The W&M First Year Experience

Entries Tagged as 'Welcome'

Healthy Living: Campus Rec/IM Sports/Club Sports

July 31st, 2018 by W&M FYE · No Comments

Hey guys! My name is Claire and I’m a rising senior at William & Mary. Like most of you, I was drawn to W&M for the strong academics and beautiful campus. However, it was also important to me to know there would be ways to keep up my active lifestyle once I arrived at college. There are so many ways to stay healthy at W&M, but I’ll touch on a few of the ways you can get involved in physical activities.


Since I was on a year round swim team in high school, before I made sure I would have a way to still be a part of the sport I loved before I even applied to W&M. I found the Club Swim Team to be a perfect balance for me. Every week, there are five optional practices for about an hour, as well as three weekly dinners! Being a part of this team has given me a great group of friends in addition to staying active even with my busy academic schedule.


William & Mary has a plethora of club sports teams, with everything from soccer to frisbee to crew to rugby. The club sports programs allow students at any level to join a sports team with several practices a week, compete against other schools, and attend social events like team dinners. Each team has a different number of practices throughout the week, but all clubs have a few team dinners and other social events as a way to bond with your teammates outside of practice time. I’ve loved being on a club team because I’ve had the chance to compete at huge events, like Club Swim Nationals in Atlanta, without struggling to balance athletics and academics. My experience has provided me with some of my closest friends and favorite memories – I can’t recommend club sports enough!


If Club Sports seem a bit too intense to you, Intramural Sports, also known as IMs, are a great way to get exercise with friends you already have! Often times, residence halls or student clubs will for IM teams to compete in a variety of sports, such as indoor soccer, table tennis, and flag football. Teams compete one night a week against other teams in their assigned division and the winning team members all receive a free IM Champions t-shirt! IM sports are a great way to get your hall all together once a week and take a short break from homework, all while getting some exercise!


If you want to stay active but organized sports just aren’t your thing, we’ve got you covered! The Campus Recreation Center was renovated and expanded about 10 years ago, so all of the equipment is new and there’s lots of space for any activity. Not only does the Rec have more traditional fitness equipment, but there are also several squash, basketball, and racquetball courts. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even take a go at our indoor rock wall! The Rec is also open from 7am to 11pm on weekdays, meaning you can workout whenever works for you.


Campus Rec offers other opportunities for students as well. The Rec runs a bunch of great programs, from the Tribe Adventure Program (which includes both the Pathways program and select weekend trips) to weekly fitness classes like yoga and body combat! This year, W&M is excited to announce some classes will be moving into the brand new Wellness Center and ALL group classes will be free throughout the year. Additionally, students can work for Campus Recreation as lifeguards, fitness class instructors, referees, and building managers.


And regardless of the level of physical activity you choose for yourself, all William & Mary students can attend varsity sports events for free! Go Tribe!


Enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll see you in a few short weeks!



Tags: Welcome

The Rest of Your Life Is Just Beginning

May 21st, 2018 by W&M FYE · No Comments

Hi everyone, my name is Hannah Leich and over the course of the summer you will be seeing a lot of communication coming from our office (most of it generated by yours truly)! I am currently a graduate student at William & Mary pursuing my M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration.  During the school year, I work as a Graduate Assistant for International Programs at the Reves Center for International Studies and am a student intern with Student Accessibility Services through the Dean of Students Office.  In my spare time you can find me travelling the state of Virginia, walking through Colonial Williamsburg – especially on DOG Street, or adventuring anywhere outside from the beach to the mountains. I’m so excited to welcome you all to this wonderful institution and I can’t wait to support you in your journey this summer!


The summer before college is one of the most exciting yet overwhelming times.  You are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime at William & Mary’s beautiful campus and our office is here to make sure that you are prepared for everything that is about to come your way!  You have already been receiving plenty of emails (from our office and others) and those will keep coming your way – these emails have IMPORTANT information in them (read: deadline reminders, financial aid information, class registration reminders, etc.) so make sure you check you inbox on a regular basis.

Okay, so now that I know you will all be checking your emails regularly from now until your graduation (4 or so years from now), here are some tips to help ease your transition into your first year at William & Mary:

Do One Thing at a Time

Your coursework hasn’t started yet, but there are already some assignments and deadlines you need to meet.  There are deposits to get in, immunization forms to fill out, surveys to complete, alcoholedu, and college studies.  Not to mention spending time with friends and family before heading off in new directions.  Having all these things to do in just a few short months may seem daunting – but don’t freak out!

First, make a list to get an overview of everything that needs to get done.  Next, prioritize all of your deadlines based on what will take the longest to get done and what is due first.  DO NOT wait until the last day of the deadline to start, especially for any forms that require approval from multiple people or multiple steps to complete.  Remember, none of these tasks are hard, but some do take time, and they are all very important. If you don’t get all of your forms in on time, there can be holds on your account that keep you from doing very necessary things such as moving into your dorm and signing up for classes.

That being said, it’s possible for you to avoid these unfortunate circumstances by a) submitting your forms well before the deadlines, and b) calling office a week or so after your forms are submitted to make sure that they went to the right office and were processed correctly.

Use Available Resources

Use the Facebook pages made for your class to get to know other incoming freshmen or transfer students.  These pages are helpful get to know other new students and connect before ever getting to campus.  It also helps to know that you’re not the only one going through this huge transition.

Along with the Facebook pages, over the summer you will be assigned a peer advisor that will help you navigate your first semester course schedule and help you understand W&M’s COLL curriculum.  Many of these advisors were recently freshmen and are eager to help new students navigate this confusing time.  They can give you tips on the best classes and professor to take and will be happy to answer any questions you throw their way.

Don’t Forget to Take a Break!

We’ll be keeping in touch with you all summer and excitedly anticipating you all arriving on campus, but don’t spend your entire summer getting ready for W&M.  Take some time out of your summers of travelling, working, and getting ready to just stop, breathe, and relax.  Spend time with your friends and family, read that book you’ve been meaning to get around to, take up a new hobby, take time for yourself.  While you’re out there, we’ll be here getting campus ready for YOU!

Tags: Welcome

Welcome to the Tribe: Your Next Experiences

December 14th, 2017 by W&M FYE · No Comments

Congratulations to the newly admitted members of the Tribe! The next door of your life has just opened onto the next years of endless memories and possibilities.  Be proud of your accomplishment and look forward to everything you have ahead of you.

My name is Max Maiello, and on behalf of First Year Experience and everyone at William & Mary I would like to immensely welcome you to the Tribe. As a Junior going into his second semester, I speak from experience in saying that being a member of the Tribe guarantees you a multitude of life-changing memories and opportunities.

Disclaimer: this week is finals week, so I apologize if I get sentimental at any point.

Everyone’s experience at William & Mary is unique. There are dozens of variables that contribute to your own personal experience: the people you meet, the classes you take, and the organizations to which you belong are only some of many examples. No matter how much research you put into the William & Mary website or talk with current students like myself, predicting the highlights of your time here is virtually impossible.

That’s why being accepted to William & Mary is so exciting. You have no idea what is in store for you once you get here. Maybe your freshman roommate will get you hooked on Club Tennis. Maybe you’ll discover an interest in ancient Roman history and spend a summer studying in Italy. You could plan on being a business major and realize that you want to go pre-med instead. We have everything from Fencing to the International Relations Club to the Cheese Club. With hundreds of official opportunities in which to get involved, there’s a definite chance that you’ll find something meaningful unexpectedly.

One simple experience can help shape the entire course of your life. During my freshman year, my friends and I had randomly decided to explore a Study Abroad Fair with the sole purpose of “seeing all of the cool places we would probably never get to go.” Fast forward four months: I boarded a plane for the first time alone and spent the summer studying abroad in Italy. Fast forward four more months: I declared a minor in Classical Studies focusing on things I had learned while studying in Rome. Next year I plan on enrolling in beginning Italian courses to fulfill an interest in the language originating from my trip. That single visit to the study abroad fair (mainly to waste some free time with my friends) has had a significant impact on my education, my interests, and my life plans. Not only that, but pictures from the trip make excellent #tbt Instagram posts during this finals week.

Experiences would be nothing without the people that you spend them with. In my opinion, everything about William & Mary is designed for you to encounter people that will make a difference in your life. Some of my first close friends were made on the very first day of Freshman Orientation. During the first snow day of the year, my friends and I spent the day binge-watching Master Chef Junior (for whatever reason) and we still repeat inside jokes from the show.

This weekend, my planned study break to decompress is William & Mary’s traditional Yule Log ceremony, the holiday tradition of the College when students gather to listen to the school president read Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, enjoy hot cider and cookies, and bump into friends before they leave for break. During the pressure of finals, going with some of my closest friends will make it even more meaningful of an experience.

There are countless experiences waiting for you here at William & Mary, whether they’re through organizations or events or just the people you meet along the way. Regardless of the plans you already have in store, I recommend you take advantage of every chance and opportunity that you are presented. Some of the best experiences can be spontaneous.

Congratulations, and welcome to the Tribe!

Tags: Welcome

An Ambassador’s Welcome to the Tribe

November 7th, 2017 by W&M FYE · No Comments

Hey y’all! My name is Katie Brownfiel, and I’m a sophomore from the land of the best pizza, Long Island, NY. I’m an English major and soon to be double major in Secondary Education, and, like most of the Tribe, I love to be involved with campus life. I participate in quiz bowl and swing dancing, am a researcher in a psychology lab, and also love to help new and perspective students. I was an Orientation Aide this fall for GGV (Lions and Eagles and Griffins Oh My!), and since last spring, I’ve been a Tribe Ambassador.

If you’ve been to the admissions office before or after a tour, had lunch with a student, or came to a Weekend Information Session, you’ve probably seen a Tribe Ambassador. Our job is to answer any and all questions you have about student life and to make you feel welcome in our second home. We want you to love William & Mary as much as we do, so don’t be afraid to ask us questions about dorms, major programs, clubs, where to find cute dogs, or the best places to eat.

My favorite part of the Tribe Ambassador program is having lunch with potential students. Over the course of an hour, I feel as though a stranger has become a friend. My favorite lunch session involved two potential students and I sharing pictures of our pets, talking about my favorite things to do around campus, and discussing the plethora of ways that they could get involved with the campus community. After lunch I gave them a tour of campus and showed them all of the places that don’t always make the tour, the secret room in Tucker, the arguably coziest place to study in the library, and the Echo Spot, as well as the buildings where they’ll be studying in future. It was incredible to see their delighted faces as they entered Blair and Adair, the central points of their majors, and saw themselves at home there.

The most rewarding and enjoyable Tribe Ambassador session for me actually happened after my hour shift was over. A high school student from California was unable to join the tour, but she really wanted to see campus. Seeing as I was done with classes for the day, I took her on a personal tour of campus. This moment meant so much to me because it reflected why I joined the Admissions team in the first place. When I was a junior and touring colleges with my family, I already knew that William & Mary was high on my list from my online research. However, the people I met during my tour were what put William & Mary at the number one spot on my list. I probably got myself lost about three times before my tour, and each and every time, without my asking, a student came up to me, asked if I needed directions, offered a smile, and showed me the way. I even had two students stop and talk with my mom and me for half an hour about their experiences on campus. While so many other schools talk about community, generosity, and compassion in the abstract, this was the first time that I’d seen it applied so broadly.

Seeing as my favorite thing to do is answer questions, I’ll close my post with some common questions.

  1. Is there anything to do in Williamsburg/campus?

Yes and yes! No matter what you’re interested in, William & Mary has something for you! We boast over 450 clubs and organizations so I always encourage students to get involved. There is always something going on during the weekends, from improv comedy shows to music concerts to movie screenings to cultural events to sports games, so there’s no excuse to be bored. On top of all that, Williamsburg has a Farmer’s Market every Saturday and a music and arts fair twice a month – just to name two of the many activities that are steps away from campus

  1. How’s the food?

While it’s not your mom’s famous meatloaf, the food on campus is actually pretty good. We have three dining halls on campus in addition to two coffee shops, two food trucks, Qdoba, Cosi, and some cafés inside the grad schools. There’s a variety of home-style, international, vegetarian, and vegan options, and, if those don’t suit your fancy, there’s tons of restaurants in Williamsburg within walking distance.

  1. How approachable are the professors?

Professors are incredibly approachable and helpful with office hours! I’ve had a professor hold office hours in the local coffee shop, and there’s a chemistry professor who brings her dog to review sessions. It’s important to remember that professors are people, too, who also love Doctor Who and Stranger Things. If you have questions about your papers, research, or a test, please seek out your professor!


Keep calm and carry on; you’re almost to Thanksgiving!

One Tribe, One Family,


Tags: Welcome

All Roads Lead to Home

October 24th, 2017 by W&M FYE · No Comments

Hey, everyone! Max Maiello here again. For those of you who missed my last post, I am a Public Policy and Environmental Policy Double Major from Sparta, New Jersey. As a member of the Class of 2019, I intern with First Year Experience, tutor at the local middle school, and serve on the executive board of my fraternity.

Wherever you may be in the college application process, you’re almost there! Take a break from writing those essays, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and relax. This might have been one week of intense college preparation for you, but it’s one of the most looked forward to at William & Mary: Homecoming!

First off, college homecoming is nothing like high school homecoming. I can’t even remember much about my high school homecoming – there was a football game, but it was like any other weekend during football season, and maybe there was a dance?


Homecoming in college puts high school homecoming to shame. As Homecoming Co-Chair for my fraternity, Kappa Alpha, I got to witness how eventful and exciting this week could be. Since I’m not a big football fan, I find Homecoming weekend exciting for two reasons aside from the annual Homecoming Game: the W&M alumni and the W&M parade.

Alumni: I figured I should start with the most important aspect of Homecoming. The entire week exists for graduates, both recent and former, to travel back to Williamsburg from all corners of the world and celebrate the place they called home for years. When I say ‘both recent and former,’ I mean it fully. At one end of the scale, I gave tours of the Kappa Alpha house to graduates from 1983 and 1992 that knocked on our door and marveled at how different the fraternity is since their time here. At the other end of the scale, friends of mine that have graduated within the past three years flocked back to campus just to see me (not really, but I like to think so). Some of them have gone into the work force, which as a Junior I am extremely curious and interested in hearing about. Some have traveled – one of my friends spent months hiking in Alaska, while two others are teaching English in Korea and China. Some are in graduate school or law school – begging for their help on future applications is socially acceptable, contrary to popular belief. No matter where they are or what they’re doing, I’ve missed them ever since their graduation, and Homecoming is an awesome time to catch up with the amazing things they have been up to. Even when I haven’t seen someone in years, having the opportunity to rekindle a friendship and catch up on each other’s lives is a rare but meaningful occasion.

Parade: This is the main reason for my week’s sleep deprivation, but also my favorite event during Homecoming. The Friday of Homecoming is always marked by a parade that unites alumni, current students, and Williamsburg residents alike. Richmond Road, one of two of the main roads for campus and the town, is entirely blocked off and lined with an audience. It might not be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it could be considered a close second. Williamsburg businesses and student organizations do their best to build floats and walk in the parade, cheering on the crowd. Different cultural groups march and put on quick performances. Fraternities and sororities team up to decorate floats (that are elaborate for a college budget), wear specially designed shirts, and celebrate pride in their chapters. I had been responsible for the joint Kappa Alpha and Gamma Phi Beta float, and on Thursday night several of us got together with some paint and Dunkin Donuts to finish the final touches. On the way to the parade the next day, half the float flew off our truck on the highway, making the day even more eventful. Thankfully we had duct tape and a pack of gum to reattach it.


I spent this past week celebrating William & Mary, the place I am proud to call home. So for those of you preparing for College, ready to take on a new adventure in a strange place, here is my advice on leaving home for the first time.

When we graduate high school, our hometowns become places that we visit. Soon you’ll experience this, too. Your life moves elsewhere, and you take short trips back to commemorate that time with family and old friends. I love going home, but even when I do it feels weird being back after a few days; my friends have gone to other colleges, my little brother’s schedule dominates the front of the fridge, and half of my things have been moved from my room to my dorm room.

Right now, my home is William & Mary. This is where I am making memories, be it float painting at 2am or chasing a cardboard house down the highway. Those both occurred within only 12 hours of each other, so imagine the plethora of other memories being made during your time here.

Next year, after I proudly graduate from the College and embark on becoming rich and famous, I’ll have a new home in Washington D.C. or wherever I end up moving to. Just as my hometown in New Jersey is somewhere that I cherish and visit, William & Mary will be another place that has shaped who I am. Maybe it sounds cliché, but the friends that I’ve made here and the memories I’ve made with them will last forever, and that’s what really makes a place a home. I’m sure a similar phrase is embroidered on a pillow, but that just means it has to be true.

Two years from now, I’ll be visiting William & Mary for Homecoming weekend for the first time as a graduate. This time I won’t have to chase flying cardboard down a highway, but will have the leisure to watch the parade with my fellow alumni.

William & Mary is my home, and soon you can call it yours as well.

Tags: Welcome