Regina Mills '09 English, Sociology/Anthropology Major, Concentration in Women's Studies

I came to Washington and Lee not knowing what to expect. As a first-generation college student and the oldest of seven children, I have been the first to experience "college life." I knew that I wanted to go to a small school where I could really get a feel for what the students and faculty stood for, and where no one could say that their voice would not be heard. One truly commendable aspect of W&L is the opportunity for campus and community involvement. At Washington and Lee, I have discovered what I care about most and have become a more socially conscious student.

W&L is known for its commitment to maintaining its traditions. Somehow, through a mixture of women's organizations on campus, inspiring professors, incredible mentors (male and female alike), and my involvement in the Women's Studies program, I have found my own passion: to question the traditions here at Washington and Lee and in society at large. In my opinion, the purpose of a liberal arts education is to learn how to analyze ourselves and the world around us.

As a student, my classmates and I have a real responsibility to leave this school better than we found it. From challenging gender expectations on campus to discussing what constitutes free speech, I have tried to be a part of a bigger discussion: what is the future of W&L? Theory and action are a potent combination for change. W&L has made me think deeply about those ideals and beliefs that we need to fight against, as well as those that should remain.

For those who love to learn and question, W&L has so much to offer. Most professors are just as happy to chat about life as they are about schoolwork. Sometimes, you might need to be the one to cut off a 45-minute conversation. I have a professor and mentor who does not even teach in my major, but has voluntarily helped me do research for my honors thesis. These professors love imparting their knowledge, and believe that they learn from their students as much we learn from them.

In addition to the plethora of opportunities in the academic realm, W&L offers many creative outlets. The English department has poetry and verse contests, and the University literary magazine has continued to grow. I have been a radio host on the campus radio station, WLUR-FM, for most of my time here, discussing issues pertaining to women and gender. I never thought I would be on the radio, but at W&L these opportunities are abundant.

As for athletics, I have been a member of the cross country and track teams since I first came to the University one week before freshmen orientation, and it has been an amazing experience. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet equally driven people and keep fit and healthy.

Everyone can find a nook at W&L, whether in academics, campus or community service, or athletics. At W&L, I have been given the opportunity to shape myself into a person I am proud to be.