My W&L: Cameron Dabir '15
When asked to write this piece, I didn't have anything specific in mind. I haven't used a Johnson Opportunity Grant to travel around the world, embark on a Spring Term trip abroad, or really do anything drastically different from those who have come before me. However, I quickly realized what Washington and Lee has meant to me.
I began the search for college with the following prerequisites: I wanted a school that would challenge me academically while having the opportunity to play college lacrosse. At the time, I thought (wrongly) I wanted a larger university located in a more urban setting. As I enjoyed studying economics during my senior year of high school, I had vague thoughts of pursuing a finance-related major. Five years later, I look back on my decision to choose Washington and Lee--a university that at the time did not appear to be a perfect fit--and feel incredibly fortunate that luck or fate placed me here.
To describe my experience at W&L I could say that the classes and professors are excellent, playing varsity lacrosse is fun and rewarding, and joining a fraternity has given me some incredible memories and a group of friends I will have for a lifetime. But most importantly, Washington and Lee has prepared me for life after graduation in a manner that goes far beyond just academic preparation. While the professors and many mentors have instilled in me the skills that are necessary to do well, it is the work and actions of innumerable alumni that represent what this school has been able to offer me.
The impact that the alumni have had on my college career so far can best be illustrated by the following anecdotes. As my sophomore year was about to end, I was offered an interview with a finance-related firm in Austin, Texas. I wasn't certain whether this would be the best move for me, as I had never been there before and already had internship plans for my summer back home. However, I quickly learned the office had multiple W&L alumni in senior positions and they specifically wanted to hire a student from Washington and Lee. While I had been exposed to the bond among current students, faculty and the surrounding community, this was my first exposure to the willingness of the alumni to go above and beyond to help students. I accepted the job, had an incredible experience, and was immediately welcomed into the W&L community there.
This past summer I was fortunate enough to intern at a large organization in New York City. There were thousands of employees and several hundred interns, yet the W&L bond was clearly apparent. At company-wide events and dinners, I was always able to meet and converse with different alums and students regardless of age, Greek affiliation, or anything else that seems to separate students while at W&L. This no doubt created an easy entry for me into what could have been a large and impersonal world.
Washington and Lee is a uniquely bonded community in which the alumni play an active role in helping students succeed. Perhaps this can be attributed to the general good nature of people that this school attracts, but I also think it speaks volumes about the sense of community that we all share. All in all, it is abundantly clear that as I and other students have enjoyed the fruit of the alumni's labor, we too will have a duty one day to serve the students who come after us.