My journey to college, like yours, is a unique one. Mine started in the summer of 2011; I had completed my first counter-piracy deployment off the coast of Somalia. The Sahara heat made the affliction of 18-hour workdays more painful than they already were. That tempo lasted for months on end, and with those new experiences came a new perspective. I considered where I was and where I wanted to be. It was clear to me that an education was going to be crucial to achieving my goals.
I searched through many colleges that would enhance my vast service experiences. Many offered good educations, but none that I researched fit me or the environment I was looking for in a business school. Luckily, life made the College of William & Mary’s introduction to me while we made our homeward maintenance stop in Lisbon, Portugal. That was a night I will never forget.
While walking the cobblestone streets of Lisbon that beautiful summer night, my friend and I stopped at a restaurant to eat before heading back to the ship. We were not sure if we would be able to get back out again, so we picked a nice restaurant overlooking our docked ship in the river. Upon entering, we asked to be seated outside, and outside was a rather large table full of English-speaking people. They spotted us as military right off the bat and invited us to join them. At the table, I sat across from a gentleman employed by the State Department. We discussed much, but most importantly, we discussed education. I told him I wanted to study business, but I also had a passion for history. Tapping his finger on the table with his college ring, he made a life-changing suggestion.
Over the next hour, we discussed the College of William & Mary, its programs, opportunities, and the smaller student-to-teacher ratios. I was captivated! When I returned to the ship, I immediately jumped on a ship’s computer and started researching William & Mary. The nationally renowned professors and the “One Tribe” mentality similar to our “one team, one fight” mantra really resonated with me. It was as if the college was reaching through the computer and shaking sense into my soul. The search was over, and William & Mary became a new beacon on my horizon. I learned that same night that the group that invited us to join them for dinner included the U.S. Ambassador to Portugal, and my friend and I had dined with him and his entourage.
My time in service would not come to an end until 2018. So, I had to wait seven long years to fulfill my convictions of attending and graduating from William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business. I am now a senior, and I am one semester from fulfilling that goal. My time at William & Mary has been met with many good challenges and exciting new opportunities, such as studying abroad at Cambridge in the United Kingdom, meeting with Chancellor Robert Gates and several other great public servants, as well as being a part of several outstanding organizations such as the Ivy League Veteran Council. The academic challenges you will face here at William & Mary are not unlike what you will find at many other Ivy League schools, but if you genuinely want to be here, then you have what it takes to succeed here.
If you are reading about my journey, then you must be in the midst of yours. I would love to hear what questions you have and how I can be of assistance in helping you transition out of the military and into the prestigious academic settings of “the Alma Mater of the Nation.” We hope to hear from you soon and to guide you to your new beginnings!