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 

DIY self care kit for finals week 

Finals officially begin next week! While studying takes up a majority of students’ time in these next two weeks, it’s important to remind ourselves to stay well during this time of stress. Having a toolbox of resources to assist with physical, emotional, and academic and wellness during finals can be helpful! Here are a few things, both material and conceptual, to add to your DIY self care kit for finals week! 

  1. Reusable water bottle – keeping a water bottle with you while studying helps maintain hydration which increases energy levels! 
  1. Journal – keeping a journal, notebook, or even a sticky note to write down anything that comes to mind helps minimize distractions and express your feelings 
  1. A good playlist – for study breaks or even studying itself! Something enjoyable like music can put you in a good mood for the day!
  1. Snacks – don’t forget to fuel for studying! Find some snacks from around campus that you can eat while studying!
  1. Comfortable clothes – being comfortable while studying will further minimize distractions 
  1. Blanket – If your room gets cold, try having a blanket on hand 
  1. Free campus events – keep an eye out for free campus events that can act as a fun study break! You might even be able to score some free food!
  1. Study timetable – knowing your schedule for the day/week will keep you on track by knowing what to do and when! 
  1. Essential oils – if you enjoy calming scents like lavender, try utilizing essential oils!
  1. Coffee and tea station – the coffee and tea stations in Caf and Swem are great for a quick and easy study beverage
  1. Set breaks – giving yourself time to do other things like hang out with friends, take a walk, sleep, read, etc. is one of the best ways to decompress 

Romanticizing studying and having a variety of resources you can use during finals helps minimize distractions which will keep you energized and focused! Best of luck everyone! 

Yule Log Celebration 

One of William & Mary’s most beloved traditions is the Yule Log Celebration. The Yule Log Celebration is a long lived tradition for expressing gratitude for the past and present while also welcoming new beginnings going into the new year. It also stands as a way to bring the William & Mary community together to celebrate the joy of the season. 

Occurring annually around the end of the fall semester, this celebration in the Wren Courtyard spreads holiday cheer with students, staff, faculty, and alumni across the world. With festive music, singing, poems, and stories, the William & Mary community celebrates the end of a semester and reflects upon the themes of peace, joy, and gratitude. The Yule Log is carried through the crowd into the Wren Building to be lit for a fire. Students have the opportunity to toss sprigs of holly into the Great Hall fireplace for good luck as well as decorate the trees around the Wren Building with messages of gratitude on paper doves to share appreciation for the past and present. After, cider and cookies are shared among participants. 

Those unable to attend in person have the opportunity to attend the virtual celebration or an alumni gathering. Regional Yule Log Celebrations can be found here: https://wmalumni.com/events/regional-yulelog-celebrations/

Recipes from the celebration, a digital Great Hall fireplace, and Yule Log gifs are available as well. 

This year’s Yule Log Celebration will take place Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 5:30 p.m ET.

Learn more about it here! https://www.wm.edu/sites/yulelog/

The Ultimate College Bucket List for Your First Semester

Welcome to the tribe spring transfers! As you begin your journey at William & Mary, consider adding these to your college bucket list. I’ve compiled a list of academic and social ideas to create the ultimate bucket list for your first semester! 

  1. Join a club or organization of something you’re interested in
  2. Explore all floors of Swem
  3. Attend a lecture or workshop outside of your major
  4. Pet a dog at the Williamsburg Farmers Market 
  5. Host a movie or game night to meet new people 
  6. Attend a formal dance or event
  7. Volunteer for a local charity or community event
  8. Start a study group with students in your class 
  9. Go kayaking on Lake Matoaka 
  10. Find your favorite pancake house 
  11. Attend an AMP Event 
  12. Write a letter to your future self to open on graduation day 
  13. Join an intramural or club sports team
  14. Attend a Career Center networking event 
  15. Participate in a research project 
  16. Take a class outside of your comfort zone 
  17. Have a picnic on the Sunken Garden 
  18. Try a fitness or wellness class 
  19. Create a photo diary of your first semester
  20. Connect with other transfer students!

Surviving Finals Week

Happy Thanksgiving break William & Mary! As we approach the end of the semester, finals week is closer than ever. Now is the time to begin preparations to set yourself up for success. Here are a few tips to acing your final exams!

  1. Start Early 

Don’t leave your studying for the night before. Avoid procrastination and cramming by beginning your preparations early! 

  1. Create a schedule 

Making a schedule for what needs to be completed as well as what to study each day can help you keep track of your studying while avoiding burnout! 

  1. Prioritize Tasks

Try to identify the most important tasks and subjects to study based on due dates and your final exam schedule. Also focus on the areas where you need the most improvement or what holds the most weight on your exam.

  1. Take Breaks

Don’t forget to take breaks every once in a while to maintain productivity. Taking breaks gives your brain time to absorb your studying and also decreases burnout when studying for long periods of time. 

  1. Maintain wellness and take care of yourself 

Utilize campus resources like wellness center classes and make sure you’re taking care of your physical and mental health. Drink lots of water, get adequate sleep, practice mindfulness, and exercise daily to maintain a healthy mindset. 

  1. Ask for help

Exams can be academically and mentally stressful! There’s no shame in asking for help whether it be for academic or wellness purposes. 

Best of luck on finals! 

A Wintery Williamsburg Playlist 

As the temperature gets cooler, leaves start to fall, and Williamsburg transitions into a wintery wonderland, it becomes the perfect time to take a walk listening to a cozy winter playlist. In this post you’ll find a playlist curated by STEP blog writers that captures the holiday feels of Williamsburg for your next winter stroll around campus and Colonial Williamsburg!

  1. Evergreen – Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners 
  2. Holocene – Bon Iver
  3. Heartbeats – José González
  4. Need 2 – Pinegrove
  5. Northern Wind – City and Colour
  6. Savior Complex – Phoebe Bridgers
  7. The Stable Song – Gregory Alan Isakov
  8. Sweater Weather – The Neighborhood 
  9. Winter – Joshua Radin
  10. Sparks  – Coldplay 
  11. Shotgun Down The Avenue – Shawn Colvin
  12. A Light Change – Grouper 
  13. Constellations  – Duster
  14. Simulation Swarm – Big Thief 
  15. Reflecting Light – Sam Phillips 
  16. From the Dining Table – Harry Styles 
  17. Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
  18. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable – The Smiths 
  19. Didn’t Want to Have to Do It – Cass Elliot
  20. Trouble – Coldplay
  21. Where Do I Go – Lizzy McAlpine 
  22. Moon Song – Phoebe Bridgers
  23. Into Dust – Mazzy Star
  24. The Gold – Manchester Orchestra, Phoebe Bridgers 
  25. Moonlight on the River  – Mac DeMarco
  26. London’s Song  – Matt Hartke 
  27. Swollen – Fransisco Martin 
  28. Dark Red – Steve Lacy 
  29. Problems – Pinegrove  

Here’s the link to the spotify playlist! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2OWjXRtWDHCJ3hj6m80Q1x?si=20287dc13a7b4bc0

There is Always Time to Close the Textbook – Emma Dunlop

I think I’m speaking for everyone when I say that the week before Thanksgiving is one the hardest of the entire semester. The air is getting colder, the sun is setting sooner, and final exams begin peeking their heads around the corner. The final trek to break can feel endless, as most students try to cram in exam prep, essays, and final assignments.

But is this week of stress worth the almost-week-long break? For many students, Thanksgiving break translates to Thanksgiving “break from my dorm.” It’s common for students to use their time at home to continue studying for final exams and beginning their final projects. However, there is always time to close the textbook, and what better time than Thanksgiving break? Here are some ways to shake off those academic burdens during your time off.

1. Plan out your study schedule for the weeks following the break.

For me, I start to de-stress once I have a plan. If I know how I’m going to accomplish my end-of-semester goals, I’m more comfortable taking time for myself and fueling my body. And, it helps reassure me that I have enough time to get everything done!

2. Make a study playlist in preparation for finals season.

Music is a great way to spice up your studying. With a peppy playlist in hand, the motivation to study after the break is sure to pick up. Say goodbye to study dread during break!

3. Engage in some activities that take your mind off of your classes.

Wind down with a spa day, eat out with some friends, or start crafting for the holiday season. These are great ways to take your mind off school, while still fueling it for the weeks ahead.

It can be hard to completely step back from academics during such a busy time in the semester, but preparation and planning are on your side. Use these tools to ease your mind and make memories during your days away from due dates.

Emma Dunlop is a sophomore intending to major in Marketing here at William & Mary. A transfer student herself, Emma spent her first semester of college in London and arrived on campus in the Spring of 2023. In addition to starting as a STEP blog guest writer this semester, Emma is also a member of the William & Mary Accidentals, the Student Environmental Action Coalition, and Women in Business. She is so excited to get writing!

4 Spots That Make W&M Special 

William & Mary is the second oldest university in the country, so campus has been witness to decades of academic success and historical significance. Over time William & Mary has gained specific 

The natural beauty and historical charm of these four key spots help make William & Mary’s campus unique and special. 

  1. Wren Building 

Starting off with arguably the defining building of William & Mary is the Wren building. Not only is it the oldest academic building in America still in use, it is also still home to some classes such as religion. It’s become a tradition that most W&M students try to take at least one class in the Wren building. It also serves as a symbol for the academic journey of students. Students begin their academic journey through the Wren Building during convocation and also conclude their W&M journey back at the Wren Building on their way to Commencement. 

  1. Crim Dell

Crim Dell is another key picture that you’ll see when looking up William & Mary’s campus. The beautiful bridge over a small pond is picturesque in all four seasons and is home to many species of wildlife! (You might spot a turtle when walking from Sadler to ISC!) There’s also a superstition that walking across the bridge with a loved one bonds the two together forever. 

  1. Sunken Garden 

What makes our main garden so special is that it’s sunken! Sunken Garden is located in the center of campus and between two rows of academic buildings. The sunkenness creates a grass border perfect for relaxation or studying! It also serves as a place to hang out with friends and is usually the main location for special events like homecoming and formals! 

  1. Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre

At William & Mary we are blessed with the backdrop of Lake Matoaka on the outskirts of campus. The Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre frames the lake which makes it the ideal place to observe it or attend outdoor concerts! There’s also sometimes special events like sunset yoga that take place underneath the amphitheater stage itself.