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A Recap of My First Year of College: Covid Edition

I’ve been looking forward to college since, well, high school. I was lucky enough to attend a college preparatory high school, so college has been on my brain since I was fourteen. I applied early decision to Colby College after touring nineteen schools (it was actually the last school I toured). I was accepted during the December of my senior year, and I was so excited to know where I was going. I felt like things were falling into place just as the pandemic hit, and then it suddenly felt like I lost it all. I breathed a sigh of relief when Colby announced that we would attend school in person, because many of my friends had to spend their first year of college at home alone with their parents. Overall, I have had a great year, and I’m so lucky to have ended up at Colby.I wanted to take a moment to look back on this year and share some of it for any of you that might be starting college in the fall. 


Dorm Life:

This was the first time in my life that I lived in a dorm, and it was one of the things I was most nervous about coming into the school year. When I pulled up to school in my parents’ car, I couldn’t help but feel a little helpless, but my roommate and I had been texting over the summer and knew a little bit about each other. I had a good feeling about it, and I was right. My roommate is one of my best friends at school! We live together incredibly well, and that is a common experience for students here from what I’ve heard from others. The other kids in my dorm are also wonderful. We all got close during the quarantine period in August, playing card games and going on walks, and they’ve remained my close friends on campus. At the beginning of the year, I was also concerned about communal bathrooms. Though they are a little messier than I would personally like (I’m a bit of a neat freak), they are fine and totally liveable. I actually love living in the dorms, and I’m excited to relive this experience again next year. 


Making Friends/Social Life:

The thing I was most worried about was the thought of having to make friends. I was lucky enough to have a solid group of high school friends, but I feared the difficulty that came with starting over, especially during the pandemic. I was also aware of the fact that it would be harder for me to make friends since I wasn’t on a sports team. I was lucky that the people in my dorm were so great and that my roommate and I got along so well, because I think it would have been a very lonely year for me otherwise. COVID restrictions meant going out on the weekends wasn’t really an option, and social distancing in class made it hard to make friends. I had to work harder to foster relationships with those around me, reaching out to kids in my classes to get meals and hang out outside of class time. The pandemic definitely added a layer of difficulty to something that I was already worried about. I hope that next year this will be easier for the incoming first year students, but it is also important to recognize that you will constantly be meeting new people and fostering new friendships throughout college. 



Coming from a college preparatory school, I was worried about the transition from high school to college classes, but it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. When I found out that all my classes in the fall were in-person, I was so relieved. I had a relatively normal fall, with one of my lecture classes meeting outside in a tent (this is irregular) and the other being hybrid (we could go in-person twice a week and watch online once). I spent a lot of time during the day outside of my dorm room which was nice. In my in-person classes, I was able to make friends and have a semester that felt somewhat normal. This spring, however, two of my four classes were fully virtual, and that took a huge toll on my energy levels during the day. It took me longer to do work, and I felt much more exhausted after classes. Hopefully this won’t be a problem next year, but I feel for the kids who had to do all online classes this year. That shit is tough. As far as the classes themselves, I liked some and disliked others, but this helped me realize what I like and don’t like. I tried a lot of new subjects this year, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so. It’s helped me to figure out what I want to do. 



Figuring out what I like was a long process. I came into college thinking I would double major in English and Chemistry and go pre-med, and wow, things have changed. I am still happily planning on majoring in English (with a creative writing concentration), but I dropped Chemistry and pre-med after I took the intro class and realized I would be miserable for the next three years if I continued on that track. I realized that college is the time to learn about what really interests me, so I decided to double major in English and Art History. I am so happy with my decision and can’t wait to spend the next three years learning about what I love. 


So that was my first year experience! I’m so grateful to have been able to be on campus this year, and I can’t wait for the next three! Go Mules! 

Natalie Foster is a student at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She is hoping to major in English and Art History. She is an avid writer and in her free time enjoys reading, journaling, listening to music, watching Pride and Prejudice (2005), and dancing on the Colby Dance Company.
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