Welcome to Williams College, class of ’24!
I’m a rising junior from Baltimore, MD. I was raised by my two grandmothers, my four aunts, and my mother, who very generously gave me three whole career options to choose from: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. So, I came into my freshman year planning to major in Computer Science. I have since switched to a double major in Russian and Arabic Studies, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with my degree. I’m learning that I still have plenty of time to figure that out. I’m largely involved in the trans/gnc community on campus, I work in the costume shop, and I often involve myself in Cap and Bells productions as part of the design team. Going into work is almost always the best part of my day, and the experience is something I’d like to continue after graduation despite it having absolutely nothing to do with my studies.
As a first-gen student who came from an overcrowded, underfunded public school, I never could have imagined how many resources are available on this campus. I’ve always been a very independent person, and asking for help isn’t something I’m used to. This was my single biggest mistake in freshman year. I didn’t know what office hours were for, so I decided that all of my questions weren’t important enough to ask. I didn’t understand the scope of the office of accessible education, so I decided my health problems weren’t severe enough to require accommodations. I saw the email that said freshman housing decisions were final and decided that that meant no exceptions. All of these assumptions were wrong, and my GPA is still recovering. Please ask for help. Go to your JAs. Go to the Deans. Please use office hours. You are not wasting anyone’s time.
On the day President Mandel announced that the campus would be closing in March 2020, I freaked out. I had no idea who I could stay with or how I would feed myself if my petition to stay on campus was denied. Fortunately, it wasn’t, and I have been social distancing in a dorm. As someone who struggles a lot with mental health, social distancing has been a challenge, but lots of communities on campus have had weekly digital meetings, and I’ve been doing everything from game nights to books clubs to tutoring to maintain some semblance of a schedule and make sure that I don’t spend too much time alone with my thoughts. For me, it’s just been important to remember that I don’t need to be at my most productive 24/7 just because I’m not physically leaving the house often.