Beer and boys: My first college party at Bowdoin
The Freshman Fifteen ‘Freshman fifteen’ to SWUG: a look back at four years of Bowdoin
What should I call you? The first year dilemma
The Freshman Fifteen A high school classic brought to college: The semi-formal
The Freshman Fifteen College House results rock first years
The Freshman Fifteen: ‘Freshman fifteen’ to SWUG: a look back at four years of Bowdoin
“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Tangled,’ but when my parents left me all by my lonesome on the prestigious Bowdoin campus two weeks ago, I felt pretty much how I imagine Princess Rapunzel did when she left her tower: struck by a mix of horror and absolute freedom.”
At the beginning of my freshman year at Bowdoin, I wrote these words for my first article in The Orient. It was the start of “The Freshman Fifteen,” a column where I talked about my experience as a first year at Bowdoin. In many ways, this column was empowering because in a new environment, where I was totally unknown, I had an outlet to make a name for who I was going to be on campus.
The column four years ago was very light humored. I wanted my voice to be quirky and satiric because that is who I was and it is who I still am. To me, my column was wonderfully silly and dorky (take for instance the controversial “to Bean boots or not to Bean boots” debate of 2012). Still, I cannot help but realize that a lot of my column was trying to embody some sort of college stereotype of what I was supposed to be going through instead of speaking to what I was really going through.
I never mentioned that month-long period when I felt borderline depressed. I was ten pounds underweight due to health issues. My grades second semester weren’t quite matching up to the ones I had made my first. My roommates, who once had been good friends, now were barely speaking with me. Bowdoin is awesome, but not always. I definitely think one of the most difficult parts of my first-year here was that I was afraid to admit to people when I was unhappy. Somehow that felt like admitting some sort of defeat.
Luckily, those hard times were equaled by happy ones. Like when I decided to join the crew team and found a niche of people who I really clicked with, or getting a solo in BOKA and singing Little Talks by “Of Monsters and Men” with Nick Walker, or finding an eclectic German study group and forming the JJJ/three musketeers club. Also, just the German department in general. Seriously, it’s the best department at this school.
Reading the column, I am reminded of the ways in which campus has changed. Four years ago, the biggest scandals at Bowdoin were related to hazing and goldfish instead of race and cultural appropriation. Yik Yak did not exist—nor did President Clayton Rose.
I am also reminded of the ways in which I have changed. When I was a first year, I made sure to start any paper a week in advance. I was that kid that got ahead on homework every Friday and Saturday and did every single reading. I wore a lot of cute 50s style dresses with tights even when it was the middle of winter. I bought a coat because it was the same one that Zooey Deschanel had and not actually because it was warm. I wrote an article about how stressful Ivies seemed, because I didn’t understand how to get all of my work done and party at the same time.
Now, I’ve realized that skipping readings to enjoy a weekend hike or even just a late night conversation with roommates is completely okay. I remember the first paper I wrote without actually reading the book. I got an “A” even though my previous paper, in which I had read the book was graded a “B.” I garnered the power to write papers at the last minute and noticed the outcome was sometimes better because I didn’t overthink things. All of a sudden what “being a good student” meant was really confusing.
At this point in my Bowdoin career, I’ve embraced SWUG culture and love to wear oversized sweatshirts and all that. I can eat alone in the dining hall for dinner and feel like a boss. Going to a party completely sober and dancing like a weirdo is better than those parties where I spent a lot of time on my outfit and tried to act chill. Reaching the point of not caring is both an extremely freeing and somewhat frightening moment. When I try to offer these insights to the current first-years here, I notice a lot of them already know these things and are already way cooler than I am.
As I speak about senior year, I realize I’m brushing over a lot of the hard moments I have had this year. But, I’m also not quite ready to talk about them in this column, so perhaps you will have to wait another four years for the real scoop.
Now the end is nigh and I feel all the cliché mixed feelings about being ready to leave, and yet also not wanting to say goodbye. I am excited by the idea of gaining my financial independence, but have no idea how to pay taxes. Seriously, can someone teach me? What is more, I can’t help but notice that as much as I’ve changed, my prospects looking forward may not actually be so different from where I started. I ironically find myself once again “struck by a mix of horror and absolute freedom.”
Orientation: Making the most of Orientation daze
I remember a lot of awkward introductions. Bowdoin forced me to stand in a large circle on the Quad with 30 strangers, and asked everyone to please say his or her name, where they were from, and—for some reason—what everyone’s favorite gender was. Most just said female or male, but one brave hipster soul claimed she didn’t “believe in gender because it is a social construct.”
I’m not a fan of situations where I’m forced to bond with others. Call me old fashioned, but I like my icebreaking to happen with a bit of spontaneity. It’s just classier. Thus, when I went into first year orientation, I decided the best way to handle myself was to be super sarcastic and skeptical towards everything. “The man” was not going to tell me how and when I should bond with people. I would do it on my on time, in my own way.
Whenever I had to stand in some sort of bonding circle and interact with others, I would turn to the person next to me and make fun of whatever we were doing. I was a rebel without a cause—at least until I figured out that my plan was ultimately backfiring. In reality, joking with others about a mutual dislike of bonding games was actually bonding with them. It was Bowdoin’s master plan the whole time.
The Freshman Fifteen: No academic rest for Ivies
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.
The Freshman Fifteen: College House results rock first years
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.
The Freshman Fifteen: Class of 2017: the new ’16
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.
Freshmen Fifteen: Don’t let Bowdoin boot self-expression
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.
The Freshman Fifteen: College Houses: to block, or not to block
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.
Freshmen Fifteen: Is it over? Remarks on 5-week winter break
How was my break? Well, which week?
The Freshman Fifteen: A high school classic brought to college: The semi-formal
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.
The Freshman Fifteen: Halloween, College Edition: What I miss about the old days
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.
The Freshman Fifteen: It’s not always sunny in Brunswick
I think I’m safe in my dorm room from the harsh conditions outside, and then the next thing I know an earthquake hits.
The Freshman Fifteen: Frosh’s first midterms: A basic survival guide
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.
What should I call you? The first year dilemma
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.
Beer and boys: My first college party at Bowdoin
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.