The Evolution of Freshman Year

Here we are again, as freshmen starting off a new semester. We are reuniting with old friends and making new ones as we experience shopping period once again. The start of semester two might spark memories, good and bad, from orientation, but looking back, it also sparks the realization that so much has changed since then. For instance, remember being able to wear no coat to class? In all seriousness, though, a lot has changed for the better.


It’s hard not to be nervous at the very beginning of college. We were nervous about classes, about not making friends, and we felt very self-aware. Now we feel much more confident in many respects. We now walk across campus recognizing more people, we are not as afraid to reach out to teachers, and we have hopefully figured out who our real friends are. Without so much stress and anxiety, second semester will only get easier.

Shopping Period

As first semester freshmen, the idea of shopping period was probably foreign to most of us. It was exciting, yet a little intimidating. No one really knew which classes were known to be the most popular or the most difficult. Many first-year students had pre-registered seminars or classes with their advisors, and on average, they did not shop too many classes. However, this changed for a lot of us during second semester. After a full semester, we freshmen learned more and more about Brown and the various amazing classes our school has to offer. Plus, having already experienced the registration process and having the ability to pre-register made choosing and shopping classes much easier. Second semester isn’t a breeze compared to the first, however. Many students who aren’t sure of their concentration, like myself, face impending concentration requirements and more pressure to narrow their interests. The selection of courses are now a priority, which may be why freshmen are shopping more classes this semester.


We all had that one friend who ran out of points literally two weeks into the first semester because it’s just too impossible to stay away from the Blue Room. This is a shameless plug for the GET app that I didn’t know about until very late into the first semester. It allows you to track your meal swipes and points so you always know where you stand and can better manage your meal plan. Another thing that comes with time on campus is knowing where to eat and when. For example, if you’re craving a smoothie from the Ivy Room, wait until 6pm so you can pay for it with a meal swipe rather than points.


Going into the first semester, I was really excited, but also terrified. I didn’t know many other prospective freshmen, and the first few weeks on campus were a bit of a culture shock. It was hard reaching out to strangers and asking to get dinner at the Ratty or introducing myself to random people in my classes. Even though there’s still a lot of people that I haven’t met, Brown already feels more like home in the second semester. Over our incredibly long winter break, I realized just how much I missed the friends that I had already made at Brown, and it’s amazing to be back on campus with them. Even though it’s important to continue to branch out and meet new people in the second semester, it’s really nice to have a more solid foundation of friends than when first arriving at Brown in the Fall.