Wednesdays: Covering Many Parts of Campus, Multiple Times Per Day

Wednesdays are always a little busier than usual for me so when I found out that our map diary would focus on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, I felt overwhelmed.  Not only are Wednesdays busy, they are different than other “typical” days of the week for me because I give tours of the campus on Wednesday mornings.  However, these tours do not happen every week.  Rather, it depends on how many people show up to take a tour, and how many tour guides are needed.  Therefore, I always have to “go with the flow” on Wednesdays since my actual schedule is not finalized until I show up to the admissions office at 10:15 a.m. and find out whether I have to give a tour or not.  If I do not have to give a tour, I end up either going to Swem Library to do work, or go home to do work or pick up my car run errands (I typically walk to campus on Wednesdays since I only live two blocks away).  On March 13, 2013, I gave a tour, and it made depicting my movement throughout campus very difficult.  Though illustrating my movements would be difficult, I realized early on that mapping the tour would provide those looking at it years later, with an account of a tour for prospective William and Mary students.  What information to include in a tour of the campus not only depends on the individual tour guide, but also on the required topics provided by the Office of Undergraduate Admission.  Each year there are new additions to campus like buildings or new academic programs or services offered to students.  By mapping my tour on two different maps, in addition to the rest of my day, people in the future can look back and see what has changed in the tour guide program as well as the daily activities of students.

Since I give tours for the Office of Undergraduate Admission on Wednesdays, I knew retracing my steps would be particularly difficult since I often visit various parts of campus more than once during the day.  This is due to the fact that I walk in a big circle around a major part of campus (all of “old campus” and most of “new campus”) since I have to give a tour and then go back to some of the stops on the tour for other obligations like classes and meetings.   At first, I was convinced that retracing my steps on the provided campus map would be easier than creating my own.  However, I quickly learned I was wrong. Trying to maintain a neat-looking map of my movements was especially difficult since I travelled within one part of campus multiple times on Wednesday, March 13th.  After contemplating various ways of depicting the routes visited multiple times per day on the map, I decided to color code my routes based on the time of day.  I found that retracing my day on a premade map was more difficult than creating my own.  The official campus map was constricting because I had to fit multiple visits to the same places on campus within a very small space, while much of the map, especially the locations on the outskirts of campus, were unutilized. Even though I color-coded the routes, the map is so small that the colors bled through each other, making the map more difficult to read than I had hoped.

After filling out the pre-made map that was provided, I realized that a handmade map would not only compliment the other map, but it also would allow me to give more detailed information about each place I visited during my day.  Moreover, I realized I could make the map easier to follow than the overlapping lines on the premade map.  Instead of creating a map of the actual campus like the premade one, I drew my map in chronological order.  I started in the upper-left corner of the page with the first place, my apartment.  I then moved to the right and depicted all the places I visited before giving a tour of the campus to prospective students.  At this point, I decided to create a circle in the middle of the page of the various stops on the tour.  After all, the tour I give for the Office of Undergraduate Admission is basically a large circle.  Each place on the map represents a spot on the tour and includes the time my tour group and I were there, what I discussed, and what I talked about when I lead the group from place to place.  The tour ends back at the Office of Undergraduate Admission.  By making the tour into a circle, I was able to draw an arrow to Swem Library, a place I had already been earlier in the day during the tour, and wrote down the next time I was there.  This provides the reader of the map with the understanding that I had been there earlier in the day, in a much clearer way than on the premade map.  By depicting the tour as a circle in the middle of the page, I was able to not only save room on the page, but I also was able to depict three distinct time periods within the day: before the tour, the tour, and after the tour. I drew an arrow from Swem to the bottom left corner of the page, depicting the final phase of the day (“after the tour”).  I then continued to draw each stop moving to the right side of the page, ending with my apartment, the same place I started my day, in the opposite corner.  Instead of drawing an arrow back to the original depiction of my off-campus apartment, I decided to avoid confusion induced by crossing arrows.  The same idea – the day begins and ends in the same location – applies, even when two depictions of my apartment exist on the handmade map.

The process of mapping a typical tour day allowed me to not only see how much ground I cover in a short amount of time, but how specific places influence discussion and what activities occur within them (i.e. dining with friends versus taking a class).  In other words, it showed me there is a relationship between what is discussed and the place that we visit during the tour.  For example, the one academic building I stop at on tours is Blair Hall, and it is there that I discuss academics.  At Barrett Hall, a freshman dorm, I tell the people on my tour about residence life.  Everything I discuss on the tour relates back to a specific place on campus, and comes up in my conversation with the group when we are within or near that specific spot on campus.  The biggest takeaway from this assignment was that different types of maps compliment rather than compete with one another.  By looking at the premade campus map, one has a better idea of how my movements throughout various parts of campus fit within the campus as a whole.  My handmade map provides detailed information about the day because it saves space by not including the parts of campus that are irrelevant (the ones I do not visit during the course of the day). By having to trace my movements and draw a map from scratch rather than simply write about my day, the assignment provided me with a better understanding of how various spots on campus play a significant role in my day.


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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