By Ally Uhlendorf
Dear incoming class of 2027,
As the spring season kicks into full gear, it’s once again that time of year that college commitments are rolling in. Everyday, I see a handful of tours with wide-eyed incoming freshmen, looking completely lost (yet hopeful) as they walk around the College’s campus. A year ago, I was in the exact same position; walking around what seemed to be a big and confusing campus, smiling and nodding along to the tour guide’s fun facts about the College, anxious about what was going to come next. As I come to the end of my first year, I look back at all of the things I have learned in the past two semesters that I wish I knew in August.
First, Welcome Week is scary, and it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. On your first day, you’re not going to be completely comfortable with the idea of college. Living on your own without the support of your family is a huge adjustment that takes time; it’s completely normal to feel homesick. The pressure to make new friends and become instantly immersed in college life is unrealistic. Do what you please and what you’re comfortable with, however, keep in mind that the events the College hosts are there for a reason and are a great way to meet people. The anxiety that comes with Welcome Week is not permanent, and it’s likely you will not feel fully comfortable until classes are in motion and you’re on a regular schedule.
Don’t set high expectations for the food. Eick is not your mom’s cooking, and it’s important to prepare yourself for limited options in the dining hall. With that said, make the most out of what you have. You’re paying for the meal plan, so you might as well use the swipes. Going to Eick everyday may seem like torture, but if you find some sort of “comfort meal,” you’ll survive. Utilize meal-equiv wisely, and try to save your points (I learned this the hard way).
Talk to people in your major — you’re going to be with them for all four years, so it’s good to get to know them. Working together on projects for classes, getting their number, grabbing lunch or simply making small talk in class is a great way to make connections with people you’ll be working closely with. Having these connections will make it a lot easier to have a go-to person in your same area of study.
Find a “comfort spot” on campus. Personally, my go-to is the first floor of the library. It’s a great place to work, people watch and just hangout (and the Starbucks is a plus). Having somewhere to go where you feel calm and collected is a great resource to have, especially if you want to spend time outside of your dorm. There’s so many spots on campus that are super cozy and great to hangout in, both outside and inside.
Use a planner/Google Calendar — it’ll save your life. Once you get your schedule for the semester, plan out any assignments, events or even just your everyday schedule in some sort of planner. Not only does this help you stay organized and prepared for the future, but it also will serve as a constant reminder for any outstanding work you may have. It’s a great way to keep your brain less cluttered and to see what your semester will look like.
If you’re living in the Towers, bring at least 3 fans each. The heat in the beginning of the first semester not only is quite literally unbearable, but it just adds to the stress. I 100% recommend each roommate to bring 3 fans for the room, which may seem crazy but is shockingly completely necessary if you want to enjoy being in your room.
Lastly, make the most of your first year. I truly can’t believe I’m sitting here writing this; it feels like I just moved into my little shoebox dorm. There’s nothing more important than cherishing each moment — it’s all part of the process. The growth you will undergo during your freshman year is so special, so make the most out of these moments.
The college process is a scary and lengthy one, but it’s all worth it, I promise. It all works out in the end, and each experience you encounter will make a great story for the future.