Passing on the purple shirt

The future Junior Advisors (JAs) came bursting through the entries Sunday night dressed in their finest, full of joy and excitement for next year. They were jubilant, knowing soon that these entries they knew in name would become theirs. Places to welcome their frosh, make them feel at home and see them become a part of the Williams community. That moment is so full of promise and nervous excitement. You have a place to call home, and your thoughts and future plans can rest within the halls. You’re on the cusp of entering a new stage of life, far different from the roles of sophomore and freshman year.

As a current JA, it’s a strange moment. I remember that night so well, running through the halls screaming our joy for the whole entry to hear. I smile thinking back upon that night, but it’s a bit sad now. Knowing how little time I have left in the place that has been my home for a year is a sobering thought. This has been the common room in which we all ate pizza, stayed up late to watch Paranormal Activity, awkwardly sat during First Days wondering if anyone would risk speaking. And now, it’s almost over.

As happy as my co and I were to see the new JAs thrilled to have a new place, we hugged each other when they passed through, allowing ourselves a temporary moment of sadness in knowing we were close to no longer belonging here. The decorations, the quote board, the door signs we had so painstakingly planned out, cut out and carefully spelled, would soon have to be removed for a new batch of frosh, a new cycle of JAs. And they’ll be ready for it. The entry will be passed on, our rooms will belong to another co pair and we’ll be washed up senior JAs, trying not to wear our purple shirts too often so as not to confuse the class of 2018.

But it’s not just us who have changed. One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of being a JA is watching your frosh grow. I walk down the hill of Mission and hear the happy chatter of frosh who know each other, who have life-long friends they met only nine months earlier. I remember one of my frosh asking me how to make friends and whether or not she’d ever meet people who’d like her as much as her high school friends had. And here they all are now: pick groups set, people to eat meals with, friends to sit with at games – and they don’t need us anymore. And I’m happy they don’t because that was what we wanted all along. Having been a WOOLF leader and now a JA, I’ve watched the change happen twice now, and every time it makes me happy knowing that the group of awkward, uncomfortable,

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awesome freshmen have found a permanent home at a place they love as much as I do.

So here we are again, about to begin the process of welcoming a new group to our home and hoping they find out why Williams is such a special place. I’m excited and saddened to watch this cycle, knowing this will be the last time I’ll have the opportunity to see young men and women grow into leaders at Williams. I hope they find they’ll love it, that it will become the place they call home and they’ll discover that the purple mountains really are purple if you catch them in just the right light. Judging from the JAs passing through our common room, they’ll have great leaders to guide them through the ups and downs and find out where they belong. I’m happy to be passing on the position of JA to a great group of future JAs, but I’m awfully glad I was able to be a part of it all.

Alyssa Amos ’15 is an art studio and English double major from Bennington, Vt. She lives she lives in Mills-Dennett.