William & Mary
Warning: This article was written and edited by a bunch of cynics. How utterly typical for modern American humor.
|The College of William & Mary in Virginia|
|Motto||Nequeo, mihi studendum est (I can't, I need to study.)|
|Established||1693 and unable to shut up about it|
|School type||Jesuit - DAMMIT! For the last time, IT'S PUBLIC!!|
|Head||W. Taylor "Bueller? Bueller?" Reveley, XXII|
|Location||Williamsburg (motto: "Where history reduces unemployment!"), Virginia, USA|
|Campus||Lovely colonial and modern architecture, beautiful grassy fields and trails through old growth woods and streams; persistent, mysterious fart smell|
|Endowment||$78.34, but all those unfortunate Virginia BMW owners can save a few hundred a year on car tax and feed their families now.|
|Faculty||15 (see "Endowment")|
|Mascot||Exhibitionist eagle thing|
“A place of bountiful learning without the distraction of alluring women; they have my deepest pity.”
THE COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY
The College of William & Mary is a small state university located in the tourist trap of Williamsburg, VA. Founded in 1693, it is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States besides Harvard University, and the first to admit students who were not the children of wealthy alumni. William & Mary (use of "and" in place of the ampersand is an honor code violation and grounds for expulsion) has a number of firsts for American universities:
- The first university to brag about an honor code to prospective student tours.
- The first to have an alumnus of a surveyor licensing program elected President.
- The first to have a school for Native Americans and hence the birthplace of the gradual destruction of their culture.
- The first university to form a law school and train lawyers. The administration and Student Assembly have recently issued a joint statement expressing the College's "profound regret for this inhumane act."
- The first Greek-letter fraternity.
- The first administration to punish a fraternity for serving minors.
- The first to lower its central quad into the ground in an effort to hide streakers, and to discourage the unsightly use of wheelchairs.
William & Mary is regarded as an academic powerhouse among public universities. It has a first-rate undergraduate program, if the number of self-pitying AIM away messages about studying is any indicator. It also has top-ranked graduate programs in arts and sciences, law, business and education. However, most of the American public is completely unaware of these virtues or even the College's very existence as it is rarely mentioned on ESPN.
William & Mary has several notable alumni, including the U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, and James Monroe; U.S. Chief Justice John Marshall; Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart; Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin; actress Glenn Close; and, um, that's about it. Even they would probably deny it if asked on camera.
In the year of 1693, twas founded a school called Bill n' Mary! The early 1690s the leadership of the Virginia Colony dispatched the Rev. Dr. James Blair to London to secure a charter for "a certain Place of Universal Study, a perpetual College of Divinity, Philosophy, Languages, and the good arts and sciences ... in order to end those bloody self-righteous Boston Puritans' monopoly over Good Schooling on this Continent." On February 8th, 1693, Blair secured a Royal Charter for a college to be named in honor of the current monarchs, William III and Mary II, or the Virgin Mary according to just about any ignorant lout that a student talks to while home for the summer. Education in the colonies was no longer restricted to wealthy Calvinists but rather open to young citizens of all backgrounds ("all backgrounds" in this case meaning sons of white, Anglican landowners). 330 acres of picturesque yet stagnant-smelling swamp land were obtained and in 1699, the College's first building was completed and named, probably the night before the grand opening by a procrastinating subcommittee, The College Building. When the addition of new buildings to William & Mary's campus threatened to create confusion, The College Building was renamed the Sir Christopher Wren Building in honor of the famous English architect who was supposedly its original designer. Wren is said to have observed the final product of his design and declared it to be, "Aesthetically pleasant yet remarkably sturdy; surely capable of withstanding no fewer than three guttings by fire."
No discussion of William & Mary's history would be complete, or the least bit interesting, without mention of its many proud traditions. Traditions are held in the highest esteem, to the point that many students have been forgiven for appearing in Girls Gone Wild videos by making up some story about Thomas Jefferson exposing himself for a portrait while he was a student. Some of the finer traditions:
- Singing the alma mater at the College President's house during freshman orientation so upperclassmen can sneak in the back and steal silverware.
- Streaking the Sunken Gardens (the central quad; pictured at right) late at night.
- Playing Ultimate Frisbee on the Sunken Gardens late at night in order to see streakers.
- Swimming in the Crim Dell (a campus pond) and then binging on antibiotics.
- Jumping the wall of an historical mansion's garden late at night. Just simple trespassing; sorry if you were expecting something scandalous.
- One night in December, the College President dresses up as Santa Claus and reads How the Grinch Stole Christmas to an assembly of students. If he so much as misses one letter, every student there will tell all their friends that he was drunk beyond belief.
- Harking upon the gale (a line from the alma mater and a late-18th century sexual euphemism. The exact meaning is uncertain but an historical diary mentions that one would not want to wear any tri-corn hat that had been used in the act)
- Walking across the Crim Dell Bridge with one's beloved after it rains (because the Crim Dell stench is weaker then). It is said that if a young man kisses his lady at the middle of the bridge on a moonlit night, he is destined to get her bra off when they get back to his dorm (maybe panties too if his roommate is not there).
- Skipping football games to study.
- On the last day of classes, graduating seniors set fire to the Wren Building.
- JT's Date
"It's My Cr**s in a Box!"
Step one: Cut a hole in a box!
In 2007 history, tradition, religious politics and the timeless institution of attention-whoring collided at the College. Gene Nichol, the College President, apparently bored with merely fighting to get enough funding from the state legislature to avoid bankruptcy, ordered the cross (pictured to the right with a foot-long hot dog for scale) removed from the altar of the Wren Building Chapel. Under his new policy, the cross would be displayed automatically on Sundays and be available by request at any other time. Nichol thought this would be a received as a reasonable compromise, because he had spent his entire life in a remote cave without ever hearing of such things as Jerry Falwell, the Christian Coalition, the Kansas School Board, etc.
Step two: Put your icon in that box!
A gigantic controversy was sparked by the decision. Against Nichol's order were those who felt that a space could not be holy to them unless it excluded people with different beliefs. Supporting him were folks who were happy that they could feel more comfortable in a chapel that they never used or really even cared about prior to the whole hubbub. Anti-crossers cited the lofty principle of church-state separation, conveniently forgetting that not one centavo of government or college funds was used to obtain the cross (a local church donated it) and that it could be removed for the duration of any event either by advance request or simply picking it up and putting it in a paper bag. Pro-crossers cited the lofty principle of tradition, conveniently forgetting that the chapel did not even have a cross until the 1930s because it was built at a time when Anglicans considered church sanctuary iconography, crosses included, to be papist heresy. Petitions were circulated. Editorials were printed. Facebook groups were formed. Bob Marshall, a state delegate known for indulging textbook Freudian reaction formation by introducing numerous anti-gay-rights bills, suggested that the legislature replace Nichol with a less hell-bound person. Finally, a donor who apparently had more money than worthwhile life priorities threatened to renege on a $12 million pledge if the cross was not returned. Sensing that far too many voices had spoken about the issue for one man to decide the outcome (which is why he is woefully unqualified to be President of the United States), Nichol convened a committee to suggest a solution to the problem of the cross. Shortly afterward, the committee made a recommendation that Nichol would implement. At long last, the victorious party would be...
Step three: Add an informational plaque and find a decent but not too prominent place in the disputed room to permanently affix the box!
Well, nobody really. The committee recommended that the cross be returned to the chapel, but this time it would be off to one side in a glass case with a little plaque explaining its history. It would neither be on the altar for those who wanted it there nor removable for those who wanted it out. At first glance this would seem slightly less than Solomon-esque, but it actually quelled the dispute. Both sides apparently decided that one chapel was not worth the risk of the committee cutting another proverbial baby in half and agreed to shut up about the whole thing. Thus was the problem solved for the foreseeable future, or until the Ku Klux Klan starts wondering how large a donation it would take to get the College to stop accepting black people.
"Academic boot camp." "Pressure cooker." "Study factory." These are just a few of the labels for William & Mary's reputation for grueling academic intensity. Virginia high school seniors who apply to the school are often told, "Don't kill yourself," and other such bits of advice from classmates with delusions of wittiness. Rumors persist of students having scores of exams every semester, being required to write essays in the hundreds of pages and needing to win Nobel Prizes just to receive B's. That rumor is not true; everyone knows that Nobel Prize quality work is always stolen by professors so considering the effect winning one would have on grades is moot. However, there is a trade-off. Unlike many schools that win bowl games, professors at W&M, including (or even especially) the particularly demanding ones, actually care about students nearly as much as their own careers. Also, students are led to believe that grad schools and employers know that a 3.0 on the resume of a W&M alum reflects hard work and intelligence rather than an average number of weekly sexual partners (largely because there are few students at the school who look good enough to sleep with). This is simply not true, as many graduates soon find themselves losing out to Ivy graduates with fewer qualifications. Dismayed, the vast majority of students find themselves teaching or in low-paying government jobs by the age of 25, and never speak of their college years ever again.
A bachelor's degree from William & Mary requires 120 total credit hours. A student is also required to fulfill General Education Requirements (GERs), which are designed to ensure that a student will graduate with exposure to a wide range of subjects in addition to his or her concentration. In reality they mostly expose students to the stress of registering for popular classes with minimal slots and then rewarding their labors with hard classes for which they are not really interested in working. This is why GER actually stands for GPA Erosion Requirements. In addition to these, each student is required to pick a subject in which to major, of which there are many options:
Various W&M Majors
- Art/Art History: Have more debt than modesty? The Art Department can help you! They pay top dollar to students willing to pose nude for drawing classes. Of course, when the creepy guy three tables over in the library studying the Renaissance sculpture textbook starts undressing you with his eyes, he'll really know what he's doing. Oh, and if any of you are considering changing majors just to take Drawing, pay a visit to a nude beach some time and see what percentage of people who are willing to drop trou for strangers are attractive enough to be worth the effort.
- Hated class: The one that explains how your unbelievably beautiful expression of the human soul is decorating an Ikea bedroom display while some talentless hack got six figures for drunkenly slapping a brush around and calling it "abstract."
- Biology: Pre-meds and seemingly half the people in your freshman dorm. Are experts at their subject because the classrooms and bathrooms of Millington Hall are full of practical examples of their lessons on bacteria, protists and fungi.
- Hated class: Organic Chemistry. In addition to being ridiculously hard, it ceases to resemble any previously learned chemistry after Day Two, the labs all smell horrible and it's usefulness expires the second you finish the MCAT.
- Business: Finding the love of one's life in college can be a risky venture because many people will change once they graduate and start to endure the real world. This is not true of business majors. They have all checked their souls at the door of Miller Hall by the end of sophomore year and lost the claim ticket by the end of junior year, so what you see is what you will spend the rest of your life with in total financial security.
- Hated classes: Think about Business Ethics for a few moments and the joke will write itself.
- Chemistry: Hated for actually finding Organic Chemistry enjoyable yet beloved for turning the ISC into a distillery during summer research.
- Hated classes: Any 8:00am lab. Having a dozen different ways to accidentally burn one's face off is never a good thing when half-awake. Thursday night labs are just as bad.
- Classics: Study ancient languages such as Latin and Koine Greek and the civilizations that spoke them. Well, that would fall under History, wouldn't it? Maybe they study the literary and aesthetic contributions of the ancients... except that would be covered by the English and Art History fields. Actually, no one is really sure what Classics majors study or what useful purpose it serves in the job market except for Classics majors themselves. All we can tell you here is that you should consult with one if you want to learn how to swear in a dead language.
- Computer Science: Were geeks in middle and high school but some actually mature into people with a bit of sex appeal once they hit college. In any case, they will all be millionaires by 35, so marry one while he is still too poor to date models. There is one downside to the major. You know how doctors are always getting asked for free medical advice by their acquaintances? It will be worse for you because your friends will expect you to actually do things to their computers. You'll be like a doctor whose friends ask not only for free advice but free prostate exams.
- Hated classes: Anything taught by a rare professor who actually knows more than they do.
- Economics: Expertise in economics is somewhat like being the Greek mythological character Cassandra. Cassandra was given the gift of prophecy, but cursed so that no one would believe her predictions. Econ majors have the gift of nearly prophetic knowledge about the most important forces to shape civilization, but are cursed in that the average person considers this information to be boring beyond belief.
- Hated class: Econometrics, a difficult subject concerning the application of statistical and quantitative methodology to economic by now you have probably stopped paying the least bit of attention to this so I am going to write a naughty haiku, just because I can get away with it. Ate McDonald's lots, quarter-pounders every day, butt has own zip code. And just in case, although the subject is challenging, it allows the study of economics to grow beyond mere theory and be applied to real life as a practical science.
- Education: Remember all those crabby old battle axes who gave you detention? Their next generation is right here, only young, sexy and still idealistic enough to be turned on when you call them "farmers who plant the seeds of America's future." Don't ask them to wear plaid skirts, though. It's just plain tacky.
- Hated classes: Sociology; would rather wait until they actually start working to be slapped in the face by the realities of education in this country.
- Engineering: One of the most marketable bachelor's degrees in existence. While most newly minted BA holders cannot even finish job interviews without getting laughed out of the room, successful engineering students have $60K/year positions lined up before they even start their final undergrad semesters. Naturally, this major is not offered at W&M.
- English: There will always be three or four smoking on the steps of Tucker Hall between the hours of 7:30 am and 2:00am. Consider ten-page papers to be "minor homework." They know where to score pot and will not only have casual sex with you but also engage in enough intelligent conversation to keep you from feeling guilty about it. Also, will probably live a pauper's existence upon graduation. Anyone considering an English major should be advised to keep a close eye on male professors. According to Animal House, the most accurate documentary of college life ever filmed, English professors are notorious for stealing girlfriends.
- Hated classes: Anything having to do with grammar. Anywhere else in the world these students would be called "Literature Majors" but for some very silly reason they are called "English Majors" in this country. Hence they have little interest in studying who v. whom rules when they could be finding deep, life-affirming meaning in a poem that was actually just written to get a pretty woman to sleep with the poet.
- Government/Political Science: These are the tools everyone hates and will become the massive tools that society hates: lawyers, lobbyists, think tank hacks, staffers of politicians or even politicians themselves if they're lucky(or just have rich parents with connections). Even worse, they have Morton Hall, which is actually sinking an inch or two per year into the ground, ingrained as a standard for building quality so do not expect much urban renewal or good school maintenance in their districts. At least at this point they have no need to cover up drinking and promiscuity, so they will be decently honest massive tools.
- Hated classes: Anything that teaches how to actually run a country, rather than how to advance in the career of running a country.
- History: Those considering a history major be warned: Many silly people will comment that it must be wonderful to see your lessons come to life in Colonial Williamsburg. You will either have to mutter a vague agreement or explain, slowly, that you actually take more interest in Republican Rome, Enlightenment-era Europe or any other part of the 5,000 years of recorded planet-wide history besides southeast Virginia from 1607-1800. Also be warned if you talk to a history major. Do not mention that Christopher Columbus discovered America (see below) or any other popular fallacy unless you have about twenty minutes to kill.
- Hated classes: Anything on medieval Europe. The illiteracy rate was about 90%, technology was behind what Rome had 1,000 years earlier and the most remarkable thing to happen was the Magna Carta, which was no different than any numerous other balance-of-power shifts between well-organized nobility and a weak, inbred king except someone took the time to write it down. Face it, those people sucked; except for the Vikings of course. Those mead-chugging badasses landed in New England nearly 500 years before that piss-ant Columbus mistook the Bahamas for India.
- International Relations: Seemingly half the people you meet as an upperclassman. Will travel to more places and do more amazing things by the age of 27 than you will go to and do in your entire life. However, business or computer science majors will make more money by the age of 27 than they will in their entire lives.
- Hated classes: The foreign language requirement of the major. C'est tres difficile et je ne vais jamais lui utiliser.
- Mathematics: Decently likely to get jobs after graduating and also know the odds of hitting that open-ended straight draw on the river.
- Hated classes: Any class that requires more than 130 written words in a semester.
- Music: Essentially the students who spend the majority of their four-years at William & Mary in Ewell Hall. Consists of the weirdest congregation of the W&M campus, and there are some weird people at W&M. If you are a Music Major and aren't double majoring, you're pretty much screwed for life. Have no need to worry about grades and spend too much time practicing in the god-forsaken, claustrophobic practices rooms.
- Hated classes: None. Pretty much every class is fun and easy.
- Philosophy: Due to its location in Blair Hall, this major is popular among W&M students who pick their major solely based on the quality of its building. Can you think of a more practical reason to major in philosophy?
- Hated classes: Introduction to Philosophy. It's not the class itself that they hate, but the fact that they cannot get into their own major's intro class until senior year because it always fills early with people trying to knock out a GER.
- Psychology: Biology majors who could not handle Organic Chemistry and students smart enough to realize that they might as well pick an easy major as long as they do not know what they want to do with their lives. Are the most interesting of all the majors to talk shop with because they get to take entire classes on human sexuality and psychoactive drugs.
- Hated classes: Statistics ("We have to learn math?! I thought this was a soft science!") and Research Methods ("Ethics committees?! How am I supposed to play god with people if I have to pass ethics committees?")
- Physics: It is an exciting time to be a physics major. A large addition was recently constructed on Small (the actual name of the department building, not a description) Hall in order to house a giant research magnet. This has produced opportunities for many fascinating projects such as... well, you're going to have to ask a W&M physics student because the author of this section majored in a social science and hasn't so much as calculated a Newton or ohm since the 11th grade.
- Hated class: Any magnet lab after forgetting to leave cell phones, credit cards or (especially) body piercings containing iron or steel at home.
- Religious Studies: A priest, a rabbi and an imam walk into a bar. The imam immediately walks out because of the Koranic proscription of alcohol in Sura 2:219. The rabbi walks out after noticing that the kashrut certificate is from an organization whose standard for kosher wine is derived from the Jerusalem Talmud while he, like many other rabbis, considers the later work of the Babylonian Talmud to be preferable. The priest, finding himself alone, orders a glass of wine and spends the next two hours musing on Aquinas' commentary on the Eucharist in Summa contra Gentiles. With a degree in Religious Studies, you can understand what all that meant and come up with numerous other ways to tell the joke that only other majors will find funny. You can also learn the art of walking on constitutional tightropes while being "taught about religion, not 'taught religion'" under government funding.
- Hated class: Anything taught by Prof. Tiefel. He actually retired in 2005 but the walls of Wren are so permeated with the grief of students failing religious ethics classes that mention of his name can make current students shudder even though they do not know why.
- Sociology: These are the people who are going to stand up for the little guy and make the world a better place. Talk to one for ten minutes and you will feel like a racist, privileged, apathetic scumbag in comparison. Try to get past this if you can; these are the sort of people who throw parties like Woodstock.
- Hated classes: Any with a professor who suggests that G.W. Bush is a slightly better than Pol Pot.
- Theater: Do not look for theater majors in their dorm rooms. They only use them for sleep and clothing storage (sometimes not even that). These students actually live in the side lobby of PBK Hall. They are friendly, accepting and laid back, except during tech week when they radiate enough stress to incinerate anyone who comes within five feet. Are the one major that even English and Sociology concentrators can pity when it comes to post-graduation job prospects, but they have come to terms with this and thus are very cheap dates.
- Hated class: Drafting; basically a class about everything difficult and boring but absolutely necessary for setting a stage.
Oh, you're actually reading this section?! We did not think it would be worth writing since only three sets of people actually give a damn about W&M sports and even they have no need for information from this article: W&M athletes (only care about their own individual teams. Obviously already know more than an encyclopedia can offer), rich alumni (don't need to know anything other than who to bribe and/or sleep with in order to get more prestigious parking spots for football games) and freshmen in their first two months on campus (can go find some Aristocrat vodka if they're really that bored).Think we're being too cynical? When the football team's 2004 playoff run attracted fair weather fan attention, an administrator actually had to send out a mass e-mail explaining that one does not make noise when the home team is on offense. Seriously! Most of student body DID NOT KNOW THIS!!! Screw it, we're not wasting our time here.
It is worth noting that the William & Mary athletic symbol, a green and gold WM with two feathers, was barred by the NCAA in 2006 for being insensitive to Native Americans. When asked why the NCAA had a problem with this but not with Florida State University having a half-naked man in war-paint and a feathered headdress chuck a spear into the 50-yard line, a spokesman mumbled something inaudible and ducked into a champagne and stripper-filled stretch limo bearing the CBS logo.
Though any one at the prestigious college of William and Mary (fuck you honor code), will tell you that football is the biggest joke since the faculty,(or at least some of them) take it seriously! For instance, one particularly motivated student, whose extra curricular activities included A Capella, Improv Troop, a student directed movie, and a service fraternity (he was a freshman so he was rushing at the time), attempted to make his life a little easier by switching into a different chemistry lab section. Having worked it out with the Council on Academic Status, he was feeling pretty dapper about it when, to his horror, he was called into a secretary's office. There he was informed that the lab section he had transferred into was kept open so that football players could use it when they were leaving for games on Thursday. Though he assured the faculty involved that he had a mandatory meeting for one of his various clubs at the time of his reassigned lab, they would hear none of it. Football players get letters from their coach and they get to use the lab if they want. Our hero continues to attend whatever lab he wants to this day, and still occasionally gets angry emails.
One would be tempted to think it an historical irony that William & Mary, with its tepid social life, is the birthplace of the first Greek-letter fraternity in the United States. It is a little-known fact, however, that W&M was considered the top party school on the continent during the 18th century. The sultry southern air prompted many a young lady to open her blouse an extra inch as the hour grew late at parties, which was quite a sight considering how low necklines already plunged in those days, and fan herself in an effort to cool off and catch the eye of a strapping lad. The combination of skin and sweat, made all the better if word got around that it had been less than two weeks since her last bath, elicited thoughts in many young men involving the back seats of the horse-drawn carriages their fathers had allowed them to borrow. William & Mary students of the late 1700s were known to brag about their weather and collective virility, after a few ales, with witticisms such as, "Harvard men doth suffer frigidity from both their clime and feminine companionship," and, "A Yaley's goodwoman wearth such thick shirt and such thick skirt that he cans't divine how grand her girth."
Anyhoo, the events of the 1770s (if you don't know what we're talking about you may want to rethink moving up to fourth grade next fall) created quite a political stir in North America. As has been the case ever since Socrates corrupted the youth of Athens by <gasp> encouraging them to think, institutions of higher learning became centers of debate on current events. Of course, in those days, "We value all opinions in this classroom," had yet to completely replace, "Questioning professors is punishable by the caning of thy insolent buttocks," as standard university policy, so students sought in off-campus refuges in which they could express themselves. In December of 1776, five William & Mary students at such a refuge decided that their intellectual exchange could be all the better facilitated if they formed a society with a secret initiation ritual, secret handshake and Greek letters whose meaning would so secret that whispering, "Um, what does the Beta stand for again?" was eventually made an official part of the secret initiation. That the five founders happened to come up with this at the end of a long night of drinking at a tavern was probably just coincidental. Thus was Phi Beta Kappa born. Chapters were soon established at other universities. Other fraternities were started by bitter students whom Phi Beta Kappa rejected. The phenomenon spread, creating an institution in which the future leaders of a young nation could exchange new ideas, serve their communities and form lifelong bonds of noble brotherhood with their peers. Then a chapter somewhere let in some guys who thought it would be a good idea to tie heavy objects to pledges' genitals and the rest is history.
- SUMMARY FOR FRAT BOYS AND OTHER LAZY READERS: Had it not been for William & Mary, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" would just be a stupid question rather than an inspiration to millions.
First you want to hear about this school's athletic program after the most interesting thing Sports Illustrated had to say about it is that livestock shows are sometimes held in the football stadium and now this? Well, not only did you manage to find an article about an obscure university on an even more obscure humor website but you actually read through a list of all the majors (yeah, we did leave out Linguistics, but if any linguistics majors are upset they can distract themselves by learning about some obscure phonemes here) and still want more. Perhaps it would be more gracious on our part to indulge your
easily amused puppy mentality indomitable Tribe spirit. Enjoy!
Just to clarify terms: Old Campus refers to the section of W&M that was built earlier, while New Campus refers to the section that was built later on. If you think that this note is unnecessary then you apparently have never watched a Tonight Show where they do a Jaywalking bit.
Approximately 75% of William & Mary students spend all four years living in College housing. It's easy to see why: The City of Williamsburg has limited apartment space and a law on the books forbidding more than three unrelated persons to live in the same dwelling. This may make little sense for a college town, but the authorities cite concerns about overcrowding (which, as should be obvious to anyone who has visited and seen the population density, is a load of chamber pot contents. It is actually because they secretly resent having college students or anyone else under the age of 60 living within the city limits). Students are guaranteed housing for three out of their four years on campus. Freshmen are required to live in a freshman dorm (see below) unless they have an extenuating circumstance such as religious nuttiness or having parents who live in Williamsburg. These are rarities, since the former usually go to institutions more geared to their tastes and anyone so adverse to excitement as to not consider 18 years in Williamsburg enough is more likely to become a hermit in rural Mongolia than matriculate at a university.
Freshmen live in dorms populated exclusively by their fellow freshmen. Since new students usually do not know many other people at school (unless they went to Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia magnet high school that typically has about 5000 members of each class go to W&M) this puts them near people in the same boat and enables them to make friends. It also enables them to regularly stay up until 2am, share cheap alcohol and lose their virginity on bunk beds, sometimes all at once. The Residence Life office does not offer incoming students their choice of dorms, but rumor has it that requests may be considered. This is probably nonsense since res life offices at most universities are minimally concerned with student happiness, but just in case we will offer some information on the advantages and disadvantages of each dorm to help you make an informed choice:
- Barrett: Decently close to Old Campus, the Marketplace and Barksdale field, underwent major renovation in 2001 so it's in rather nice shape, used to be female-only so you can amuse alumni by telling them that you live in the "slut hut." However: The aforementioned renovation was due to the discovery of asbestos in the walls, although they got it all out. Probably.
- Botetourt Complex: A collection of rundown buildings all the way at the edge of campus and a long walk from everything but scary woods. If you've ever been to prison, you'll feel right at home. However: No; there is no "however." Try not to live here. If you do, you can ease the pain by sneaking off into the woods to get high. Don't worry about supply; less naive fellow students will be there to help you.
- Brown: Recently Brown Hall was decided to be too good for freshmen, so it is no longer available for freshman housing.
- Dupont: Fully air conditioned, decently close to the library and New Campus, and filled with some of the most apathetic but cool people you'll meet. However: At the top of a hill, which may not seem so bad at first but wait until the first time you stumble home drunk from a party. Also a solid ten-minute hike out to Old Campus.
- Hunt: Right next to the Marketplace and not too far from old campus. However: A ridiculous distance from everything else on campus. Not air conditioned. Infested with cockroaches and crazy women. Right next to the College's police precinct, so learn to not be too obvious when drunk or you may start accumulating citations. Also, you may endure some repetitive jokes if your name is Mike.
- Jefferson Basement: Located in the heart of Old Campus, it is nowhere near important buildings like the Caf, the Rec Center, or William & Mary Hall. A mostly upperclassmen dorm, the basement houses a bizarrely tight-knit group of freshman who seem to all move as a group with no individual member leaving the pack. However: Pretty close to WaWa and in a place where W&M police don't patrol.
- Monroe: Closer to Old Campus, the Sunken Gardens and, most importantly, Wawa, than any freshman dorm. However: Right next to a major road where they occasionally run parades early on weekend mornings after you were up partying until 4am. Houses many of the College's freshman Monroe Scholars, who spend all day studying and make people feel guilty about partying. Also, filled with some of THE most awkward people on this planet called Earth. Also not air conditioned.
- Taliaferro: Next to the Marketplace and across the street from Old Campus. Taliaferro is the smallest freshman dorm on campus; dormcest runs rampant, and it is ridiculously far from everything on New Campus. However: The name is pronounced "Toliver" which makes no sense yet people will ask you why this is the case. Note: when ordering pizza for delivery, the dorm should be pronounced "Tally-a-fair-o" in order to avoid confusion. But you don't want to live here - the people are weird AF. If you're not from Taliaferro, you'll likely never meet anyone from Taliaferro since they only talk to other people from Taliaferro.
- Yates: Fully air conditioned, has its own field and a very short walk from the frats (very good if certain "circumstances" make your walk home a bit difficult). However: Smells from the Caf tend to waft over.
RAs are upperclassmen who supervise dorms for the Res Life office. In return for free housing they create programs for residents, put up silly bulletin boards, periodically sit an evening shift in the duty office and enforce policies. You will get to know your RA well during your freshmen year, and barely see or care about your RAs during the rest of your college career. Most RAs fall into one of three categories, which all conveniently abbreviate to "RA":
- Really Awesome: Found only in freshman dorms (anyone like this would be completely ignored in an upperclassman dorm), these RAs' number one priority in life is to have you think he (not intending to be sexist here; there are almost no female really awesome RAs because very few women are this stupid) is cool. He probably will not actually be cool; if he were he would already have friends and wouldn't be basing his self-esteem on the approval of freshmen. However, he will get you into parties, buy you alcohol and will never write you up for anything (half the time because he will be an accessory to the crime), so the least you can do is humor him because sooner or later he will probably be fired and replaced by a...
- Retentive Anal: For some inexplicable reason, these RAs actually take their jobs seriously. They will write you up for the slightest infractions, run long, boring meetings and punish you for skipping them and try to find loopholes in constitutional protections against search and seizure. Even if your hall's RA isn't like this, you may have one or two in the area who will occasionally patrol your hall as part of a duty shift. Find out when their shifts are because they will knock on your door if they hear, or smell, any indication of fun going on behind it. Don't worry too much, though. The vast majority of RAs are neither Really Awesome or Retentive Anal but...
- Reasonably Apathetic: This is the RA who will tell you right off the bat that he or she only took this job for the free housing. They basically do the minimum of meetings, programming, etc. to keep their jobs. They call "mandatory" meetings to please their supervisors but will not care if you fail to show up. Their programs will pretty much just be excuses to buy pizza and junk food on Res Life's dime so you should actually go if you have nothing better to do. They will write you up, but only if you fail the plausible deniability test (a vital concept to learn if you're going into politics). This means that you'll only be written up if you break down his/her door to announce that you're drunk, set off the fire alarm at 3am with pot smoke, rappel down a stairwell in front of the hall director (true story; happened in Monroe in 00-01 and the guy was written up for it), raise alpacas in your room and leave the door open, distill moonshine in a common kitchen or do something else too mind-blowingly stupid to ignore. If a Reasonably Apathetic RA writes you up, it is your own damn fault.
So you want to be an RA?
You've found yourself a lucrative job prospect my friend! In return for sitting on duty and running programs, you'll get a room for a year. This works out to about the same hourly wage as that received by 12 year-olds in east-Asian Nike factories, but it's much easier and less likely to cost you fingers. Most of your time on the clock will be spent sitting duty (stop giggling). This means you sit in an office from 7pm till 11pm once or twice a week and loan DVDs from the dorm collection to students. Not too tough, but you can't leave the dorm at all that night and duty shifts do take place during spring break and other very inopportune times. This is known as dirty duty (I SAID STOP GIGGLING!). You'll also have to make bulletin boards for your hall each month to give your residents something interesting to look at. Your supervisor will understand that coming up with fresh ideas is difficult sometimes, but that does not mean you'll be excused for putting up pornography. You'll also have to run programs and meetings. You have a wide range of possibilities with this, so go ahead, roll up those sleeves and get creative! Just make sure there's pizza because that will be the only thing to determine whether people come. Whatever you do, keep in mind that if you screw up and get fired, you will be charged the full cost of your room. Don't do any of the following unless you have an extra three grand or so lying around:
- Boost program attendance by bringing liquor.
- Appear on To Catch a Predator.
- Create a bulletin board about Mein Kampf.
- Levy War against the United States, or adhere to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
- Engage in loan-sharking.
- Recruit residents into an escort service.
- Lead your freshman boys' hall on an hour-long, whole-campus (including an all-female dorm) group streak in broad daylight. Rumor has it that this actually happened. The RA was definitely fired.
- Neglect common kitchens to the point that they are cited by the EPA.
Most of the upperclass dorms are basically just clones of freshman dorms in every sense except that instead of becoming lifelong friends who are in each other's wedding parties, godparents to each other's children and close confidants in every facet of life until dragged off to the nursing home with your neighbors, you'll just nod politely and maybe say hi when you pass in the hall. There are a few notable abodes which merit discussion:
- Frat Row: Due to several fraternities moving off-campus, several of said former frats will now be independent housing. These little utopias on the edge of campus provide their inhabitants with unimaginable luxuries: sketchy woods nearby, the indelible stench of parties past, tiny rooms with tiny windows, and of course, the most wonderful of all, no air conditioning. However, the Units is always the last housing available, for one reason or another. If your frat has yet to be kicked off campus (or voluntarily leave so it can have decent parties) then the row means that you'll have no worries about future housing at the end of your freshman year (rules require the frat to fill the house and there's no way the seniors are going to spend their last year of college in that rat hole). You'll be living in party central, but you'll also be waking up in party central and the cleaning staff does not come on weekends.
- The Lodges: Seven little buildings smack in the middle of campus and five minutes or less from everything. They have kitchens, patios, massive common rooms and fireplaces. No kidding, working bloody fireplaces! There is even a nice bit of lawn space in between them so you can grill and put up hammocks. Unfortunately, these all go very quickly in the housing lottery so you'll probably never get to live in one.
- Ludwell: Really nice apartments with living rooms and kitchens equipped with dishwashers. However, the best part is the location. They're actually about a 10 or 15-minute walk from campus, but they're a block away from the main road and nicely soundproofed if you shut the doors and windows. This means that while the losers on campus timidly try to serve warm beer without getting busted by the cops you can come close to throwing the kind of party they have at real colleges.
- Sorority Court: Lovely houses filled with comfortable furnishing, wall-to-wall carpets and fine decorations. Unfortunately, each house holds only 6-16 people, so in a sorority of 70-90 members your odds of sleeping in a bed here are about the same as they are for most guys. Namely, they depend on your looks and his BAC.
- Jamestown: Newest dorms on campus. Just don't expect to talk to (or see, for that matter) any of your neighbors.
A solid meh. Stuff from the hot lines is passable. There are some good options like smoothies and made-to-order fajitas but these will always have long lines. Getting through the salad bar will also take about 20 minutes on account of all the perpetually dieting sorority girls, but you'd better suck it up because contracting scurvy makes you look really stupid if you're not a pirate. Monday through Thursday, be prepared to throw some elbows if you plan to eat at Sadler at 12 or 1. All in all, you won't be impressed, but it's no use pretending that you'll eat anything besides popcorn and EasyMac if left to your own devices.
- You'll have three main choices for food. There's the University-I-mean-Sadler Center, the Caf and the Marketplace. They're all pretty much alike except the Marketplace has a Chick-Fil-A (except on Sundays. Christian soldiers need their rest, even the KPs) and the UC has an Einstein's (helpful before your 8 am and at no other time of the day) and the Caf may be a little more interesting when Curtis is working there.