15 Things You Should Do While You're At William and Mary

As a graduating senior, I’m getting a little nostalgic about my time at William and Mary. And while I will certainly miss my friends, my professors, and the beautiful city of Williamsburg, there are many little things about William and Mary that I will miss as well. As I prepare to graduate, let me share some advice about things you might not think about doing (but definitely should) during your time here.  

1. Ride the bus and trolley. 

During my freshman year, I was terrified of using public transportation. But after learning how to navigate the Bus Time application on my phone, and figuring out the bus and trolley stops, I basically became a professional trolley rider. The buses and trollies are really helpful when you are sick and need to get to Walgreens for medicine, but can also take you to fun places, like restaurants and the movie theatre. 

2. Visit the local library. 

You may think that Swem has everything you will ever need, but the Williamsburg Regional Library has a lot to offer. From book sales where you can get like-new books for dirt cheap, to a large assortment of movies and music, WRL will become your go-to location for entertainment. Students can get a library card and gain access to online perks like e-books and free music downloads. 

3. Eat at as many local restaurants as you can (and pick your favorite). 

Campus is surrounded by so many great restaurants. So, when you can’t stand another plate of chicken and rice from Sadler, branch out and eat somewhere new. My personal favorites are The Cheese Shop and Culture Café. 

4. Become a regular customer. 

When I first arrived on campus, I thought I would be frugal, and only drink coffee made in a dining hall or my room. That lasted for about a semester. Then Cosi opened in Lodge 1 during the spring of my freshman year. I quickly discovered that I loved their iced coffee (with a tiny shot of vanilla), and three-and-a-half years later, Amanda still knows my coffee order and has it waiting for me when I walk in. When you’re away from home, it’s nice to have some sort of consistency and routine and becoming a regular customer at your favorite place is a great way to do that.  

5. Use the Media Center.

Personally, I feel that the Media Center is one of the most underused resources on campus. It’s literally a room full of expensive production equipment that you can use for free whenever you want. There is literally no downside. While many people use this resource for classwork, you can also use the equipment and editing software for personal use. So go ahead—start a talk show or a podcast (two things I did), or just check out a camera and have a photo shoot with your friends. 

6. Find your people on your terms. 

When students first come here, they are encouraged to make friends by joining clubs and organizations. But, let’s face it, clubs aren’t for everyone. Sometimes, you meet people through classes or residence life. Or maybe you just meet at an event. There’s no wrong way to make a friend, so just get to know people in the way that makes you the most comfortable. 

7. Go to at least one AMP event. 

Alma Mater Productions (AMP) is another hidden gem on campus. This organization plans and executes events for students that are low cost or even free! AMP consistently hosts staple events such as concerts, trivia nights, and film screenings, but they also have fun events like laser tag and murder mystery dinner. Make sure you attend at least one AMP event in your time here!

8. Pet Gordo as many times as possible. 

Gordo the therapy dog is a celebrity on campus. It’s practically a rule that you have to pet him. 

9. Develop a weekend routine.

It can be easy to get bogged down by academics, especially at a school like William and Mary. And while you should focus on your studies, try to carve out some time for yourself and your friends on the weekends. I personally enjoyed going to the movies on Sunday afternoons (thanks, MoviePass) and painting my nails on Sunday night. Knowing that this treat was coming up on Sunday made it a little easier to focus and manage stress throughout the week. As they say, treat yo self! 

10. Try to have no class on Fridays at least once. 

I’m not saying you should plan your schedule with the sole purpose of making this happen but let me tell you—waiting seven semesters for a Friday with no classes was worth it!

11. Take a random class. 

Even though you are required to take a certain number of classes outside of your area of study, it still becomes easy to pigeonhole yourself into a select number of academic departments. This is the last time in life you will have the opportunity to learn random facts and skills, so take advantage of that. Sign up for an activity-based class or a random film class. These fun classes can help balance the more intense courses associated with your major. 

12. Get to know those who take care of you. 

We are so fortunate to have loving individuals in the residence halls and dining halls that put enormous effort in to taking care of us and making sure our time here is as comfortable as possible. Take the time to stop and chat with them and thank them for all they do.  

13. Go to one of your RA’s programs. 

It may be awkward, but your RA puts a lot of time and energy into planning initiatives for you and your hallmates. Show them you care by making an effort to attend at least one initiative each semester. They are often fun and have lots of free food! 

14. Branch out from your freshman hall…

Freshman halls are great places to meet people. But don’t get caught up in the idea that you have to be forever friends with them, especially if the only thing you have in common is that you lived in the same building for a year. During your time in college, you may meet people that you have more in common with, and that is perfectly ok. 

15. But stay close with those forever friends! 

For every freshman friendship that doesn’t work out, there is one that lasts for forever. Spend as much time as possible with these special people. You will want to make as many memories as possible.