Dear Incoming Freshmen: A Reflection On My Freshman Year

First off - WOW - this has been one of the fastest, yet most intense years I’ve experienced. Freshman year has been challenging, but also very rewarding.

I was very scared to enter college. I had the usual fears of fitting in or the tougher academics. I also had this strange fear that college was not going to be that great. Unlike most people I speak with, I loved my high school experience. I thrived academically, loved all the teachers, and had such a tight group of friends who I was able to be myself around and supported me no matter how silly I was being. And this was all going away come August. I also had the fear that I would not make the most of the college experience, which is a common fear amongst commuters. We do not move in and instantly have a group like residents and the people on their floor, despite the fact you may not actually be good friends with them. I felt a lot of pressure when people said clubs and activities really do make your college experience...what if I didn’t find a club that I felt I belonged to?

Well some of these fears were realized and quickly conquered. As my awesome orientation leaders stressed (as well as every other returning Fordham student), the club fair was essential to how my freshmen year would play out. I signed up for basically every club, hoping to find one or two that I would stick to. I did end up getting really involved in one club that I signed up for that day. Through this club, it helped show to me that I wasn’t just some little doe-eyed freshman, but that the minute I stepped onto campus I was part of the Fordham community. It was as simple as one upperclassman just coming up and talking to me at the Halloween Festival when I thought she did not even know my name, or an upperclassman just letting me sit with her and her friends when I was by myself. It was really the simple things that washed away my fears and really made me feel that I belonged, as cliché as that may sound.

 

Fordham is a very different place for me, not just in the sense that it's college and not high school. But the fact that it's coed, whereas I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. The first thing that shocked me once I got to college was how much I miss that darn uniform and the lack of pressure to look good. I thought I would be so excited to not have to wear a kilt everyday anymore. I thought pants were a godsend and now I could wear them everyday if I so chose. I could wear all the cute outfits I had that were just waiting to be seen. This excitement faded quickly and was replaced by the longing feeling to go back to the way it was with the uniform. Everyday wearing a messy bun, emphasis on messy. If you wore makeup that you usually didn’t you were bound to face the question “who are you trying to impress” from one of your friends jokingly. One might think that we would have capitalized on the opportunity on the few days we did not have to wear our uniform to show off our best fashion (it is all girls afterall), but no, it was the perfect excuse to come in the comfiest clothes you could find. I must have spent no more than ten minutes tops getting ready for the day. Yet in college I find myself having to put more effort into looking presentable everyday.

 

The second big change was seeing boys my age on a daily basis. It is a very different experience to say the least in and outside of the classroom. Males just think differently, it's like they are a whole different species. I am not saying that it is better or worse, just that it's different. They add a different perspective on topics that I did not experience in high school. Yet one thing that I found with the addition of boys, girls censor themselves a lot more, and I do not mean just in terms of cursing but the topics they discuss or comments they would have made. I find that with guys, girls are much more closed off to talking about subjects concerning anything that was not in a comfortable zone. Even when talking about natural things in class, girls were hesitant to speak up, yet the same topic discussed in a group of girls would be the start of a great conversation. In my Composition II class, we were discussing a movie that made an analogy of werewolf transformation and a girl going through puberty. Yes, the class was able to have a discussion about it, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about how different it would have been with just the girls. Even outside the classroom, I knew a girl who just said that she had to pee and the guys got freaked out about it.

 

 

All in all, freshman year has been a rollercoaster. You start freaking out during the first day of orientation about where to go and inevitably thinking that you're lost when you try to figure out where FMH is for the first time. Then you feel like there is no other place in the world you would rather be than Fordham during the candlelight ceremony. Studying stretches from doing all your readings two days in advance to studying for a test the night or even the morning of just because that is the only time you could. You start off being worried about finding friends in college to having to say goodbye to people you're going to miss terribly over the summer. If freshman year at Fordham taught me anything, it is that life is going to throw some interesting changes at you and you just have to take it all in stride because it might just be part of the best years of your life.