Favorite memories from my first year – Ellie McMahon

There are a lot of words that William & Mary students use to describe GGV. Lack of air conditioning, communal bathrooms, and subpar just to name a few. Though its reputation precedes it, GGV is arguably the best place to build a community as a freshman. For me, no air conditioning on the third floor meant spending more time in the shared lounge, and many of my hallmates did the same as we formed quick and long-lasting relationships. 

There were so many opportunities thrown at me the first few weeks of freshman year. The club fair with over 500 student organizations, all the tabling at Sadler, and the countless events we were dragged to by our OAs. But none of them impacted Lion K like IM softball. When sign-ups first rolled around in September, our group GroupMe was frenzied on the guys’ side and almost silent from the girls. There was no way my third floor girls hall was forming a softball team, but plenty of the guys downstairs had played baseball in the past or were looking for some way to occupy their Sunday nights. Whatever it was, the Zaddy Lions were born. Even though my floor wasn’t involved in this team in any way whatsoever, if we were anything as a group, we were enthusiastic. In the beginning of freshman year Lion K did everything together- meals, Target runs, birthday celebrations- there was no reason we wouldn’t cheer on our softball team as well. 

On the night of the first game, as the actual team was in the lounge strategizing, the third floor was doing arts and crafts. Each of us carried a letter on a plain white sheet of paper, enough to spell out Lion K with a hand drawn lion in the middle. Nothing will ever compare to the reaction we got when we arrived at the IM field just as the first pitch was being thrown. The whole team loved the signs and it was so much more fun to watch than I expected. These people I’d known for less than a month had become my closest friends which meant we spent every waking moment together. 

From that week forward, we showed up to every game, signs in tow, until they got too worn to carry. By the end of the season, each player had his own superlative, ranging from Girlboss Gari to Risky Robbie. These signs were made out of posterboard (and turned out to be a lot more durable). Each year since then, the Zaddy Lions have reunited over their love for softball, each coming from new friendships and organizations, but never forgetting the relationships made in GGV. Even the girls have made it to a few more games, proof that freshman dorm camaraderie is something that lives on forever. 

Author bio: Hi everyone! My name is Ellie and I’m a junior here at W&M. I’m majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Hispanic Studies and hope to incorporate a bit of both into my future career. I’ve always enjoyed writing but have never been able to pursue it seriously, and I’m so happy to be able to write for the STEP Toward Success Blog as a guest writer!

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