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Freshman files: Making connections

February 11th, 2020

One of the best things about college is the fresh start, surrounded by thousands of potential new friends. This makes for the perfect opportunity to be your authentic self, find your niche, make friends who love you for who you are.

Sounds simple, right? Not always. In the first Freshman Files post of 2020, we share reflections written by several ShropEd advisees about the first half of their first year in college. This post will help you gear up for your incredible journey on a new campus next fall.

  1. They joined organizations they care about

“All in all, I have been enjoying Fordham quite a bit! I met a lot of good people and became friends with them. Joining the club soccer team was probably one of the best decisions I could have made. All the lads on the team are all great kids and its just a big family over there, so I’m glad I joined the team.” (Fordham University in New York)

“I love it here. It took a while, but I have met some wonderful people and am starting to build wonderful friendships. I’ve definitely learned important lessons, like deciding what kind of people I want to be around, but now I feel much more confident and self-assured that I know how to make the right choices for myself. … I auditioned for SIKOS (Smith Improv Comedy Organization of Smith) and got in. So, I have been doing that and loving it since last semester. I also auditioned for Celebrations, the student run dance company, and have been doing that since last semester as well …” (Smith College in Massachusetts)

“I ended up joining a couple of groups upon arriving on campus, which have all been great ways to meet friends and decompress outside of class. I auditioned for and was accepted into both the Stanford Chamber Chorale, Stanford’s small-group singing ensemble, and the Stanford Harmonics, one of Stanford’s acapella groups. Between the two of these, I have around 10 hours of music rehearsal per week, which is certainly an interesting position to be in as a prospective STEM major. I’ve made some of my closest friendships through these groups …” (Stanford University in California)

  1. Sometimes it just isn’t easy but they persisted

“Initially, I was unaware of the extent to which Greek organizations influenced social life. I quickly realized that they dictate a majority of the social events, at least for freshmen and sophomores. … I had an unsatisfactory experience with rush, in which I was not invited back to houses I felt I could have fit in, and ended up without a bid. Since then, the Dean of Student Affairs has helped me with a process called Continuous Open Bidding ” (Tulane University in Louisiana)

Overall the transition has been smooth and now I’d say I feel fully transitioned, but it takes time to find your groove and what you actually care about. My first roommate was a little bit of a nightmare, but I just changed rooms last week and things are much better now. …I got to move into the room of the person I was already planning on being roommates with (next year) and she is a lovely individual. …” (Smith)

  1. They keep an open mind

One thing I was a little concerned about coming into Duke was how easy/difficult it would be to make friends and spend time with people who aren’t on the track team. This has turned out to not be an issue at all, as there are ample opportunities to do so, and some of my close friends are people that aren’t on the team. For this reason, I would say that any advisees that you have who might share this concern should not worry about that being an issue. Duke does a great job of providing an environment for students to connect, and I’m sure most universities do the same. ” (Duke University in North Carolina)

“Overall, though, I’ve had so much fun on campus. I’ve found a wonderful group of friends and I enjoy meeting new, interesting, passionate people every day. I’ve also been lucky enough to have established close relationships with incredible professors and TAs, including those for my writing and global health classes. I’ve found that college has already helped me become more open to new experiences.” – (Harvard University in Massachusetts)

“I am still constantly astounded by the caliber and achievements of the people around me. Just a couple of weeks ago I found out that one of my dormmates was on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list last year, and it seems like every other person I meet was either a medalist in some sort of science olympiad or a founding member of a successful tech startup. I’m sure this is a common experience of many other first-year college students, but it seems to be especially true at Stanford. It’s incredibly invigorating to constantly be around such successful and amazing people” – (Stanford)

  1. They take advantage of experiences off-campus

I’m enjoying the campus being so close to the city, and am using it to my advantage.” – (Fordham)

“The school does have many programs in place, however, to get you accustomed to life in New Orleans. I have been paired with a Town Mom, who has shown me around New Orleans. She is in a Mardi Gras Krewe, and even took me to an official Mardi Gras ball, which was an incredible experience!” (Tulane)

We’re grateful to these students for sharing their experiences and wish them much continued growth and success! Stay tuned for more Freshman Files reports on other topics in weeks to come.

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