Monday, August 10, 2009

New Experiences, Same Old Town

by: Richard Walsh

Summer in Williamsburg is a beautiful thing. I’m not taking any classes, I have the campus to myself, and I think I’m getting to know the bouncers at the delis on a first name basis. No, I did not figure out a way to break into Unit A (the KDR House) and hide out there until everyone comes back for fall semester. This summer I’m interning in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as a Senior Interviewer. Along with ten other rising seniors, I’m interviewing prospective students, leading campus tours, and doing projects for the Dean Staff. I’ve interviewed a ton of interesting high schoolers, and have certainly been impressed, surprised, and entertained by what I’ve seen thus far. It’s also been a blast getting to know the other interns better, both on the job and outside of work.

This summer has shown me that some of the most common sayings you hear throughout your life are actually quite accurate and useful. Here are a few universal truths that have been reinforced for me over the past few months:

1. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

You really can’t. It’s amazing how often I’m blown away by an interviewee who at first glance appears to be incredibly awkward or out of touch with reality. Everyone has a story, and you really never know what’s going through someone’s mind. Often times it’s the people you least expect who tell moving stories about personal tragedies, life-changing events, and mind-blowing coincidences. On the same token, I’ve met Eagle Scouts, EMTs, award-winning actors, and nationally-ranked equestrians who have little to say when it comes to who they are and what they truly believe in.

2. “Just be yourself.”

Don’t pretend you’re someone else, because you’re not fooling anyone. This piece of advice is almost frustrating because it’s so easy to understand yet so difficult to actually follow. Some of my best interviews have been with students who simply speak their mind and are honest about who they are. Don’t tell me you love colonial history and idolize Thomas Jefferson just because you think that’s what I want to hear. I want to know who you are and what makes you tick, whether it’s the Spanish language, heavy metal, or ballroom dancing. Just – be – yourself.

3. “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Adjusting to the whole 8am – 5pm professional work life has been somewhat of a challenge for me. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reminded that my health is indeed closely tied to how much sleep I get. Going out to the delis is a priority for the interns, but I now understand that I really can’t go to Corona Night at Paul’s on Wednesday and expect to be very productive on Thursday. In addition, if we don’t get our interview write-ups done on time, our boss won’t sign our paycheck, so staying on the ball really does determine my level of wealth this summer. Lastly, I think Benjamin Franklin was right when he connected sleep with intelligence – it’s just not wise to try and operate on an empty tank.

4. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

My roommate for the past three years and brother in KDR, Julian, is living with me this summer, one room away from me. You can interpret this as you wish.

This summer is certainly flying by – I can’t believe it’s already August. I will be here in the ‘Burg through August, so if you stop by the Admissions Office for a tour or info about W&M, I just may be there to assist you. While summer here at W&M has been awesome, I can’t wait for fall semester to arrive. Unit A, here I come!

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