147 Frosh’s first midterms: A basic survival guide
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Fellow first years, I cannot believe how close we are to the end. Although the weather hit 32 degrees earlier this week, spring is supposedly upon us, and summer is scarily close.
It seems as if only yesterday I was writing about beer, boys and my first college house party—how young and naïve we were back then. Everything was so new and we were curious. Now, we are more comfortable in our surroundings. Bowdoin has become our second home. We are ready to move on to bigger and better things, and we are ready to go out with a bang. Ivies is upon us.
It seems as if this entire year I have been hearing about how epic Ivies will be. When I asked upperclassmen about their experience from last year, I received answers ranging from “It’s the craziest weekend of the year” to “I really enjoyed the parts I can remember.” Almost every club or sport has been ordering pinnies, T-shirts and tanks in preparation. Students have been anticipating performances for months. They are psyched to see the likes of Hoodie Allen and other musicians I’m pretending that I have heard of before. Some even started celebrating last Thursday because they couldn’t handle the anticipation.
As many of you know, College House decisions were released this week, and naturally the results caused quite a stir amongst us first years. On Monday afternoon, I had immense trouble making my way through the Smith Union. There were two reasons for this: first, it was physically challenging to get through the sea of first years huddling like penguins checking their mailboxes, and second, I had a hard time watching the reactions of my fellow compatriots as they uncovered their fate.
The whole scene was like a battlefield. I saw a stocky hockey player fight his way to his mailbox by vehemently pushing a group of petite girls out of his path. I watched two excited friends do a ritual jump hug and make some sort of strangely high-pitched chihuahua-like victory screeches as they tore open their acceptances. And then, no more than a couple feet away, I saw the fallen—a group of boys silently staring at their letters with furrowed brows reflecting upon their loss. They had been hit by the news, and it had hit them hard.
Indeed, as difficult as figuring out blocks and writing College House applications was, the process of hearing back from Residential Life offered a whole other dramatic punch. In fact, I think this week created just as much tension, if not more, than the week applications were due.
Fellow first years, we have been on the bottom of the totem pole for quite some time now. The bottom is what we are used to. It is all we know.
Being there can be somewhat comforting. Because hazing at Bowdoin is practically a hate crime, there aren’t many drawbacks to first year living. I, for one, majorly enjoy my central location on campus in Moore Hall. The fact that food is never more than a couple steps away is enough to make me sing.
In addition, right now we are still in the “exploratory” phase of our liberal arts education. We still have some time to take as many intro classes as our hearts desire. Plus, declaring a major seems far in the distant future. Sure, being at the bottom is not the most glamorous, but it is free from the pressures and responsibilities of the top.
Making the trek across campus is not always a simple task, especially when there’s a foot of snow on the ground. To survive Brunswick in the winter, one must have the proper gear. This includes a nice hat, a puffy coat, a pair of gloves (not mittens), but—most importantly—a pair of snow boots.
It’s nearly impossible to get across campus without being miserable if you don’t have the proper shoes. Trust me: I know, because I don’t have the proper shoes. Obtaining a pair of boots for winter has been on my agenda for quite some time now. In fact, I’ve been mentally preparing for harsh conditions since September. And yet, I can’t seem to commit.
To buy Bean Boots, or not to buy Bean Boots? It’s a bit silly, but this conundrum has been plaguing me for months. So much so that buying a decent pair of snow boots has become somewhat of an insurmountable task.
If you are like me and feel like you are a generally sociable person who prizes a community atmosphere, you have probably decided that you want to live in a “College House,” and you are caught in the midst of yet another application process. Granted, this one may not hold nearly as much weight as that of applying to college, but it’s certainly not without the stress.
How was my break? Well, which week?
This weekend is the First-Year Sophomore Semi-Formal and I am not going to lie, when I first found out about this upcoming shindig I couldn’t help but cringe. When I think of a semi-formal, phrases such as “painfully awkward,” “hokey,” and “extremely awkward” come to mind.
As a kid, whoever worked the hardest on their outfit was dubbed the coolest cat on the block, but in college it seems as if the opposite is true.
I think I’m safe in my dorm room from the harsh conditions outside, and then the next thing I know an earthquake hits.
Time passes differently for first years here at Bowdoin. We feel like we just got on campus, and yet we also feel like we’ve been here forever. I, for one, can’t believe we are halfway through first semester. I thought we would all be ecstatic at this point, thrilled that we have made it this far without any major mishaps. My parents, for example, are shocked that I am not the socially awkward anomaly they thought I would be. However, the halfway point also brings midterms and, needless to say, a lot of us are freaking out.
It’s officially week four here at Bowdoin and I’m happy to report that all the first years are finally getting situated. We are proud that we no longer need a map to get to our classes, proud that we officially learned the ropes of College House parties, and most of all, proud that we’ve made some new and reliable friends.
This brings me to the first lesson I learned about college parties: if you actually want to party, being cool and fashionably late is not always the way to go.