In my view, a Williams education is about finding and following leads.
As I write this, I am sitting aboard my connecting flight to Rome, Italy, where I will be studying for the next few months. My semester in Rome epitomizes the college’s ability to spur discovery and support exploration—to enable the pursuit of a lead to its fullest realization. From this vantage point, it is easy for me to trace the steps that led to where I am now: the ARTH 101-102 courses that sparked my passion for art and first set my sights on Italy; my classmates who shared their own study away experiences with me; the program evaluations of Williams students who had previously studied in Italy; the advice offered to me by Laura McKeon, our Dean of Study Away; and my professors who wrote recommendations on my behalf.
My Williams experience has been largely about finding leads. A passing interest leads me to enroll in a class; that class leads to another class; a passion is born. My desire to better understand the roots of my Catholic faith inspired me to take a class on the patriarch Abraham. A semester later my newfound interest in Biblical literature led me to a seminar on Moses and thoughts of an independent study senior year. Wanting to become better informed and, more importantly, more invested in politics, I took a survey course of American politics. I recently followed up with a class on political theory; I now follow political developments with greater regularity, understanding, and concern. True to the liberal arts model, each class I’ve taken has forged another link in an interdisciplinary intellectual armor.
Of course, my development hasn’t been only academic. Having performed in concerts and musicals throughout high school, I joined a co-ed a cappella group, Good Question, in my freshman year. Our self-motivated approach to arranging and learning our repertoire inspired me to take a course in arranging music for vocal ensembles. In turn, this course has enabled me to increase my musical contribution to our group. Through these experiences, I’ve reaffirmed for myself the importance of creating music, whether as a career or as a hobby. On another note, being in GQ (as we affectionately refer to our group) has provided me with relationships that will likely grow long after our years in Williamstown.
Through all of this, I’ve begun to realize that an education is not just about one class, or even four years in one place: it is the beginning of a lifelong process of discovery that will take me in many, often unexpected, directions. That, for me, is the gift of being a student at Williams.
Thank you so very much for helping make all of this possible,
Pat Megley ’14