Not unmindful of the future.
So goes W&L’s motto, and we all know and cherish it as much as any college student can cherish the translation of a random combination of Latin nouns and verbs chosen by a rich man any number of decades ago for the sheer sake of having something to write under a fancy crest.
But are we mindful of the present?
That’s the question that W&L administrators have tried to answer in their revamp of the school’s current graduation requirements. The language requirement, no longer necessary for a student in the 21st century, will be thrown out and replaced by a series of new tasks to accomplish that the school deems necessary to be a successful student and person in the current academic environment.
The first of these new FDRs has already been announced to be the addition of a piano proficiency exam that first years will take along with their swim test during Orientation Week.
“We are a school that proudly boasts an unusually high piano to student ratio,” wrote President Dudley in an email sent out on Feb. 11. “We also have a number of really excellent, talented piano instructors. We should take advantage of the resources that we have been fortunate enough to receive.”
Current undergraduates will not be expected to fulfill this new requirement to graduate, but they are strongly encouraged (under threat of fines that Pub Safe is all too happy to hand out) to obtain their certification of proficiency before playing in Commons.
Students suspect that the piano proficiency FDR has more to do with access to the Commons piano than the school’s administration is letting on, simply because it is the only requirement going into effect within the current school year.
Many students, including seniors Sophie Johnson and Emily Ingram, find that the new requirement will be not only fair, but exceedingly good for the current mental state of the general student body.
“There was a time when you came to Commons and were serenaded by the works of Beethoven or some funky little jazz number. You’d be inspired to finish your paper in record time,” said Johnson. “Now you go in and you hear someone struggling through Chopsticks at the rate of one note per minute. Not really the same.”
“I have perfect pitch,” said Ingram, a music major. “And it just really bothers my inner ear to hear the same incorrect, dissonant chords being played over and over again. They say practice makes perfect but, in this case,… no.”
Several Coop workers, as the captive audience of the Commons piano, also found time to comment on the situation.
“I think it’s high time we raised the standard,” said one.
“I don’t really care who plays the piano. The more pressing issue we have is the droves of girls who come in every morning to camp and cackle for hours without ordering anything,” said another.
Additional FDRs are still to be announced at a later date, but students have already made several guesses as to what they will be.
One popular and very realistic guess is the required completion of an outdoor to-do list that includes camping, walking all the trails in back campus, going on a required quota of Outing Club lists, and other nature activities (because what else is there to do in rural Virginia?).
Other guesses include ownership of a W&L-themed instagram joke account, having at least 500 connections on LinkedIn, and a verified friendship with Francis, everyone’s favorite Stop In confidant.
There’s still much work to be done, but this re-examination of the school’s FDRs is a good first step into shaping students for success in the present, and not just the future.