A New Beginning
08.20.2015 - 09.21.2015 73 °F
The College of William and Mary, I have arrived.
Hello to all! I hope everyone taking the time to read this had a wonderful summer, and that you are transitioning into the new school year with ease. Where shall I start? It has been difficult to find the time to simply sit down and write this. You all know me and know that I tend to naturally fall into the trap of being busy. But, what a fantastic place. The College (so they call it) is beautiful. I arrived around the 20th of August to greet a new roommate, Nico, who is from Miami (Key Biscayne) and lives in Northern Virginia (NOVA). We get along very well, and have already become close friends.
Orientation differs greatly from that of St. Andrews. There was no shortage of mandatory meetings, many that didn’t necessarily pertain to me as I was part of the Transfer Orientation group, but the OA (Orientation Aids) were extremely welcoming and made that experience a bit more bearable.
The College is rich with the history of our founding fathers, the beauty of red brick and extensive forestry, and the humidity of Atlanta... I had a few immediate responses to my placement back into the US. First of all, the food is MUCH better, which is interesting because most students see the WM meal plan as mediocre at best, whereas for me, between the variety and more importantly the availability, this American cuisine couldn’t get much better.
Another immediate response was that I felt I’d transported back to high school. Not in a negative sense, just simply because I’m in more classes, more times a week, with more assessments. Within each of those classes the grading criteria is divided into participation, quizzes, postings, midterms, and it seems that no exam carries more than 30% in weight. The positives about St. Andrews were that throughout the semester, there would be one to two big assignments that held a lot of weight and then almost all of my exams would carry more than 60% of entire course weight. So, St. Andrews was positive in that sense that more free time was allowed on any given day, but the negative was that when it was time for assessments, it was high pressure, and there was no room for bad days. Here, although I’m in class more, there is more room to recover from a potentially bad day. The professors here are incredibly interesting, dedicated, and of course intelligent. One of the other immediate differences I noticed was the difference in words… cheers, mate, posh, cheeky are all but nonexistent in the American vernacular. It’s been a lot of fun explaining all the various terms and phrases to my new friends.
Convocation was full of festivities and excitement. Virginia Supreme Court Justice, Bill Mims ’79 was our annual convocation speaker. The weeks have been busy with class, I’m continuing my radio show (I’m very excited to be interviewing the President of the College of William and Mary, Taylor Reveley in about a week – check out my podcast page at https://soundcloud.com/peter-myer), my jazz piano lessons, IR (international Relations Club), Linguistics Club, Bird Club, and various others. I more than anything, miss my friends from St. Andrews. Appealing to that friendship void, I’ve also rushed, and accepted a bid from the fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. I spent a lot of time meeting a bunch of different fraternities, but ultimately found that I fit in best with the guys in Beta (shout out to Uncle Joe and Ross Waters). I’m starting to train for my 5th marathon, but have yet to choose one. I’ll probably be running it near February.
Since I’ve been here, I took a trip to Virginia Beach with a friend of mine as well as visiting numerous friends at the University of Virginia for the UVA vs WM football game. William and Mary was far closer to victory than I would have ever anticipated.
I think college is a time to learn, reflect, grow, explore, and define the person you want to become: A place to figure out what excites you. Having come back to an American collegiate system, I unfortunately, can’t help but notice the general student aura that is racing, anxious, and overstressed. This is not native to William and Mary, but rather a culture that we have created. I think among some of the things I’ve really learned from St. Andrews is to take a step back to figure out what excites me to the extent that I can enjoy college while working smarter, not harder – a balance that I know we all struggle to perfect.
I’m extremely happy to be at this incredible university, and I feel grateful for the opportunity to pursue an education, a self, and an experience similar to few.
I’ll leave you with a list of things I’ve learned in the past year. It’s important to record these kinds of things – they help measure growth.
1. I’ve learned how to not let the little things bother me… as I did in high school… to do so now would mean perpetual stress
2. I’ve learned how to learn… in an academic sense… to apply knowledge that I’ve learned as opposed to memorization
3. My two perfect working conditions include (I’m a big advocate for the right working environment) 1) weather close to 72 degrees, crisp, with a slight breeze or 2) anywhere near water
4. I’ve learned to make sure to do the things I love… to do the things that excite me
5. Travel is truly an invaluable gift… to see a many people, a many places. It’s the most important thing I will ever do. An encounter with the unfamiliar can teach us how to to rethink the familiar way we’ve always done things... to rethink what we thought we knew so well about the world – this is important because it is exactly this type of reevaluation of our actions and how we conduct ourselves that indicate growth… maybe we don’t do things perfectly all the time, but traveling allows us to think comparatively. Travel allows us to develop a personality to which we are comfortable – to figure out definitely, but not statically, what type of person we are, and the one we work to become.
6. I guess I’m becoming an adult because I’ve developed an affinity for black coffee
7. I’ve learned to appreciate my parents more – love you both.
I hope everyone is doing well, and I’ll check in soon. Life is too short not to be excited on a daily basis.
Find that place where you are happy… a place where pain is absent from the body and trouble in the soul.
Always the best,