Mapping My Day

I already knew that my world was small and contained, but seeing this on paper made it all the more apparent. My life happens in a triangle, with Richmond Road and Jamestown Road as its edges, and the only two times I veered out of this triangle were outliers that do not normally occur in my daily routine.
My day ended at one of those outliers, the Green Leafe. March 18 was my twenty-first birthday, so I celebrated with my first pint night. As friends shuffled in and out of the restaurant to buy me my first legal drinks, time and space became a blur. But for most of the day, everything was limited, regimented, scheduled, and pre-planned. Time and space owned me.
You realize how small your world is when you think a half-mile trek to Morton is a pain. Normally, I stay in old campus all day long, but on March 18, I had to walk to Morton Hall to turn in a problem set for a class that is normally in Washington Hall. Most people commute miles to work everyday, but my longest journey took me such a tiny yet inconvenient distance that I’m now appalled by how limited my world is.
The map I drew to represent my world is simple and contains only the thirteen places I actually went that day. I clearly marked the borders of my world by depicting the two roads that act as markers for the edge of my earth. By showing only those places, I realize how compact this campus is, and how I have constructed my schedule within this campus to be even more compact. I chose to live in Old Dominion because it’s right in the middle of the places I go. I try to schedule my classes in old campus so that I can wake up only minutes before and still make it there on time. I eat exclusively at the University Center, despite the fact that I prefer the Commons, because it’s literally feet away from my dorm.
My work, my home, and my food are all within a half-mile of each other — reflecting on this, I feel like I’m living in one of those early 20th-century coal mining towns where workers would live out their entire lives. I see just how tiny William and Mary is, and how, with most undergraduates living on campus, people seem to find it attractive to live in a tiny space.
Looking at this historically, it seems natural that we would prefer to be contained and limited. Only a century ago, our society was largely agricultural, meaning most people lived out their lives on self-sufficient farms. My grandfather barely left his family farm until he was sixteen years old heading to college, and he says the four-hour drive to Virginia Tech was horrifying because he never realized one could be so far away from home. And once he readjusted to college, he almost never left campus.
Despite sometimes getting claustrophobic and needing to get away for a little while, I’m content in my tiny space. I enjoy living in the middle of campus, and I feel connected to this small college community because there is always something going on right outside my dorm.
Looking at my map, I also realize how often my path overlaps itself. The rigid schedule I’m forced to follow causes my trail to be extremely inefficient. My rigid schedule also causes my life to be monotonous, as I visit the same places everyday and pass by the same familiar spaces.
Both in terms of time and space, my life is routine. Which, I guess, is the way I like it. But it’s nice, from time to time, to walk across one of my borders to the Green Leafe, as I did on the night of March 18, to forget about time, space, and the tiny place that is my world.


About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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