Photo courtesy of Lydia Brown '17
My name is Lydia Brown ’17 and I’m from Forest, Va. I graduated from William & Mary with a B.A. in English. Currently, I’m a Ph.D. student in English at the University of Virginia. Here are my top 10 reasons I love W&M, in no particular order.
1. Beauty — Everywhere you look on campus, you’ll find something to marvel at: Wren’s brick arches, Matoaka’s lushness, azaleas on the trails or magnolias along the Sunken Garden. Walking back from Swem or a house party late at night makes a campus walk nothing short of magical.
2. Traditions — Convocation, Yule Log, Seniors’ Candlelight Ceremony — when I think of these, I think about the specific comfort of being in a crowd of W&M students, bundled up in coats and pressed together with my friends in front of Wren to hear “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” or crying-laughing in graduation gowns huddled under a tent in pouring rain. You get the sense that you’re part of something special. You get the sense that you’re close to people.
3. Quirkiness — Everyone here is a “nerd.” It’s a given that many people here love Harry Potter. People have all kinds of interests — from poker to geology and salsa to, yes, meme prowess — and W&M embraces them wholeheartedly. You can and will be weird here.
4. Friendliness — This goes along with quirkiness. There’s a down-to-earth lack of pretentiousness here. You’ll say hi to someone you know almost every time you walk through campus. People you meet in class or a club will become your genuine friends, even if you thought you didn’t have anything in common besides that class or club. Social boundaries don’t really exist here. Athletes, musicians, chemistry researchers, creative writers, sorority sisters, etc., blend into borderless friend groups.
5. Honor — While we love our community, W&M students recognize it is not perfect. Students are not afraid to speak up about what is right. Mental health and racial injustice are only two of the many difficult topics W&M students have confronted head-on.
6. Professors — They have particularly high expectations but treat you like peers, not just students. I’ve wiled away hours in professors’ office hours talking about family weddings, travel, goals, food, life … hardly anything class-related, but all the more important because of it.
7. Standards — They’re high. Possibly as high as they get. But in its rigorous small-liberal-arts-school way, W&M prepares you for life — for hard conversations, complex problems, critical and creative dialogue. You don’t blend into the background here: W&M teaches you how to articulate your take, your knowledge and your passions. You’ll come out more prepared for the workplace or grad school than you might know.
8. Humor — Regarding high standards and meme prowess, W&M students don’t try to take themselves too seriously. Whether noting its plethora of gourmet dining options, overwhelmingly high sports attendance, or vibrant nightlife, W&M never misses an opportunity for a good humble jab or two.
9. History — With history comes bragging rights, of course, but to be part of a 325-year-old narrative is something special. You become part of the W&M narrative; and the W&M narrative becomes part of you.
10. People — This sounds cliché, but it’s true: you find your people here. Your life-people. This is the absolute best part about W&M — what makes it hardest to leave and easiest to come back. They are what makes W&M home.