McLane Map Diary

At first, I was not sure how to approach this assignment.  I didn’t think that my movement from place to place could result in anything as interesting as the map we looked at in class.  However, I found it interesting to be so conscious about my physical place for an extended amount of time. I had never really thought so deeply about where I go and how my map would be interpreted by anyone who looked at it now or in the future.  As soon I realized that my map would become part of a permanent, digital archive, I instantly became worried about my lack of artistic ability.  I did not want people to think I lacked creativity because I happen to pride myself on that aspect of my personality.  In the end though, I decided to take a relatively simple approach to the design of my map.  I thought it would be better to keep things streamlined and readable rather than colorful or aesthetically pleasing.  In a circle, I plotted each place I went and the time that I was there.  I found it hard to depict my actions without using words.  I just felt that I could not embody everything I did at a certain time or place in a simple picture.   For example, I work at the candy counter in the Campus Center for two hours on Wednesdays.  But without using many words, how could I show people that I was working and not just eating candy there for hours?  I resigned myself to keeping the pictures simple, but I decided to place a small explanation on top of each image so that people looking at my map could gain more insight into my simple sketches.

I was also concerned by the fact that, on Wednesdays, I do not have any classes.  I was self conscious that I would not have enough places on my map or that people in the future would think I did not have class any day of the week. However, I made a point to only go places I would usually go; I did not travel more on Wednesday, March 13 than I would on any other Wednesday.   I soon discovered though that I move around a lot more than I thought.

At first, I forgot to write down my movement and found myself retracing my steps to figure out where I had been.  However, once I got the hang of it, I found it to be similar to keeping a meal or exercise log.  It actually turned out to be pretty interesting and thought provoking.  Since last Wednesday I have found that I am more aware of my movement patterns and what they say about me, as a person, a college student, a dancer, or all the above. However, I do not think that my movement on March 13 accurately represents my movements on any given day.  On Wednesdays I actually tend to be pretty lazy—I consider it sort of a day off.   I do not have class and only have one dance rehearsal and a couple hours of work, so I use most of my day to catch up on reading and homework. I do not have this much leisure time any other day of the week.

In his article “Place and Placelessness in American History,” Glassberg states that psychologists look at the “role of the physical environment in the formation of individual identity…this model [helps] us to consider how individuals over time develop their unique way of looking at the world.” I think this is an interesting lens with which to consider this assignment, and really the other short assignments as well.  In plotting my points on the map I realized just how narrow my scope is of what I call Williamsburg. Since the other short assignments, I have started to look at Williamsburg differently and know that there is much to discover about the place I call home for the majority of the year. I agree with Glassberg’s statement that a person’s physical environment helps form their identity.  I find that I have grown and developed since I came to William and Mary in ways that I do not know would be possible anywhere else.  This map assignment helped clarify what I prioritized on Wednesday, March 13 and presumably every other day.  I was interested by how much time I actually spent on Old Campus since I always feel like I am in the library or Adair.  I was also surprised to see exactly how much time I spent lounging around watching TV with friends or driving around town.  This assignment helped open my eyes even more to the importance of time management.  It also made me question my relationship to place, Williamsburg specifically.  I am still considering what this means to me, and I am determined to continue exploring my community.


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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