Map Diary Reflection

Wednesdays are my most busy, mobile days. I only have one class – American Welfare State at 10am – and the rest of the day is “free.” For me, “free” means extra-curricular involvements and studying. I proceeded to McGlothlin-Street Hall (which I abbreviated on my map to McGl) for a focus group meeting for academic advising. I am one of three students on the academic advising task force, which is a body that aims to assess the future direction of the Office of Academic Advising at the College. I took notes during this meeting in which faculty members spoke about their experiences with academic advising. After I stepped out of McGlothlin, I headed to the Sadler Center. I sent a package to a friend and picked up lunch at Einstein’s. I have the Block 50 meal plan, which means I have hundreds of dollars in flex. As of today – March 18 – I only have $6.05 left. That should speak to the amount of flex I spend on a regular basis. From Einstein’s I shifted into an academic mindset – I was on a mission to find a study space before my research meeting at 1pm. I tried the Sadler study lounge and the Grind – both of which were too noisy and distracting – until I settled for the first floor of Swem. I ran into a friend outside of Swem so we decided to study together. I finished about half of my work before I left Swem for my meeting on the first floor of Morton. My research professor, the freshman I am working with, and I spoke about the direction of our project for about. I headed back to Swem after our Morton meeting. I had work at the Reves Center at 3pm – which is unusually because I generally work on Thursdays and Fridays – so I committed to finishing my work at Swem before I went to Reves. I finished just in time – at 3pm – but it took me ten minutes to walk to the Reves Center from Swem so I was ten minutes late to work. I stayed there until 5pm. Then, it was back to the Grind where for my conversation partner hour. Each week, on Wednesdays, I meet with an international computer science graduate student from China to help him with his conversational English. Our meetings generally consist of catching each other up on what we did over the weekend. In this session, which was directly after spring break, we talked about what did over the break. He went to Texas to see his wife while I was home with my family and in New York City with my friends. After our meeting ended, I walked to another table about fifteen feet away to catch up on emails and socialize with friends. Twenty minutes later it was time to head out to my research lab meeting all the way in Morton. I trekked to the faraway building and arrived one minute late – as usual. My research professor led the group through a article that questioned a scholar’s ability to write clearly and concisely. We edited this individual’s work and then talked about our own efforts in the research project. I got out of lab a bit early, which is a rarity, so I headed to my room to continue to answer emails and relax. At 7:50pm I left Jamestown North for the Campus Center for HOPE meeting. I had not been to a HOPE meeting in a very long time so I felt a little uncomfortable; I wasn’t sure how to justify my absences. Generally lab run so long that I am unable to attend HOPE meeting. That was not the case this week. After meeting, I walked to Swem to work at the first floor computers. When the tables to the left of the computers on the first floor are unavailable, this is my favorite spot. After a while, my productivity began to dip so I headed back to my room in Jamestown North. I studied there until midnight.

I realized that every space I go has a certain theme. When I enter a certain space, I seem to assume a new role – whether it is academic, social (or non-academic), or extra-curricular. In my room, I am mostly consumed with non-academic, personal activities such as sleeping, eating, changing, and so on. Sometimes, I also study in my room, which compromises the ability of the space to be a zone for personal time and reflection. In classrooms, I am dedicated to either academics or extra-curricular pursuits – often depending on the time of day. When I am in a classroom in the morning, I am often there to learn from a professor in a class. When I am Swem, my focus is generally on academic pursuits. Sadler Center is a space for personal time – on Wednesday, March 13, it was for purchasing food and sending packages. Other spaces that serve one particular function – such as the Reves Center, which is where I work – are purely extra-curricular, academic, or personal spaces. The Reves Center, for example, is exclusively extra-curricular. I do not consider it a personal or academic space.

The Grind is one of the only spaces where I exhibit all three categories of activities: personal, academic, and extra-curricular. When I walk into this space, I have trouble figuring out which activity I want to attend to. I tried to schoolwork at the Grind earlier that day and I was unable to because it felt more like a social space at the time. As I spoke to my conversation partner around 5:10pm, I remember seeing some of my friends who I wanted to socialize with. If I am there with my conversation partner, I often introduce him to my friends – blurring the lines between social work and extra-curricular work.

After I drew on the campus map, I realized my activities from March 13 were confined to new campus and old campus. Landrum, Jamestown, and Stadium drives provided me with loose boundaries for my map. I only stepped out of them when I crossed Jamestown road for work at the Reves Center and a meeting at the Campus Center. Upon finishing my map, I highlighted the nine buildings I visited that day out of the dozens of buildings at William and Mary. I was only able to discover this after I took the information from my written experience on March 13 and put it on a map. The lines I drew between the different buildings also emphasis the distances I have to walk between spaces that are very far apart from one another on campus. The colors of the lines on the map represent the type of activity I was planning on participating in once I arrived at my destination. Most of the lines in the map are orange and blue, which emphasizes the time I spend on academics and extra-curriculars.

In the beginning of the semester I said that because I do not have a car on campus, my experience in Williamsburg is limited to the campus. On March 13, 2013, my Williamsburg was not only limited to William and Mary, but to a total of nine buildings on campus. This speaks to my limited knowledge of the area as well as my limited activity in this small space. Although my map makes it clear that I spend a lot of time on the move between different spaces – and alternating between different mindsets, objects, and goals – my experience of March 13 illustrates my narrow perspective of the town.


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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