St Andrews vs William and Mary: Valentine’s Day Edition

With Valentine’s Day coming up, it seems like the proper time to address the romantic myths and legacies of both the University of St Andrews and the College of William & Mary.  Connected through academic and intellectual exchange, the universities offer a lot of interchangeable opportunities. However, it’s also fun highlighting what makes these universities so different (and what dual experiences are available to those who study abroad at either institution!).

A common lore around William & Mary revolves around a small bridge running over the Crim Dell, dutifully called the Crim Dell Bridge. Beautiful and scenic, it offers a great viewpoint and shortcut for students meandering between campuses. But with that said, you will rarely see anyone actually walk across the bridge. [Crim Dell pictured right].

The reason for this is found through collegiate mythos. The legend goes that if you cross the Crim Dell Bridge with your partner and kiss, you two will end up together forever. In the off-chance this myth is busted and you two split up, the ex must be pushed into the Crim Dell to ward off the curse of being single forever. Likewise, if a student walks across alone, they are faced with a similar curse: being alone forever. A lot of your future love life seems to ride on a quick walk across a bridge, but it’s one of William & Mary’s best-known myths.

Despite its mythic power over love, the Bridge gains sentimental power upon graduation time. You’ll be sure to find me walking across the Bridge with the lifelong friends I’ve made at the university in the springtime of next year.

Meanwhile, across an ocean, the University of St Andrews has a different kind of love story. It’s not so much mythic as it is royal. Of course one can hardly talk to their peers about St Andrews without somehow circulating the well-known fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met here in their uni days. The fact is apparent across the town itself. With Northpoint Café hoisting a banner at its window that announces WHERE KATE MET WILLS, the royal pair is commercialized as another formidable feature of the university and the town. [Northpoint Cafe pictured left].

The tiny coffee-shop Taste, also on North Street, is a foil to Northpoint, not only in size, but also in its publicizing of the Kate and Wills match. There is no banner in the window. Instead, it is a sticky note on the wall behind the register, which reads: WHERE KATE DUMPED WILLS. This attests more to the royal couple and their rockier days but is a part of their romance (and its still-existing presence on university grounds) nonetheless. I’ve even been stopped by a tourist, who asked for directions to the café that the royal couple went on their first date. People include the royal couple’s romance trail while on their holiday to St Andrews!

So while few dare to venture across the Crim Dell Bridge, many attempt to follow the footsteps of the royal couple and their romance over the course of their university years. Through the lens of romance, inspired by the Valentine’s season, we can inspect some differences between two incredible universities. University of St Andrews possesses a legacy of royal love while William & Mary boasts the power of eternal promises and curses on the matters of love through a beautiful bridge. Either way, love is in the air and on campus grounds, so have a Happy Valentine’s Day, no matter how you spend it and with who!

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