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Exchange to the College of William and Mary – by Teagan Daysh

 

The first week at William and Mary College was an amazing and crazy busy time for everyone involved. They expect you to hit the ground running and participate in everything that the college has to offer in which I quickly found out quickly was what the college was all about. The first week was the official orientation week, which was full of fun-filled get to know each other games and introductory welcoming speeches explaining why you decided to choose the college and what you hope to get out of your experience. As much as we all complained about it at the time (as it was compulsory and took all day everyday) we all learned to appreciate it in the long run as it forced you out of comfort zones and into the realm of making new friends in a very short period of time. However the highlight of the whole orientation experience was definitely the convocation in which all new students walk through the historical Wren building and into the college following a specific path through the Sunken Gardens which was lined full of various TWAMPS (aka typical William and Mary students) anxiously waiting to give you a high-five and welcome you to the college. The fact that they go through such lengths to make you feel welcome is just one representation of The William and Mary spirit in which will truly hold a special place in my heart as I have never been to a place so welcoming which makes newcomers feel they are instantly apart of the tribe. As the college was established in 1693 (which is nearly a hundred years before Australia was even settled by Great Britain) this campus holds true to be the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States (after Harvard) in which there are various historical traditions such as convocation that are still present to this day. Having schooled various American presidents on these grounds including Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler this associates the college with a great sense of pride in which this special kind of college spirit is present throughout. It was not until I started writing this blog that I realized how hard it is to pin point my initial highlights of the college as I have had such a blast the whole time. Firstly the College itself is also located in the middle of a forest right next to Lake Matoaka which offers various activities for students to enjoy such as canoeing and taking deep hikes into the beautiful forest in which I enjoyed plenty of times, especially in my initial few weeks when school work was minimal. The dining halls on campus are definitely a highlighted experience as well, having so many options to choose from including Italian, Asian, Vegan and various other desert and salad bars which definitely make the experience equally exciting and overwhelming among the bustling social dining halls. I am not going to lie, in the first couple of weeks I definitely put on a few more kilo’s than normal as the excitement of having chocolate ice-cream and pumpkin pie every night was just way too much to handle, which is a common scenario that happens to first year college students here known as the freshman 15 (i.e 15 pounds). I have also found the professors at this college like no other, being so passionate and honored to be teaching at such a historical place makes them truly an inspiration for students to aspire to making it easy to form very special bonds. As my major here is business related I also had the privilege of studying in the Mason Business School in which I was extremely lucky to witness a guess speaker in my first couple of weeks called Strauss Zelnick who is the chairman of a multi billion dollar corporation called Take-Two Interactive Software Inc who gave a very inspiring speech about leadership and how to make it successfully in the business world. Last but not least there is also the Greek Life here that as rumor holds is the oldest Greek life in the country. Although I am not apart of a sorority myself it has definitely added to my American college experience, as is something that is not present in Australia. Thanks to the Greeks there are various parties every weekend (and sometimes during the week) that provide a place for stressed out students to wind down and relax (with a little help of alcohol). At these parties there will be the well known red cups and beer pong games that every Australian imagines a college party to be (as seen in American movies) as well as the occasional keg stand if your lucky. All the various traditions that Greek life entails, such as hazing for fraternities and rushing for girls is truly like no other and must be witnessed by all for a real American experience.

Apart from the college there are also various other highlights associated with the very town in which the College is located, the historical Williamsburg, which along with Jamestown and Yorktown forms part of the historical triangle that is symbolic of America’s pioneering history. The College itself is actually located right in Colonial Williamsburg which is a spot that attracts millions of tourists each year as you can walk up the historical streets and feel like your back in the 1600’s with the actors setting the scene of a walking museum where you can see how ye old Americans used to live.

Overall I personally believe I could not have chosen a better college to attend as feel so privileged to be apart of such a well-known college full of rich history and tradition.

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