Archive for the 'Map Diary' Category

Map Diary

It is one thing to know your schedule, but it is entirely another to try to map it out in the hopes that it might make sense to someone else. I documented Wednesday, March 13th, which was a fairly average school day for me. My Wednesdays this semester are a little hectic, but manageable (you should see Monday!). While I kept tabs on my movements over the course of the 13th, the span of time between the actual moving and later reflecting dimmed my memory of my travels around campus. So many of these movements are made out of obligation just to get from place to place, and without much thought. The process of mapping my movement has given me insight into how I have thought about my daily space, but also changed how I might view it in the future.

In working with the campus map, I found it difficult to display my path throughout the day. I realized that I spend much of my time at William and Mary within a very small geographical radius. My first class on Wednesdays, in Adair Hall, is the only course that I am taking that is off of “old campus.” Most of the time, I am in the academic buildings along the sunken gardens, or the dorms and establishments just adjacent to that area. Because I move mostly within this limited space, my campus map looks like a garbled mess of lines. I have never wanted to be one of those people who only experiences a small corner of the world, but it looks like I have, at least on campus on a Wednesday.

Creating the visual representation for my day shed more light on how I schedule myself and my movement. I rarely think about how many different obligations I have over the course of a regular school day—probably because to do so would only make me stressed. I did my visual depiction in the shape of a board game, with my start and finish location the same. I think this accurately shows the course that my day took, as well as the idea that it is a game to be conquered (or maybe just completed). While I am lucky not to have anything demanding my time in the evening, which I usually spend studying at home, I was surprised to really consider all that I do between the hours of 8 AM and 5:30 PM.

While I did keep to a small geographic region on Wednesday the 13th, what I did was much more varied and possibly worth noting. I took four classes in four different departments (Dance, Linguistics, English, and Music), had two meals with friends, and ended my night doing homework. It was a liberal arts education day, and fairly representative of many that I have spent in my four years at the College. Sometimes, when I am immersed in the world of academia, I forget how lucky I am to experience so much within this little bubble of campus life. In the real world (looming ever closer), most people go to work in the morning, stay for the length of the day, and come back home at night. My collegiate life does not take such a simple or linear path. I spend an hour or two doing many different activities throughout the day, all various facets of the person that I have become in my time at school. In what other period in my life will I be able to dance, sing, read literature, and study language all in one day? My “career” as a student, within the physical space of the William and Mary campus, gives me this privileged experience.

After completing my maps, I think I might begin to think of my small-scale traveling within this space differently. The short journeys that I take every day are a bit more than just means to an end—they add up to the larger path of my life and time here at William and Mary.

Map Diary

Jackie Vasquez

Williamsburg Documentary Project

Map Diary Assignment #4

March 19, 2013

Map Diary of Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 was somewhat of a special day for me and not very telling of my day-to-day activities. By seven o’clock on Wednesday it had felt like three days had gone by. After going back through my day, it was interesting to see how many places I went. I realized that on this day, I pretty much spent most of my time off campus as opposed to on. The only places I went during the day were the College Apartments and Swem Library for meetings with professors and classmates.

Last week was the Sigma Chi philanthropy event of Derby Days, so from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning I was at a celebration after the banner competition between the different sororities. I arrived home around 2:50 AM to the “Banana Palace”, which is the nickname for the yellow house I live in on Griffin Avenue. Of course, this is not a normal Tuesday night/Wednesday morning activity and not much of an example for my day-to-day life.

When examining my daily activities, I realized I spend a majority of my day (at least last Wednesday) in my car. I have had my car on campus since freshman year, and thinking about how often I drive places as opposed to walking makes me wonder how much money I have spent on gas. This even makes me think about how much money I can save if I spend less time in my car. This would not only save me money, but I’d probably get to hang around campus more often.

I realized that in the beginning of our semester we discussed about what Williamsburg meant to us. And although I said my experiences had been broadened since I’ve always had a car, it seems that over the years my Williamsburg barely includes the William and Mary Campus. On a regular day, the majority of my time on campus is either spent in the college apartments or at the recreation center. Of course I always end up at Swem most days, I still don’t really spend that much time on campus.

This map diary has ended up being a reflection of my time here at the school this year. As I have gotten older, picked a major, and gotten more comfortable here, my Williamsburg has become smaller and smaller. Freshman year I had classes in Morton, Blow, Tyler, and I didn’t even know what the College Apartments were. However now that I am in the American Studies department, my personal radius of the places I go on campus has gotten smaller and smaller. This makes me think that I should take more advantage of what this school and town has to offer. I should take a trek into Colonial Williamsburg more, or take advantage of the really nice study rooms in Miller.

I think after doing this project, I am going to keep track of the places I go on an everyday basis and try to go somewhere different. If I usually study at swem, maybe I will try for Aromas instead. If my friends and I always go to Chipotle on Richmond Road for lunch maybe we’ll not try to avoid all of the tourists and go to the Cheese Shop. Especially since I am a junior and my second to last Spring in Williamsburg is coming up, I think this map diary has helped me get out of a staying off-campus funk.

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.

Map Diary Reflection

I enjoyed this project because I really enjoy maps. I think maps hold a fascination for me because they make it visually possible to show where something is in relationship to something else. I also really love geography and being able to see landforms and land shapes represented right before my eyes. My love of maps aside, however, this assignment was not the easiest to accomplish. First of all, the handmade map was difficult simply because I am not a good artist. I can see a map of Williamsburg in my head, but getting it on paper was not all that easy. When drawing this map, I did not know how much I should include that did not pertain to the places I actually went to last Wednesday. So I kept it pretty minimal so as to keep the focus on my day. Had I shown a lot of roads and landmarks, I think it would have been harder to follow what I did that day and where I went.

This project was also hard simply because last Wednesday was a pretty uneventful and boring day for me. I woke up, went to Sentara to have surgery, and then came back to my dorm to rest for the remainder of the day and go to sleep that night. My mother and I stopped at CVS to get my painkiller prescription filled on the way back from Sentara, but that was the extent of my movement for the day. Because I had to show my mother and I going to and from the hospital, the route looks a little cluttered because I had to put the “going to” and “coming from” route lines so close to one another. I wish I could have drawn the activities I did at these places so that it would be a more visual representation, but my art skills are not that great, so I stuck to just writing what I was doing at each place. I suppose this is more straightforward, but it is definitely not as visually dynamic as pictures would have been. I included a map key so that everything would be as well explained as possible. And that is really all I have to say about the handmade map.

Unfortunately, I really disliked using the printed out copy of the campus map. I was only at one place on campus – my dorm – that entire day, so the extensive and detailed nature of the map kind of seemed silly and unnecessary for my purposes. Also, because everything was already drawn, it was very hard to draw routes and indicate times clearly on the map. I feel like to you can barely register some of the things I wrote on the map. Luckily, because I was showing pretty much the same movements on the campus map as I did on the homemade map, it is easy to look at my handmade map and compare to see what I was trying to show on the campus map. I guess the one good thing about the campus map is how detailed it already is. The campus map shows every building and road on campus, so it is easy to see where I was on campus in relation to everything else. Everything on the campus map is also drawn to scale, so it is just more accurate in general.

Lastly, this means of visual representation is interesting in how it depicts my relationship with Williamsburg. In a fuller map (a map with more streets and buildings depicted), like the campus map, you get a better sense of me moving through a place. In this kind of map, the place – William and Mary/ Williamsburg – takes precedence. I am a little dot moving throughout previously ordained corridors and routes. On my handmade map, however, my route and my agency take precedence. Because I put so little on the map in terms of roads and landmarks, the route I took looks like it is the only route in Williamsburg. Maybe, because of this, I should have been a bit more detailed with the surroundings of my route. This map makes me look like the most important thing instead of my surroundings. This is misleading because my surroundings and roads that already existed determined my route and not the other way around. I suppose a happy medium would be a map that was sort of in between these two extremes. A map that showed just enough surroundings and main roads, but not so many as to be overwhelming, would give the location its due importance without overpowering the person moving through that space and their agency. Place and person work off of each other. I think maps can be very useful in depicting how exactly a place can shape how one travels through it and how a person can shape how a place develops and is used. I think this project was useful in exploring this interplay.

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.

Thoughts On Kris Yeager’s Wednesday Map

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 was a very boring and sadly typical school day. The sadly typical aspect of my day may be useful to scholars down the line and will be parsed out by me later in this paper, but the very boring aspectneeds to be addressed immediately. To the future scholar: March 13th was in the middle of the first week back from spring break; I had tons of homework to catch up with; I am normally not that boring; please, do not judge me negatively for this uneventful day. With that said, perhaps the very purpose of this activity is to archive typical boring days such as this past Wednesday. Wouldn’t a Saturday have been a much different choice if excitement and out of the ordinary activity were desirable for this archive? By choosing a Wednesday in the middle of the semester, normal daily life is almost guaranteed. Right now, I am assuming that most William and Mary students had similar days as myself. (This is a big assumption.) If this past Wednesday, and all other Wednesdays in the study were typical middle of the semester school days, a mass study of these maps could be compiled and would certainly be powerful in documenting various William and Mary/21st century college student activities such as study habits, eating schedules (I skipped breakfast, oops), workout schedules, sleeping arrangements, modes of transportation, etc.  However, because the distinct possibility that these Wednesdays were atypical for an individual, an explanation such as the one in this essay is necessary so that valid information can be inferred and outlying information can be noted. Scholars should understand that a map viewing has the potential for extreme misinterpretation and also that the choice of a Wednesday in the middle of the semester has its own, potentially boring, connotations as well. A week in the life of a college student map would clearly be more all encompassing, but still, as a mainly visual object, very subjective and limited.

Certain aspects of my map may be generalized and others should not. I pretty much always skip breakfast, eat lunch and dinner on campus, take two or three classes a day, do gymnastics at the William and Mary Hall in the afternoons, walk to classes, and go to bed well after midnight. There are also aspects of the map that should not be generalized. I do not usually spend three hours a night at Swem, though I am sure many students do, and I do not always spend the night at my girlfriend’s apartment. I spend most nights at my house.  Though I did not want to tamper with the results of the study, I found myself wishing I were recording more exciting activities throughout the day. I would have enjoyed hinting to future scholars about true examples of William and Mary debauchery. My day included no late night romantic trips to Jamestown Beach, no wondering around the college delis, and not even a mad naked dash from the Sunken Gardens to the Governors Palace. I pray these unique student activities be captured in the archives some day. Maybe I’m just being nostalgic.

Looking more broadly at my interaction with Williamsburg, I believe it is safe to infer from this map that I spend most of my days within the bubble of William and Mary’s campus. Though I live off campus, my house is only a ten-minute walk from William and Mary Hall in one direction and the Sunken Gardens in the other.  My girlfriend’s apartment is less than two miles from campus. During the school year, I rarely travel too far from school. Furthermore, most of the errands I have to run such as going to the grocery store, bank, outlets, or McDonalds are easily situated on Richmond Road. I never have to veer too far off the beaten path. Though I have had many interactions with the various non-college related aspects of Williamsburg while working at Water Country USA and Colonial Williamsburg, these have been during the summers. Interactions with locals during the an average school week are rare. Even brushes with locals as simple as seeing them at the local grocery store are limited because of my cafeteria meal plan. The short conversations I have with the Caf workers at each meal are some of the only interactions I have with non-academic Williamsburg locals. However, on weekends I coach gymnastics to young Williamsburg residents. From this, I have gained a little insight about the schooling system and local activities but not a great deal. Still, for this aspect of my life the Williamsburg residents come to the William and Mary campus. I do not travel out and about. One aspect of Williamsburg that I do see by living off campus that I would guess many students to not see is the homeless population. My house is located right next to the path that vagrant people follow from the motel to the train tracks. I have had very little verbal interaction with these folks but am reminded of this side of Williamsburg daily. The map of a typical college student such as myself does not shed light onto these other Williamsburg issues that would also be very interesting to map out and detail in the archives for the Williamsburg Documentary Project.

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.

Map Diary– Gameday


Map Diary of a W&M Student Athlete

            The thought that my movements on a particular day would be archived for historical purposes was somewhat daunting. It truly put into perspective the process of historical archives; that people or ancient civilizations are studied, in part, by evidence of their daily activities – evidence that may be something as simple as a map of where they went on a particular day. In this case, it represents the day in the life of a William & Mary student athlete on a game day.

I am a member of the William & Mary baseball team and live off campus in a house about two miles southwest of the campus with other William & Mary baseball players. This forces me to travel outside of campus and actually “live” in Williamsburg. Even though I use the town for all my daily needs, in my mind I feel as though I basically go to three main destinations – home, school and the baseball field. Baseball requires so much time for practice and games it often feels like I do nothing else, which could make my map pretty static (boring). This was especially true on this day because I only had one class and then baseball, which limited what I would have to map. Not a normal day of activities for me but one that really reflected what game day is like.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 was a “day of rest”, academically. I had a difficult mid-term the day before (Tuesday) and had spent a late night Monday at Swem, studying. So after little sleep Monday night, a mid-term Tuesday followed by a baseball game Tuesday afternoon, I was pretty tired Tuesday night. Therefore, my midnight start for this project was in bed sleeping until I awoke Wednesday morning for class. Clearly, mid-terms had really limited my social life during this week.

I got up Wednesday morning about 8:30 AM in order to shower, shave and eat in time for my Philosophy class at 11 AM. Normally I would be up early for lifting in the weight room of William & Mary Hall, the location of the Athletic Department, but there is no lifting on a game day. Instead, I had to pull together my uniform and baseball gear to take with me when I left the house for the 4 PM game. I made sure to check the weather in order to know what I would need on the field going into the evening. It was the normal cold and overcast but it didn’t appear that the game would be threatened by rain.

My route to campus is north along Jamestown Road, a beautiful tree-lined street that takes you past lovely established neighborhoods. As a transfer student from Southern California, heavily tree-lined streets with branches that extend overhead to form a canopy are not that common. due in part to very large, multi-lane streets that don’t accommodate the tree-lined ambience. Williamsburg is also much wetter than Southern California, so the greenery is much more dense and beautiful. I can only imagine what is was like before the area was built up with streets and housing tracts; back when Williamsburg was just being settled and was mostly forest.  Traveling between my home and school takes me only about seven minutes; my class was located in Blow Hall along James Blair Drive.

When class ends I generally have to decide where to eat in order to get to the field in time for warm-ups. The baseball field, Plumeri Park, is located a little over two miles northeast of campus on Ironbound Road. The drive to Plumeri Park is fairly quick going across Richmond, making a few turns and crossing over to Ironbound, as shown on the map. While traveling through Williamsburg I’ll grab a quick bite before reaching the field. On this particular day I stopped at the Subway near The Crust though which is very close to campus. I generally spend a lot of time in this part of town and at the field (Richmond Road). My favorite places to eat are on this side of town and that may be due to the fact that they are near the field.

Once at the field, it’s all about baseball – warm-ups, batting practice, fielding and game time. There are a lot of parents, students and residents in the stands, only some of which I actually know. Williamsburg has that small town, family-like atmosphere and the support from the whole community at our games is heartwarming. After the game we meet for a quick dinner at a local restaurant on Richmond Road (usually Chili’s) to recap the game and then we head home to sleep.

I have realized from this project that daily movement through narrative writing provides a descriptive, detailed accounting of the day. It allows a person to identify what they were doing or why they were going a particular place, as opposed to just identifying a location on a map. However, a visual representation of movement throughout the day does give a greater understanding of “place” and how your life is entwined with the place.  It’s a graphic depiction of the larger story that is actually not included in the narrative – those  places along the route that are passed by; the different options that are available  for where to stop to eat or shop that do not get noted in the narrative; the various routes available verse the one that was chosen. Those minor details that are included on the map as part of the route traveled makes the mapping diary an invaluable part of the historical documentation. Where I did not go has never been something I considered until I mapped my own day.

She’s Not There

Sarah Cate Pizarro
AMST 410
Assignment 4
March 16, 2013

Not only am I a non-traditional student who does not live on campus, I am also a commuter student who does not live in Williamsburg. I never anticipated that where I lived would be as big of an issue as it has turned out to be. I thought I could just attend classes on campus and study at home with no problem. For my entire life, I’ve operated in this isolated way and this assignment makes it clear that I’ve quarantined myself (albeit this time, unknowingly) from the campus and especially from Williamsburg. The David Glassberg piece, “Place and Placelessness in American History” was in the back of my mind while I considered my relationship with Williamsburg. If Glassberg is correct, and “we anchor a sense of self in the places of our past, and echo our relationship with those places in the dwellings we choose as adults, in the places we call home, [and] in the places we are fleeing from” (113, emphasis mine), then I am a textbook example of this theory. If I felt like an anomaly in my hometown, why wouldn’t I feel the same way in Williamsburg and at the college? While I’m trying to repair this issue because I do not wish to be isolated, the fact that I chose to attend a traditional college as a thirty four-year old undergrad essentially sets me up to repeat my childhood and young adult years; i.e., I don’t fit in. I know that this assignment is designed in a way that considers that the student may not be on campus, but it still makes me feel like the odd person out because I do not even live near the campus. This assignment reminded me of my lack of interaction with Williamsburg, which I often choose to ignore.

With that said, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I am not as alone as I thought. While looking over past Williamsburg Documentary Project map diaries on the blog to get a better sense of the assignment, I found kindred spirits in two other non-traditional students. They faced similar challenges that I do, and I had a bittersweet moment of wishing that I could have taken this class with them. It would be nice to have someone to relate to. After locating the other non-traditional students’ map diary reflections, I knew that my day would not be the exact oddity I feared it might. It would be different because I would not talk about living in a dorm, attending club meetings, or shopping in New Town, but in the end, it would still be a true account of a William and Mary student, even if she were different from most. The following is a day in the life of Sarah Pizarro.

Like many students, I must admit I love sleep. If I don’t get enough, I do not function well; I will find time to make sleep happen. Therefore, I was in bed way before 12 a.m. and woke up at 7:30 a.m. My husband was leaving for work, and I woke up in time to say goodbye to him and start my day. Between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. I drank coffee, got dressed, read email, checked out the news, brushed my teeth, and washed my face. By 9 a.m. I sat at my desk, created my Evernote to document my day, and began studying. At 9:30 a.m. I surfed the Internet to locate a movie for my History of South Asia class. Thanks to YouTube, I did not have to waste two hours of my day driving to campus to watch a one-hour and seventeen minute movie that was on reserve at Swem. This is a great success in my book.

After the movie was over, I printed out three readings for the same class. This actually took some time because the professor, as lovely as she is, cannot scan books or articles without omitting the large black shadows that will use up all the ink in my printer. So, I had to copy and paste them into Word, cropping out the extensive black portions. This may sound tedious but she won’t let us bring our laptops to class, and I cannot afford to continuously buy ink. For me, taking notes while reading takes even more time than cropping out the black shadows. Being a poor student presents a plethora of challenges that only add to the amount of time it takes to study. The readings were interesting but dry, so it took me a while to finish. By 1:45 p.m. I stopped to eat lunch and stretch. I finished reading around 3:30 p.m. and conducted some research for my WDP. I found several articles that I hoped would help me with my secondary research.

At around 5:30 p.m., after sleeping all day, my cats started crying for attention outside my bedroom door; this is the daily routine. My female cat, Tula, cries a most lamenting cry, which makes you believe she is actually dying; she is perhaps the greatest cat actor in the world. I was ready for a break so I spent about thirty minutes with them. I made sure they had food and love, and then I returned to my desk. I read a chapter for my Sexuality in America class, and by the time I finished my husband was home. It was 7:30 p.m. and I called it a day. At a certain point my brain cannot handle anymore reading or researching, and I have to stop. My husband and I ate dinner and decompressed from the day. We had to get up by 6 o’clock the next morning, so we were in bed by 10 p.m.

So, that was my Wednesday, March 13, 2013. I did not set foot on campus or Williamsburg property at all. I knew exactly what my map would look like when we discussed this assignment in class–a cross-section diagram of my townhouse. I knew this because this is how I spend every Wednesday. This is how I’ve spent my past three semesters. I don’t know if this is good or not, but I do know that my first semester was exhausting because of the constant traveling. My only real contact with Williamsburg derived from this reflection demonstrating that I’m not there. This assignment showed me how isolated I am from campus and Williamsburg in general. I don’t especially like thinking about that, but there isn’t much I can do to change it at this point. Because I’ve set up my schedule in the way that I have, I sometimes feel invisible to the William and Mary community. I slink in and then I slip out, remaining largely unnoticed. Part of me likes it because I’m inherently shy, but I fear that some might think it’s anti-social and they are probably right. In spite of this, the only time I really notice my invisibility is when I have to interact with the campus outside of my pre-determined schedule. This assignment contributed to that observation; I am involved in a self-designed, long-distance relationship with Williamsburg and the college.

“Life can only be understood backwards […]”

When reflecting on my travels, thoughts and Monday routine, I thought of the quote by Soren Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”  It’s an odd feeling to look back on your day, which otherwise would be just another blur, but this assignment forced me to be more aware of how I chose to spend my time, and more mindful of my surroundings and routine.

Monday, March 12th began with the sound of my cell phone alarm clock going off at 8:20am, just enough time for me to shower and put myself together for my 10am class in Small Hall, a roughly twenty minute walk from my house.  The weather was absolutely beautiful and made the transition from spring break more bearable.  On my walk over to campus I said hello to some neighbors who were sitting outside in lawn chairs with empty beer cans decorating their entranceways. They were in high spirits and told me to be careful and have a safe walk, as they usually do. Campus was quite the scene; the Greek scene was all over the Sadler terrace with girls in sun dresses and guys in short sleeves, a Kodak moment for a W&M undergraduate admissions brochure, I thought. After my 10am-10:50am class in Small Hall, I made my way over to Barnes and Nobles, a more recent routine, to study for the two midterm exams which had been haunting me all of spring break.  The quiet and unpopulated atmosphere in the newly constructed café makes for a good place to study without the distractions of friends in Swem or the Daily Grind. I ordered a coffee and was delighted to find the place almost empty with plenty of unused outlets- the perks of a small town! I began looking over notes for tomorrow’s exam for Sexuality in America and Friday’s exam in Astronomy.  Soon thereafter, distractions interrupted my studies with text attacks and friends coaxing me to join them at the Daily Grind to soak in the sun and people watch.  I successfully resist the temptation to socialize, but decide to sit out on a porch in Colonial Williamsburg and read for tomorrow.  As I read about Foucault’s theory of power from below and Freud’s ideas toward congenital and acquired sexuality, I would glance around and watch the tourists, mostly families and seniors, with the occasionally college student running.  It’s times like these when I remember why I chose to go to school here. The beauty of the historic area and the livelihood of curious newcomers give Williamsburg its charm.

Feeling hungry and anxious about my exam tomorrow, I walked home to get some food and get my things to prepare for a long night at Swem.  During this window of time from about 2pm to 4pm, my mom called to remind me to buy new clothing for the Persian New Year that’s coming up on the 19th and reminded me to call my grandmother who’s visiting from Iran.  Around 4pm, I drive over to Swem to meet with my friend Joe in his study room.  The rest of the night consisted of about 60% studying, 40% socializing – the typical situation when all of your friends are in the same building. A little bit before midnight, I head home and continue preparing for my exam from home.

Reflecting upon my day, I realized that I could be more efficient with the use of my time and how getting into a more structured routine could be helpful in organizing my lightest school day. I also thought about how I remembered Monday being a really great day.  I got to see all of my friends at Swem and remembered how important my social life is to my well being. I always feel like no matter where you are as long as you have amazing friends and a support system, you will be happy. Regardless, I could definitely improve my time management skills and get more structure into my life to get more done in less time.   My visual map is a bit metaphorical and non-linear. At Swem I often feel pressured and overwhelmed, which is represented by being underwater, yet I get most of my best work done there, despite some distractions. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m at William and Mary to study for it’s far too easy get sucked into the distractions of your personal life.   Overall, this assignment helped me appreciate the beauty of Williamsburg, it’s conduciveness to getting work done and helped me remember how lucky I am to be at this incredible institution.

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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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