Majors: Journalism and European History
Post-Graduation Plans: I've applied for the Marshall, Mitchell and Gates Scholarships, all of which help American students pursue graduate degrees in the United Kingdom or Ireland. I'll also be looking for a job in journalism this spring.
Favorite W&L Memory: Interviewing Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Charlie Wilson and Geraldine Ferraro during a 36-hour span at Mock Convention.
Favorite Lexington Landmark: I'm torn between Skylark, the W&L-owned farm that's located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Goshen Pass, a beautiful area 30 minutes west of town. Skylark is used every year by the Outing Club as a training site for upperclassmen who will lead freshmen pre-orientation trips the next week. When we're not studying first aid, maps, routes and more, the 25-30 trip leaders generally hang around, cook good food and enjoy some of the prettiest views in the state. The highest point on the farm has 360 degree views of the Valley and the Blue Ridge, including several of the mountains that we hike during the trips.
And Goshen is its own special place. Whether you're there to sit on the rocks and sunbathe or to hike, rock climb and rappel, there's always a good excuse to cancel your afternoon plans on a nice day and head for Goshen. If you climb up to the cliffs on Chambers Ridge, you're rewarded with some great rappelling or - if you're not that extreme - some wonderful views of the area.
During the spring of my senior year, I was convinced I wanted to go to a big university. I was about to graduate from a small high school, and I thought I wanted something different. But just weeks after I sat in on a 400-person class at the big school, I came to Washington and Lee for a second visit. I found my way into a geology class, where the professor pulled up an extra chair so I could sit around a small table with his five students. I knew right then that I didn't want to spend any more time in giant lecture halls. I knew I wanted to be at W&L.
I've discovered that this school has an incredible sense of community. My journalism classes usually have between eight and 15 students. This fall, my copy editing class only had five, and it was taught by a Pulitzer Prize-winning professor. The professors and students in the department end up knowing each other almost as well as we know our own families. That probably explains why we act like a family (for better or worse) most of the time.
One of the best things about our small school is our ability to get involved immediately with life on campus. I joined The Ring-tum Phi, one of the school's two independent newspapers, during my first week on campus. The editors handed me an assignment right away; there was no waiting, no seniority and no worrying about whether a freshman was ready to work for the paper.
You can find that attitude everywhere around campus. Clubs, organizations and sports teams don't just want juniors and seniors to take the lead. Anyone who wants to get involved in the life of this campus can take an active role right away. I kept working for the paper every week, and before long I was working as a section editor, assigning and editing articles while still writing a few stories of my own. During my sophomore year I became the managing editor, overseeing the paper's operations.
But college is about exploring lots of new opportunities, not just picking one activity and doing it full time. That's why I've enjoyed spending so much of my time with the W&L Outing Club. I've explored water-filled caves, rappelled down the Chambers Ridge cliff in Goshen Pass, hiked, skied and camped all over the beautiful area that surrounds Lexington. The Outing Club is a place where all type of students - as well as faculty and staff - can come together to get away from school, explore the countryside and have fun.
I'm glad I made those final visits during the spring of my senior year. I was meant to be at W&L, in a small community where everyone can get involved and find their place from the first day you step on campus. College only lasts four years. Why waste time waiting your turn?