William & Mary

Home is where the heart is: Class of '18 arrives

  • Bedding down for the year
    Bedding down for the year  Justin Kim, a freshman from California, gets a hand making his bed from his mother, Connie, on move-in day Friday.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • All smiles
    All smiles  Perhaps she has a room on the first floor.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • A Presidential greeting
    A Presidential greeting  W&M President Taylor Reveley toured the campus Friday, extending welcomes to incoming students, their parents and the returning students who helped make things go smoothly.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Glad you are here
    Glad you are here  Residential Life staffers made new students feel welcome with their infectious enthusiasm.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • The view from above
    The view from above  Parents, grandparents, incoming students, their siblings and dozens of people were on hand to help incoming freshmen get acclimated.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The Class of 2018 came from far and near Friday morning, converging on the dorms they will call home for the school year.

On the far side was Justin Kim, who hails from Orange County, Calif., and whose mother, Connie, had approved his move to William & Mary despite having never seen the campus.

“I wanted a different feeling from home,” Justin said, making his bed in his Lion Hall room. “I wanted a different experience than being tucked in a bubble at home.”

{{youtube:medium|6WRZn1nAAo4, Scenes from freshman move-in day 2014.}}

Although Friday was her first time coming to Williamsburg, Connie supported Justin’s decision, largely because of the counterpoint it provided to her own. Her alma mater is a member of the University of California system.

“I was so lost,” she recalled. “So I always wanted my son to go to a smaller system.”Two future W&M students wait for their family to return from a dorm.

For at least one other incoming freshman, familiarity was the draw. While Justin Kim came almost 3,000 miles to his new dorm room, Lauren Dickerson traveled a little more than five miles.  Dickerson graduated from Jamestown High School, just up the road in James City County.

“I've always loved the College,” she said, waiting to check into her new dorm. “I wanted a school that was strong academically. And I've just always wanted to go here.”

Two other students came almost the same distance from opposite sides of the Commonwealth.

Brian Anyakoha arrived from Northern Virginia to study biology and chemistry, while his friend Preston Neukirch came from Southwestern Virginia to study physics.

William & Mary’s people tipped them toward the College.

“I like how everybody's so humble and down to earth here,” said Anyakoha, who also praised W&M’s small class sizes. “It's really just kind of a great experience. I’ve been here before and it's always a great time."

Neukirch echoed the sentiment, contrasting William & Mary with other universities he toured.

"It was the exact opposite as far as people go,” he said. “It was a lot more snobbiness. So I like how humble people are over here.”Dad's got it, an oft-repeated scene Friday

Jennie Horowitz of McLean, Va., felt the same way. Amidst the chaos of move-in day, she ran to get into a photo with W&M President Taylor Reveley to post to Instagram.

“They said, ‘Who wants to get in with President Reveley?’ And I said ‘Me!’ And I sprinted up and got a picture with him. I recognized him,” she said.

William & Mary, she said, explaining her enthusiasm, is her “dream school.”

“I toured 21 colleges. I do a lot of my decision-making based on feel. I was on the campus for four minutes with my tour guide … and after five minutes of the tour I looked at my dad and was like, ‘I have to go here.’"

Other freshmen might be new to Williamsburg, but they’ve always called William & Mary “home.”

Such is the case for Tom Schefer, whose parents met here and graduated in 1987, and whose paternal grandparents graduated in 1956 and 1957.

“This was the only place he wanted to go,” said his mother, Cara Schefer. “It’s such a great place.

“Oh look, I’m getting weepy.”

Cara and her husband, Chuck Schefer, tried to recall if they kissed on Crim Dell bridge.

“Not when we were undergrads,” Cara said. “He wouldn’t do that.”

“I knew that would cause problems down the road,” Chuck teased.The sign says it all

As for their hopes for Tom, Cara said she hopes he takes advantage of clubs, events and activities that weren’t offered when she attended in the 1980s.

Chuck Schefer said it’s entirely possible his son could have the exact same experience he did “which was meeting the love of my life and having this be a great start to adult life.”

Whether Tom meets that lasting love or not, he’s at least holding up the family tradition.

“You can find pictures of me in the house as a child with William & Mary gear on. The brainwashing started early,” he joked.

He turned serious. "I looked at a lot (of schools) and I kept comparing everything to William & Mary, and it didn't add up," Tom said. "I tried as hard as I could to not like it, but every time I went to a different school, I would come back here, and I just liked it more."