Becoming Williams

I’ve spent the last two weeks getting to know 26 members of my class whom I had, for the most part, never really spoken to before. Junior Advisor (JA) dating has consumed my life – literally all I have done is go to practice, go to class and go on dates. Homework has not gotten done. One of those 26 people will help me introduce about 20 first-years to Williams next year while, along with their cos, the other 25 will introduce their own frosh to the College. I’m excited to be someone’s liaison to the Williams community and to get the opportunity to show them what I love most about this place.

While we will be introducing the College’s latest class to the community, those who were our first real connection will move on to become, well, real people. For me, it was my JAs who really made me feel at home and feel like the College was a place I could make my own. I know that many other people feel similarly. If you are not a member of the sophomore class, perhaps the seniors were not the ones to make you feel like you belonged here at the College. They have, however, probably played some significant role in your life. Maybe they play on your sports team, sing in your a cappella group, act in your plays or sit next to you in class. Regardless, at a place like Williams, they are bound to have come into your life in some manner.

I think one of the greatest things about going to a college like ours is the tight-knit community. It allows us to know people from many different backgrounds with many different interests. Because our school is set up in such a way that we are bound to know people from all four years, some of my closest friends are members of the senior class. Although these friendships started with my JAs, they did not end there. It is hard to imagine my life here without them to turn to for advice, particularly when I know that many of the things that I will experience over the next two years are things that they have all gone through and survived. Anything from issues with professors, puking frosh or finding jobs – they will be the ones with advice, but they will not be here to give it.

While I am sad that I will not have them here to share it with me, I am excited for the senior class. I’ve heard about people teaching in Africa, going off into the corporate world, working with Teach for America, starting their own businesses, going to graduate school and so much more. I cannot wait to see where their new adventures take them and the people they touch along the way. I know they will make the best of their opportunities as they go off into the real world.

It is interesting, and in many ways scary, that we spend four years at a place where we form our closest friendships, grow in the biggest of ways and learn the most, only to go off into a world that is much bigger and full of unexpected challenges. In that world, those people with whom you have formed close friendships will not simply be in the room next door when you come home at night. For me, the fact that I am halfway through college is unbelievable, and the fact that I know people who I can now truly consider “real people” is incredible. I know that next year I will feel similarly about the senior class as it leaves Williams to go off into the world – excited for them but disappointed for myself. Next year I will be yet another year closer to having to figure out how to live in the world on my own. While this is a challenge that I think we all look forward to, when it seems far down the road it is much less disconcerting. I personally look forward to the challenge of having 20 first-years that have yet to experience the greatness that I see in this place. It is a lot of pressure to have to introduce a place that you love so much to someone else and hope that they love it too. I’m glad that I will have a whole year to do it because there is so much to learn along the way. While I will be growing in the context of the entry system (for the second time), the seniors will be growing in the context of the real world. I look forward to hearing their stories when they come back – as everyone inevitably seems to do. No matter how much you grow outside of here, the four years here are so important in making you who you are that Williams is forever a part of you. I look forward to that.

 

Ali Piltch ’14 is from Bryn Mawr, Penn. She lives in Thompson.