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Alex Frank / Spoon

Goodbye, Freshman Year

The spread of COVID-19 has cut semesters across the United States short and most students are set to complete the rest of their classes online. Denison is no different, and the sudden news that we’d be packing up all of our belongings in a matter of days before most students headed home in a panic was tough for most college students. However, the past few days in quarantine have given me time to reflect upon my first year in college and everything I’ve learned and experienced. 

During my first month at Denison, I wrote my first hercampus article, which I titled “A Case of the Freshman Blues.”  At the time, I truly never thought that Ohio would feel like home or that I’d be able to walk confidently across campus. I felt lost in the Midwest…I didn’t know how to dress for the cold, I didn’t really know anyone, and I was seriously confused as to why I had chosen to go so far away from home for college. I was certain that Denison just wasn’t the place for me, and I was ready to transfer back home the next semester. But, slowly but surely, Denison would become my “home on the hill” and one of the places I’ve felt most at home in my life. Things began to fall into place and I met people that make Ohio feel like it’s exactly where I’m meant to be.

For starters, I hit the jackpot with roommates…and really with my whole building. A Michigander, an Ohioan, and a Texan all walked into room 306…and, well, the rest is history. We cry, laugh, sing, and study together and we end up every night with our nightly routine of watching a show and coming up with silly goodnight phrases. We share clothes, snacks, stories, pretty much everything…which means I can be my genuine self around them and have learned from each of them how important authenticity is. The girls in my hall and the floor above me have also each been a part of how homey Denison feels. I could walk upstairs to get help on a lab from my stem queens or run into my best friend Nicole in the bathroom or see my friend Casper at 1 am in the common room while finishing my history paper. 

During our September club fair, I joined our LGBTQ+ club called Outlook. I had no idea how impactful that club would be when I first signed up, but it’s there that I meant some of my closest friends and found support when I needed it most. The executive board has a FYRE position, which is a student who is designated as the first-year mentor. Our FYRE director, Mia, became one of the best friends I’ve ever had. She was one of the first people I reached out to when I was struggling to adjust to college, and the unconditional support she gave me was the first time that I realized that it’s the people that make a place special. She did everything she could to support whatever decision I made about Denison but reminded me that I could manage every challenge I was faced with. Long story short, I don’t know what I’d do without Mia. Next year, I’ll be FYRE coordinator, which means I’ll hopefully get the chance to help the next scared and lonely first-year (and remind them that it won’t always feel like that!). 

Lastly, I decided, contrary to what I’d always said, to join a sorority. I didn’t rush, but I was offered the chance to COB (informally rush), and it’s one of the best things that has happened to me at Denison. The sisterhood aspect reminds me of the summer camp I went to growing up and every girl in Kappa has made me feel welcomed and excited. The week before we went home, I found out who my “big” was and met a whole new group of girls to call family. 

This year, I’ve become independent, learned how to better care for myself and others, and realized that I’m a strong woman who can accomplish great things. I feel so lucky that I ended up at a small school in rural Ohio where I get to experience a new way of living and meet friends from all around the world. I can’t wait for three more years on the hill!

Hi! I'm Chloe and I'm a sophomore at Denison University in Ohio. I grew up in Austin, Texas, and I love playing tennis, petting dogs, drinking iced chai, and reading poetry. I am so excited about this opportunity to share my writing!
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