly large amount of time here compared to somewhere else, but the quality of that time has been particularly good.
Even though a lot of people outside of W&M don’t know about the Echo Wall, I think it’s one of the coolest places on campus. That’s because you get here and you hear about it, and it sounds really cool and exciting, but you feel really uncomfortable and awkward if you’re with other people actually doing it. But once you do, it’s really fun!
It’s about getting over that initial hump of doing something that would make you uncomfortable. Once you do it, you realize it’s better to just go all in and be weird or do whatever and be uncomfortable because it’s the most rewarding thing to do.
Wren symbolizes some of my most fun experiences at William & Mary, like Convocation and the Serenade at the President’s house. It also sums up what W&M is for me. The fact that it’s the oldest academic building in North America and we still use it for classes just represents how we have a long history, but are also very forward-looking and live in the present.
The Casa made me feel welcome right away. From day one, everyone seemed to want to take in everyone else and go everywhere and do everything together. I thought it was awesome; it was the community that every freshman hall strives to be but doesn’t always achieve. One memory that made me realize why I love it here happened within the first week of last fall. One of the residents had a gathering in his room and a lot of people in the casa came, everyone was welcome, and a lot of the tutors showed up as well. I thought it was really cool because we had so many different languages going on, and everyone was dancing, and it literally made me feel like I was back in Europe. The Language Houses overall are a really great resource on campus, especially for people who might not have the opportunity to study abroad, and provide a really good snapshot of a lot of cultures. And the fact that all of the houses intertwine in a lot of ways makes for a great exchange of culture, and happiness!
The second time I came to William & Mary was the fall of my senior year of high school. I took a stroll down DoG Street with my best friend who went here. It was a beautiful day like this, all the leaves were golden and red and I just fell in love with the area. I knew a lot about the school already, I’d done an interview, visited, taken a tour, etc., but CW I fell in love with during that fall. Once I actually came to William & Mary, I spent a lot of my freshman year here. This is where I got so much closer with the people I met here. Not only would I go in to CW to read books in the afternoon and go on cider runs with friends, but I would also come here for with freshman hallmates for Blue Talon birthdays—those are classic—and go to the bookstore, eat Cheese Shop, and watch Grand Illumination. My a capella group also got super close in CW; we had a lot of gigs here, especially in the wintertime. We would stand in the freezing cold around the ice rink and sing carols together and bond in that time.
Any sort of guests I’ve had at William & Mary so far, I’ve brought to CW just because DoG Street is so nice. I’ve been to the farmers’ market so many times, and Aroma’s is my favorite place to get food now. It’s just such a charming place and I’ve really gotten close to people here.