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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Maddison Wilbur '12

Hometown: Chesterfield, VA

Majors: Economics and German Language

Minor: Art Studio (Design Emphasis)

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Residential Advisor 2009-2012
  • Assistant Head Advisor for First-Year Programming 2011-2012
  • First-Year Orientation Committee General Chair 2011
  • German Club President 2011-2012

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Beyond Bonn Study Abroad Spring 2012
  • Career Services Internship Summer 2009

Post-Graduation Plans: Economic Research in Washington, D.C.

Favorite Lexington Landmark: There is a space next to Pumpkinseeds that has lights strewn over it, and this little garden is my favorite place to go in Lexington.

Why did you choose your major? I decided to become an economics major after taking a class on financial panics during my first spring term, but it took over two years to realize that German was something I was passionate about and wanted to continue studying throughout my life.



I still have no idea why I applied to be a resident advisor my first year at W&L, but it has molded and shaped my experience here. It may have been an effort to get involved on campus, or because I wanted to share my experience and help others, or to become a student leader on campus. None of those reasons really matter anymore because it turned out to be much more than I had originally anticipated. I came back to W&L two weeks early for the first time my sophomore year to begin training, bright eyed and bushy-tailed in a different way from my first year. I knew more (or thought I did) and dove headfirst into a week's worth of learning about how to handle issues in the dorms and with residents, enjoying a bonding experience that I believe is unparalleled by any other at W&L because it brings together individuals from all different corners of the University.

This year I had the privilege of helping to coordinate training week along with staff activities for the year. The fact that students are allowed to govern large and important organizations on campus is a truly unique aspect of W&L. Being an RA opened me up to meeting others I would have never met otherwise, and at the long table in the back of D-hall there are no differences due to Greek affiliation. The friends I've made through the residence life staff are my closest friends--the ones who I will remember and keep in touch with throughout my life.

This is my third year as a resident advisor for first-year students, and after living in Graham Lees for three years, retiring to Gaines for my final year, and four years of beloved D-hall meals, I have gained something they never advertise in the pamphlet for W&L or in the application for RAs: confidence in myself and my abilities. This experience allowed me to get to know each first-year class, help them in their journey through W&L, and along the way grow into myself. I believe that being an RA, especially at W&L, has allowed me to become the person I am today and will forever impact my reflections upon my beloved school.