Pros and Cons of Study Abroad 

While study abroad can be an exciting experience, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons when deciding to commit to this big decision.

Pros 

  • Enhance language skills: Studying abroad provides a unique opportunity to enhance language skills, especially if you are unfamiliar with the local language or have only a basic understanding.
  • Making new friends: Relocating to a new location opens the door to a broader social circle, offering numerous chances to forge meaningful connections and friendships.
  • Exploration of New Opportunities: Being in a different country may expose you to unexpected opportunities in various aspects of life
  • Building Independence: The distance from home necessitates a level of self-reliance, which can help you develop independence and life skills

Cons

  • Financial Costs: The considerable expense associated with moving abroad, even for a short duration, can be a significant drawback
  • Language Barriers: Navigating daily life in a country with an unfamiliar language can be challenging and stressful, contributing to difficulties in effective communication.
  • Homesickness: One of the most common challenges of studying abroad is homesickness, as being far from friends and family can lead to a sense of longing and emotional strain.
  • Culture Shock: While immersing yourself in a new culture is enriching, it may also result in culture shock, requiring adjustment to different customs, traditions, and ways of life.

A Brief Overview of Housing 

General housing selection begins today! Whether you are a returning student, incoming freshman, or prospective student, check out this blog post for a brief overview of housing. 

All first and second year students are required to live on campus to help build friendships during the beginning of their college experience. The freshman housing includes the Botetourt Complex, Bryan Complex, Dupont Hall, Green & Gold Village, Hunt Hall, Lemon Hall, Monroe Hall, Randolph Complex, Reves Hall and Willis Hall. Most of these residence halls are double rooms with either hall or shared bathrooms and are located close to either dining hall. Each residence hall will include laundry machines, a shared kitchen, and lounges for all residents to share. For my first year I was in Nicholson Hall (part of Botetourt Complex!). Being in a hall style residence hall helped me meet lots of new people which was especially helpful as a spring transfer student. 

For returning students, more housing options are available. Barrett Hall, Bryan Complex, Chandler Hall, Hardy Hall, Jefferson Hall, Landrum Hall, Old Dominion Hall, and Randolph Complex are hall style. One Tribe Place and Richmond Hall are suite style with private/shared bathrooms. Tribe Square, and Ludwell Apartments are apartment style which include in-unit kitchens, living area, private bathrooms, and separate bedrooms. Greek Life Housing is also available to those in sororities and fraternities. 

For upperclassmen, it can sometimes be challenging to find on-campus housing due to limited campus spaces. However, there’s currently construction happening across campus to increase the number of beds available to students that will continue for the next couple of years. Those who are unable to acquire on-campus housing can rent out houses or apartments near William & Mary. Off-campus housing resource fairs also occur each year to help students find nearby apartments. 

Learn more about first year housing here: https://www.wm.edu/offices/residencelife/oncampus/residencehalls/freshman/

Learn more about upperclassmen housing here: https://www.wm.edu/offices/residencelife/oncampus/residencehalls/upperlevel/

10 College Productivity Tips

  1. Invest in good noise canceling headphones – good for blocking out noisy areas when studying! 
  1. Get 8 hours of sleep each night – sleep is so essential for retaining energy and a clear headspace
  1. Utilize a planning system that works for you – whether it be paper or digital, finding a planning system that works for you helps you stay on track
  1. Take short breaks during your day – make sure to get some fresh air and movement throughout the day! Breaks are equally as important as work blocks
  1. Prepare your things the night before – having everything ready the night before relieves morning stress!
  1. Put your phone on do not disturb during the day – don’t let your phone become a distraction 
  1. Begin and end your day without screens – I love doing this to help me wake up and wind down. 
  1. Break down your assignments into smaller tasks – If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by your assignments try breaking them down into smaller tasks 
  1. Get your hardest work completed first – Eat the frog! Once you get the hardest things out of the way, it only gets easier
  1. Set up a routine / schedule that incorporates time for all aspects of your life (academics, personal time, exercise, etc.) – Possibly the most important thing to do in college! Finding time for everything can be daunting and overwhelming, but making sure you’re not focusing too much on one aspect of your life and taking the time to explore your interests to get the most out of your college experience! 

The Institute for Integrative Conservation 

This past month I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the Institute for Integrative Conservation through my Conservation Biology class! If you’re looking for more research opportunities, try checking out the Institute for Integrative Conservation (IIC). The Institute for Integrative Conservation here at William & Mary connects students with research opportunities that solve real world conservation problems!  They have three main ways to get involved: a GIS semester project, semester project, and year long project. Projects are highly interdisciplinary making it a good fit for any major. 

You don’t need to be a conservation major to get involved. Many projects include aspects of chemistry, biology, and business. Doing research projects within the IIC can be a good way to learn more about human interaction with the environment and how to prevent and find solutions to both community and global scale conservation issues.


Students are paired with partners to create, develop, and carry out research projects in order to implement solutions. 

If conservation is something you are passionate about or interested in learning more about, check out the IIC for both research and other opportunities. 

Check here for more information:  https://www.wm.edu/offices/iic/

Developing Study Schedules 

Creating a study schedule is so helpful for reducing procrastination leading up to exams. Having a set time to study, exercise, go to class, eat, and spend time with others / self time will make sure you’re balancing your time effectively. Here are some study schedules that might be useful for creating your own: 

3 hour study schedule 

8:00 – 9:00: get ready for the day, daily planning, breakfast 

9:00 – 10:00: study block 1 

10:00 – 11:00: break, exercise, extracurriculars  

11:00 – 12:00: lunch

12:30 – 2:00 – class 

2:00 – 3:00 – break

3:00 – 5:00 – study block 2 

5:30 – 6:30 – dinner 

6:30 – 9:00 – clubs, extracurriculars, work

9:30 – 11:00 – self time and get ready for bed 

5 hour study schedule 

7 – 8:30: quiet time, getting ready, reading, breakfast

8:30 – 9:00: plan your day
9:00 – 10:00: class

10:00 – 11:00: exercise 

11:00 – 11:30: lunch 

11:30 – 1:00: study block 1 – hardest tasks 

1:00 – 2:00: class 

2:00 – 3:00: break

3:00 – 5:00: study block 2 

5:00 – 6:30: class 

6:30 – 7:00: dinner 

7:00 – 8:30: study block 3 – review and any smaller tasks 

8:30 – 11:00: self time, get ready for bed

7 hour study schedule 

7:00 – 8:00: get ready for the day, daily planning 

8:00 – 9:00: study block 1 

9:00 – 10:00: class 

10:00 – 11:00: exercise 

11:00 – 11:30: lunch 

11:30 – 1:00: study block 2 

1:00 – 2:00: class

2:00 – 3:00: break

3:00 – 5:30: study block 3 

5:30 – 6:30 – break, dinner

6:30 – 9:30: study block 4 

9:30 – 11:00: self time, get ready for bed 

25 Productive things to do when bored

You have a couple homework assignments to complete, but end up cleaning your room instead. We’ve all been there! Procrastination productivity starts to make an appearance around this time when midterm exams are just around the corner. While studying is probably the most productive use of your time, if you’re looking for a break or looking to swap scrolling on your phone for something more productive, check out this list for 25 productive things to do when bored.

  1. Go for a walk / run
  2. Do a puzzle 
  3. Catch up with a friend 
  4. Clean out your email inbox
  5. Do your laundry 
  6. Try a new recipe  
  7. Start or write in a journal 
  8. Organize your files 
  9. Clean your room 
  10. Read a book 
  11. Clean out your car
  12. Draw or paint something  
  13. Call a loved one  
  14. Listen to a podcast  
  15. Learn a new skill 
  16. Crochet or knit  
  17. Update your resume 
  18. Create a bucket list  
  19. Learn a new language 
  20. Meal prep for the week 
  21. Organize your closet 
  22. Do a meditation 
  23. Go to the library 
  24. Volunteer 
  25. Take a nap or do self care 

Process of Declaring a Major

Congratulations! Have you reached the credit limit or decided what major you’d like to pursue? Here’s a brief guide to declaring your major:

1. Decide your area of study

Do you want to declare a major, double major, major + minor? In what area would you like to study? You probably already have an idea of what you want to major in, but if still unsure try using degree works to see the specific requirements for majors you’re interested in. Degreeworks will tell you what classes you will need to take for your intended major/minor. This will be especially helpful later on for making a rough schedule of when you’ll take each required course. Also note that some majors have other requirements (ex. Business majors must apply to the Mason School of Business)

More info on how to choose a major:

https://www.wm.edu/as/undergraduate/major/how-to-choose/

2. Complete the Declaration of Major Form
This form will be what you submit to the University Registrar for official approval and declaration. On the form there’s a section to list required courses for your intended major and list when you will complete them / when you completed them. (This is where degree works comes in handy!) You must meet with your major advisor before submitting this form, but it’s a good idea to fill it out before meeting with them to fully understand the requirements you’ll need to complete.

3. Find and meet with your major advisor

Your major advisor must be in the academic discipline you intend to major in. Try making a list of professors you’ve taken a class with and/or have a good relationship with. For instance, my major advisor is also the professor I’m doing research with! After asking and settling on a major advisor, meet with them to discuss your future plans and complete the declaration of major form.

More info on major advisors: https://www.wm.edu/as/undergraduate/major/bor-major-advisors/ More information on declaring your major:

https://www.wm.edu/as/undergraduate/major/how-to-declare/

Dealing with homesickness in college

The time after move-in or breaks can be challenging to enter or re-enter the busy schedules and demands of college. For some it might be a needed refresh from spending time at home, but for others it can lead to homesickness. Here are three ways to help minimize feelings of homesickness and isolation: 

  • Get involved on campus 

The best thing to do to overcome homesickness is getting involved. Push yourself to meet new people, make new friends, and try new things! Clubs are a great way to participate in things you enjoy while also gaining new experiences. 

  • Decorate your room with things from home 

Having things in your space to remind you of home that can make you feel more comfortable in your new environment. 

  • Call friends and family from home 

Occasionally check in with your loved ones. Remember that those from home are just a call away!

In most cases after the first couple days to weeks, feelings of homesickness tend to go away. Surrounding yourself with new friends while also intermittently catching up with loved ones is a great way to overcome homesickness. 

Professional development opportunities 

Did you know that William & Mary is the number one public university for internships? There are so many opportunities for professional development within the university, but also outside and beyond your years in school.

Internships 

Internships are great ways to obtain work experience while strengthening your resume and skills!Paid, unpaid, short, long, in-person, virtual, internships are extremely variable which makes it easy to find an opportunity that interests you. While internships can be either paid or unpaid, and some internships can even be used for academic credit! 

Looking for more info on internships: https://www.wm.edu/offices/career/students/applied-learning/internships-and-externships/

Externships 

Externships are a shorter opportunity that can help you get a bearing of how a professional organization operates. William & Mary offers opportunities for job shadowing 1-2 days in a variety of approved organizations. Some externships include opportunities in federal government, judicial, non-profit, public defender, private practice, and more organizations. 

Looking for more info on externships: 

https://www.wm.edu/offices/career/students/applied-learning/internships-and-externships/
https://law.wm.edu/academics/programs/jd/electives/externships/

F.U.S.E

Funding for Unpaid and Underfunded Student Experiences, also known as F.U.S.E. patterns with donors to offer funding for unpaid and underfunded internships. All opportunities through F.U.S.E cover food, housing, and transportation for students working a certain number of hours depending on the semester. There are certain requirements needed for F.U.S.E, so if you’re interested, please check out the information below! 

Looking for more info on F.U.S.E: https://www.wm.edu/offices/career/students/funding-scholarship/fuse/

Research

Research is for all majors at William & Mary. Reaching out to professors that are currently conducting research is a great way to begin gaining experience to add to your resume as an undergraduate.  

Looking for more info on research: https://www.wm.edu/as/undergraduate/academic-resources/conduct-research/

Tribe Careers

If you’re currently a student at William & Mary, you’ve probably received an email from Tribe Careers before. Tribe Careers is a one stop shop for professional development opportunities. Find a career explorer, interest finder, add your resume, check out upcoming events, and apply for jobs! 

Link to Tribe Careers: https://wm-csm.symplicity.com/students/?signin_tab=0

Cohen Career Center 

The Cohen Career Center is home to career development and professional engagement. Find quick help with resumes, practice job interviews, and various events to help boost your career before graduation. 

More info on the Career Center: https://www.wm.edu/offices/career/

 While this blog post doesn’t cover the vast number of opportunities that William & Mary has to offer, consider taking advantage of the many resources available! 

A Letter From A Graduating Senior – Emma Winikow 

Dear New Students, 

Welcome to the Tribe! I am so excited that you are coming to join our wonderful community here at William & Mary. It seems like just yesterday I received my acceptance letter, and now I am finishing up my studies. As a graduating senior, it is my due diligence to impart some wisdom onto you. The first thing that comes to mind is to acknowledge that school work is of the utmost importance, but never let it close you off. During my first few semesters, I found myself saying no to things because of my schoolwork. I was shutting myself off for the sake of my studies. You should not do that. Schoolwork will be done, you are so intelligent, I mean you got into William & Mary. Enjoy the little moments, stay up a tad too late and laugh with your friends. At the end of the day, all will be well. Suddenly you’ll blink and you’ll be a senior wishing you could go back and have more of those silly small moments that mean the world. The people here are so kind, so get to know them. Say hi to the person sitting next to you in class, they may become one of your best friends. It worked for me! I was in the hardest class I had taken thus far and it bonded me with my classmate who has now become a sister to me. Instead of that hard work causing me to be unsociable, it led me to someone I could not imagine spending my time here without. College will be hard, it will be an adjustment. But you are so strong and can do it. Pushing through is so worth it. There are so many joys that I have from my time here, and I cannot wait to see what wonderful things you will do and the amazing memories you will make. Roll Tribe!  

Love,  

Emma