Washington College is not for everyone and I won’t pretend that it is. It’s small, tight-knit community, involved professors, endless opportunities, grant money galore, and the beauty of Chestertown isn’t for everyone, I guess. But in all seriousness – it’s important to find out what kind of college is best for you.
First, above all else, you need to figure out what’s most important to you. Is it small class sizes or is it location? For example if you want to major in Political Science being near Washington D.C. will probably come in handy (although not necessary at all). Or if you’re really interested in performing on Broadway one day, go to college in New York City. Or say you want to skip class a lot… WAC is not your school. Our professors care and they will not accept a student who cares less than them. College is a personal decision so make sure you know what you want before you decide to attend anywhere.
The cliché for college life is that it’s just one big party. If that’s your philosophy, WAC is also not your school. Don’t get me wrong us shoremen still get down, but that’s not most students’ number one priority. If you want to party non-stop just don’t go to college and live near a college. Then you’ll have way fewer papers to write leaving yourself more time to party it up. Saying this I am NOT trying to say that WAC isn’t fun – because trust me I’ve had more fun here than I’ve had in my entire life, but it is a different kind of lifestyle than partying every night in a big city.
Chestertown is a small town and the nightlife reflects that. If you’re looking for a Project X kind of party every weekend I wouldn’t come to WAC (there are some… but they are few and far between). Instead a typical weekend could consist of going to a party where the lights are actually on so you can talk and get to know people! There’s fun music where people dance with each other not on each other. And most importantly everyone’s welcome! There are people who chose to drink and people who chose not to, but everyone is still very much partying together. We may not be as much of a party school as UMD, but we do party like no other on May Day, Birthday Ball, and War on the Shore.
Another thing you have to consider when deciding what college is best is the academic program. Go talk to the professors and the students in any and all major/minor you’re interested in. Make sure they have what you’re looking for!
Last and definitely not least – don’t make any snap judgments. College is an adjustment. I’ve seen way to many people transfer after one semester and that’s just not the way to do it. You can’t possibly get a good enough look at a college in one semester let alone one tour. Do you research, ask questions (my email is firstname.lastname@example.org), go on more tours, discuss with friends!! Don’t make any quick judgments, but also don’t settle.
Happy birthday George Washington! Thank for securing freedom for Americans and also for giving all WAC students the best party of the year. That’s right, tonight is Birthday Ball - the most anticipated and rocking celebration of the year. This year the theme is Harry Potter, and although I’m not a fan of Harry Potter, I am a fan of everything birthday ball. In order to help celebrate George’s birthday I’m going to list some of my favorite quotes from him!
1. “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.”
2. “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”
3. “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
4. “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”
5. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.”
6. “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
7. “It is better to be alone than in bad company.”
8. “True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.”
9. “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”
10. “The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”
I knew the second I stepped foot onto WAC’s campus that this was going to be my second home. I felt comfortable, I loved the feeling of having so much fresh air compared to my visit of George Washington University. I don’t know why I was so attracted to WAC because I do consider myself more of a city girl than one that can feel at ease in a rural community - I need more excitement than that. I think I knew WAC was for me when I walked onto campus and was instantly greeted like they were expecting me (and they were, but it certainly wasn’t like that at any other college tour). My tour was one on one and she really got the chance to get to know me. I felt like everyone around me wanted me there; I felt supported. Although some of that freshman year awe has faded, this college is just as supportive of me (and in fact the support has grown) since my first step on campus.
A huge aspect of the support I receive is from my professors. I have a few professors in particular who are constantly looking out for my best interest. They know all I want to do is travel so they send me numerous emails every day listing various opportunities to travel around the world on a college student’s budget. Dr. Shad, my advisor and international studies professor, made it possible for me not once but twice to travel to places I could have never dreamed of before. Dr. Shad single handedly found me a dozen grants to apply to and off I went a month later to spend two months in Tanzania. It was the most amazing time of my life. Then just two months after I got home I was off to Morocco for a conference on the Muslim World. Truly amazing. Another very supportive professor is Dr. Lampman, an anthropology professor here, who actually went on the Tanzania trip and took the time to send me an email after he had left Tanzania and I was still there to ask me how things were going. He is a pro at sending emails that always make me feel very supported in my education. Just a couple weeks ago he emailed both my boyfriend and myself reminding us that the Cater Society application was due soon and that he would be happy to write us both recommendation letters. That’s an excellent professor right there. Thank you both! For any prospective students you MUST take a class with at least one of these professors - they’re both phenomenal professors and amazing advisors (more like life-coaches).
Then there’s the friends I’ve made while I’ve been here and they are equally as supportive. Of course the people you are friends with the first week of college are probably not going to be the people you’re still friends with by your sophomore year, but I am amazed by how so many of my first friends are still so supportive of me.
My one friend Anna texted me on the morning after my boyfriend left for South Africa (for study abroad) and offered some words of encouragement assuring me that everything was going to be ok. I almost cried when I read it because it made me feel so much better and much less alone. Thanks Anna :).
Then I have my two best friends who I actually met in Tanzania - Zee and Kayla! Our support for one another is more silent, transferred through supportive glances and long hugs, but equally as meaningful and they have made my sophomore year the best year yet. These two I can always count whether it’s The Office marathons or building a fort (yes we really did build a fort). I love you guys and thank you!!
Then there’s my boyfriend, Dom, but if I try to put into words how supportive he is of me it would be way too mushy gushy that the whole world would roll their eyes, so I’ll just keep this more to myself. But I miss you and love you so so much!
Washington College is not just a place to receive an exceptional education, its a home. It’s my second family, actually strike that it’s my extended family - they all blend together now. Thank you WAC for being so supportive, it makes this whole college thing effortless!