- Class: Alum
- Major: Business
- Gender: F
- High School: Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, VA
- Transfer Student: N
The best things about UMW are the amazing friends you will make, the professors who always have their doors open, and the beautiful campus. In my opinion, UMW is just the right size. It's small enough so that you can run into your friends strolling down campus walk and large enough for you to comment to your friends that you "have never seen any of these people in your life" when different students show up at a school sponsored event or activity. When I tell someone who is not familiar with our school that I go to Mary Washington, the response I get most often is, "Oh isn't that an all girls school?" Occasionally I get responses something like "Oh now that's a very good school. You must be really smart." I spend most of my time in Melchers Hall, which is the studio art and art history building, and in Chandler Hall, which is the Business building. A popular pasttime for many students, however, is benchsitting along campus walk and hanging out around the fountain. I think Fredericksburg is slowly becoming more of a college town. I wouldn't have considered it a college town when I first went to Mary Washington, but with the University's purchase of more land to build residence halls and shops geared toward students, the area will definitely become more student friendly. The bars downtown are also not known for being centralized hang-out spots for students either and usually cater to an older crowd. The administration is probably the largest downfall of the university. With the exception of those faculty who make a point to get to know students like acting President Richard Hurley, Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker, and Vice President of Student Affairs Bernard Chirico, the administration and the amount of red-tape students have to go through to get anything done are the biggest complaint causers among students. Some unusual things about UMW are that we don't have a football team and there is no Greek life at UMW. There is a decent amount of school pride considering we don't have a football team. Students line up to participate in school sponsored cook-outs and events such as Devil/Goat Day, an annual campus tradition where the even-numbered classes compete against the odd-numbered classes. Of course the line is probably more for the free food and tee-shirts ;) Homecoming weekend always show Eagle pride at it's best and the annual Underwear Run down campus walk is also rapidly gaining popularity.
All my professors knew my name at some point. Of course the ones who became my advisors, or who I continued taking classes with, or who I kept in touch with over my four years there still know my name. It's really difficult to pick just one favorite class. One of the most challenging and most rewarding was my Methods of Art History class with Dr. Och. We had a presentation and paper due every week, along with additional reading to prepare us for class discussions. The class was small and everyone participated in discussion. Professors encourage discussion and particpation and many make participation a significant part of your grade. My least favorite class was Business Communications. I loved the professor and I know I got a lot out of the class, but I despised the semester long project and presentation and impromptu speech. UMW students do have intellectual conversations outside of class and students are competitive. Because I double majored in two very different subject areas, Business Administration and Art History, I experienced two very different departments. The Art History department is much smaller than the Business Administration department and I feel the professors in the Art History department knew me better than the ones in the Business Department. The professors in the Art History department are genuinely interested in the success of students inside the classroom and outside the classroom through jobs and internships. The Business department is as well. Both departments are very helpful in giving recommendation letters and being faculty sponsors for indepentdent studies and internships. The General Education requirements are annoying but I see the point in requiring them so that students are forced to experience the variety of departments. I still haven't decided if UMW is geared toward getting a job or learning for its own sake.
Students at UMW are very politcally active and aware. Young Democrats and College Republicans are the two major campus clubs that are politically active. There is also an Anarchist Club. The student body is not very racially diverse. Most are white, upper-middle class. Some well-known groups on campus are the Fencers (seen as weird), the Drama majors (also seen as weird and annoying), all the different groups of athletes, the Frat (fake, unrecognized by the university, and consists mostly of gross guys trying to get with freshman girls...or any girl for that matter), the Overachievers (who are over-involved, some are disliked, some are loved), and the rest of us. While these groups do exist, students mix and intermingle.