Study Spaces: Finding Your Place
Finding Your Space
Like students at the college today, Janet Brown Strafer, Karen Ely, and Lynn Briley discovered their own private spaces to study. While most students today flock to Swem Library, the Legacy 3 preferred their dorm room and secluded spots in Colonial Williamsburg. When the weather was nice, the women went into town and searched for isolated spots, making sure they were away from the distractions of tourists and other students. For Brown Strafer, this was a bench in the maze of the Governor’s Palace garden, and for Ely, this may have been a bench in the graveyard of Bruton Parish Church. The women tended to study solo because of their different majors, so they spent a lot of time in their dorm room or the study lounge in Jefferson Hall. The search for a private area to focus on studies is one shared by all students at William and Mary, and discovering where the Legacy 3 found their space reminds us of the unifying power of common experiences.
Learning to Persevere
Their motivation to study came from being the first African American student residents and the responsibilities that came with it. They felt they held the burden of keeping up a positive image while representing their family and other African American students around the country. Even when applying for colleges, Brown Strafer received advice from her high school counselor that she would not be successful at William and Mary, which only pushed her to work harder and succeed despite the rigorous academics. Ely spoke about the rigorous academics teaching her perseverance, stating that she "kept plugging away and refusing defeat". Their presence on campus symbolized that "doors were opening” and as the first ones in their position, they could not give up and they only became more determined to accomplish their goals.