Hi Everyone! Steph here, the Williams-Mystic Admissions Counselor. It’s an early September morning and I’ve already been awake for several hours: in true Williams-Mystic fashion, the Fall ’12 class departed at what we like to refer to as “o’dark thirty” this morning for the golden coastlines of California and a two-week sail out of San Diego on the SSV Robert C Seamans. Standing earlier in the Mystic Seaport parking lot, the cold pre-dawn air and lingering stars sprinkled in the creeping dawn left me reminiscing over my own offshore experiences just a year and a half ago. Holding up a “Carpe Sea-em” sign (we love puns here at WM) with Director Jim Carlton and Professor Glenn Gordinier, we waved eighteen students and two accompanying faculty & staff members off on the start of their own journey.
Travel seems to have been the theme for Williams-Mystic in the last few weeks: as the admissions counselor, I spend a significant portion of the autumn months traveling to colleges in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states to recruit undergraduates for the Program. I recently spent a week in Pennsylvania, where I visited schools in Philadelphia, the Main Line, and the Lehigh Valley. I mentioned in my last entry that I’m an alumna of Bryn Mawr College, which was one of my stops mid-way through the week. It was so wonderful to come back to campus, to return to the people and places that shaped me over the last four years. More recently, Admissions Director Katie Clark and I traveled to several schools in Massachusetts and Connecticut and will continue to do so until November. While I love to meet new people and see new places, there’s a sense of quiet happiness that I get when I see the signs for Mystic Seaport and the silhouettes of ships on the estuary at the end of a long drive on Interstate-95.
Approximately 250 alums were reminded of that feeling this past weekend, which was our 35th Alumni Weekend celebration. Two days seems like hardly enough time to re-connect with classmates and reminisce about days as a student, but you’d be surprised what you can pack in. After a breakfast at my favorite bakery with four of my ‘mates and several hours volunteering at the day’s festivities, I spent the afternoon running around Mystic, sitting on docks with too many cups of hot coffee, singing sea chanteys until I nearly lost my voice, and enjoying the company and comradery of this fantastic community. This weekend reminded me that although we may be scattered around the globe, it’s our experiences and memories that bond us. My classmates may be as close as across the street or as far as Europe, but having even just a few of them here, albeit only for a day or two, is enough to last me until next year’s migration to Mystic.
I’ll close with a quick quote that I came across yesterday, one that serves as my advice to our students heading offshore and to anyone embarking on a journey of their own:
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.
PS – I’ll be posting on behalf of my colleagues at sea for the next two week, be sure to check back often for updates on the current class’ experiences offshore!