It’s funny. I have a Williams College camelbak water bottle.
For the record, I got into Williams but I didn’t go. I went to Cornell. And my daughter got into Williams but she didn’t go. She goes to Carleton.
I have a Williams class of 2017 tee shirt that I’ve cut to use when I work out. Williams sent that to my daughter when she got in. And the water bottle? I was given that when I led a leadership session for their diversity office.
In retrospect, I didn’t go for the silliest reason.
Back in high school, I was protective of who knew I was a Moonie. While I had worn a button with Rev. Moon’s face on it to school during junior high school, the reception I got from the other kids wasn’t all that great and I had learned my lesson. I told close friends at Stuyvesant, after I’d known them for a while. I didn’t want everyone to know. I realize now that many of my friends probably told other people – it was interesting news to say the least – but I didn’t know that then.
But someone in my high school class who was going to Williams knew I was a Moonie, and for reasons that are too long to explain, this person hated me. I had, at least somewhat because of my confusion about my faith, hurt his friend. Badly. And therefore he hated me. He thought I was scum of the earth actually.
So I was terrified to go to Williams. It was such a small school, and in my teenage brain I was convinced this person would use what he knew about me to ruin my life. I was certain he would tell everyone at Williams, and I didn’t want to deal with people knowing I was a Moonie. Especially since I was questioning so much.
I went to Cornell. I enjoyed my time at Cornell, at least mostly, and what I didn’t enjoy was a result of my inner turmoil at leaving the Church. It wasn’t about Cornell. But when we visited Williams for my daughter I kept thinking of how much I probably would have loved it there. Of how much I probably would have thrived in a smaller school. Of how I probably wouldn’t have gotten quite as lost when my guilt and uncertainty consumed me.
I survived my turmoil at Cornell. I have some great memories and many great friends. And maybe things wouldn’t have been easier at Williams, but maybe they would have.
But I didn’t go. For the silliest reasons. And my daughter didn’t go, for better reasons.
Maybe my granddaughter will go.
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