Erin Coffman '17
“ I chose to attend Washington College because it was the only school that did not make me choose. Every other school tried to make me choose between theatre and rowing, social life or study, happiness or grades, but Washington College didn't give me any ultimatums. Whatever made me happy was what I was allowed to do. ”
What do you experience at Washington College that you don’t think you’d find elsewhere?
Washington College is a beautiful place that is not only an institution of learning, but a home to anyone who chooses to make it so. I have made some of the best friends I have ever had at Washington College, and I have had some of the most amazing opportunities because of the education that this school offered me. My time there was not without its ups and downs, but this weird, crazy, amazing place taught me that moving out and living on my own didn't mean that I had to figure it out alone.
Describe a moment when you felt most strongly that you belonged to the Washington College community.
After my first semester of freshman year, I strongly considered transferring colleges. I wasn't ready to leave home when I did -- I was homesick, I was lonely, and I was incredibly unhappy. I had begun to apply to multiple other schools that were closer to home and was getting ready to say my goodbyes to WAC. However, after talking with my parents, I decided to give it another try. I started to feel that one semester wasn't enough to knock me out just yet, that I hadn't had enough time there to really get a feel for the school, and that another semester might change my mind (although I wasn't *too* optimistic.) I went back that January and restarted. I got more involved in the theatre department. I became more enthusiastic about my participation with the rowing team. I auditioned for and got into a play. That play was the key. I hadn't really talked much during rehearsals, but when I did, it was fun, and I found myself starting to look forward to going. One of my fellow cast members, Matt Ridge '15, was the one who really changed my mind about Washington College. We had interacted a few times, but not very much. Matt seemed really nice, but he was also incredibly intimidating (talented, stylish, you know). One night, he saw me eating alone in the dining hall. Sometimes I like eating alone, but at this point in the semester, I had been doing so very often, and eventually eating alone became my only option. Matt came up to me at this dinner and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was eating. He peered down at me (he is well over six feet tall, so this was kind of intimidating): "Okay, yeah, you're eating, but you're at the wrong table," he said. "I...am?" "Yes. I'm sitting over there." I was confused and asked him what he meant. "I'm over there," he said again, feigning impatience, "which is where you should be. Duh." And he helped me gather my things. I was nervous, but I went with him. I had such a lovely time talking to him and the other two people at the table, and after a while I felt very comfortable and happy. It was after this dinner I decided to stay at WAC, because the kindness and friendship that Matt had shown me had offered me a glimpse of what my life at WAC could be like, and it let me know that someone out there was looking out for me. To this day, he's one of my best friends in this world. People like Matt are the kind of people you find at Washington College, and they're the ones who, eventually, make it so hard to leave.
Activities I was involved in:
Middle Hall Creative Arts Dorm