by Steph Trot
While academics are a prominent and excellent facet of Williams-Mystic, another important component is the community fostered by the program, Seaport, and town. I came to Williams-Mystic from Bryn Mawr College, which is deeply rooted in fostering a sense of community through tradition. We have four annual traditions that bring the entirety of the undergraduate population together to celebrate and honor one another. Each may be looked at as a right of passage, after which the younger students become a full member of the collegiate community.
Williams-Mystic is much the same, in that we have our own class traditions that bring us all together. One of the traditions is Sunday meeting, where our house sits down to discuss the upcoming week, plan out meals, and organize a trip to the grocery store. Another involves watching the Batman movies up here in Kemble House with pizza bites and homemade cookies. From the very silly banana dance to meals with faculty and staff, it’s these little things that truly bond us together and define us as a class.
Last Sunday, several of these habitual class activities melded together into a truly wonderful day. While at first confused as to why my alarm was ringing at 7a.m., I quickly remembered that I had told a friend I’d go sailing with them out in Snapdragon. My housemate was an impromptu guest, and together the three of us made our way onto the water and witnessed a glorious sunrise. From there, I met up with the rest of my house and we headed into town to have breakfast at the home of Rachel and Katie, who serve as our House Advisor/Science TA and Williams-Mystic Director of Admissions. Katie just got a new cat (Rosie!), who greeted us by skirting around the living room and then hiding under the couch. An alumni from the class of S’10 was there, who told us about memories from her semester and enriched the conversation.
Once the pancakes, bacon, and eggs had disappeared and Rosie had come out of her hiding place, I headed over to a nearby café to read Moby Dick for Literature with two other classmates. We ran into a member of the Seaport staff who had attended our Pacific Northwest Field Seminar and had a fun time catching. I really like how the Williams-Mystic community extends into the greater perimeters of Mystic – you never know who you’re going to run into while on the treadmill at YMCA up the road or who you’ll see while wandering through the bookstore by Mystic Pizza. But at the end of the day, it’s ultimately the most satisfying to walk through the front door of my house here and see the three happy and familiar faces of my housemates.
When I think back on the last 2 ½ months, I find it remarkable that I’ve become so close with 24 individuals whom I had never met. Yesterday I was working in Labaree House with another classmate, who asked me if I had achieved whatever goals I’d set for myself at the beginning of the program. I came to Williams-Mystic with an open-mind, ready to handle whatever was thrown my way and grow from the experience. I didn’t have any specific “goals,” like climb the rigging of the Conrad or learn how to sail on my own. I did, however, strive to take advantage of everything offered by Williams-Mystic, which I can happily say I’ve been doing. I would recommend the same to any future classmates: take out the Snapdragon, invite your advisor to lunch, watch the sunrise from the YTB dock, make a memory.