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Surviving Your First Month as a Freshman at Hamilton College

It’s move in day! You arrive on campus and are immediately greeted by herds of screaming students in yellow t shirts. Everyone looks great in yellow. Before you can catch your breath, there are eight upperclassmen climbing into the back of your van. They’re hauling your seven suitcases, four backpacks, and nine storage boxes into the building. Your mom begins to arrange your bedding while you worry about how you’re going to arrange the (battery powered) LED lights you purchased off of Amazon, which is clearly the most important part of your dorm room. Just as you’re getting to know your roommate, you remember that you get to spend your first five days of college peeing in the forest and sleeping next to people who haven’t showered in days. Times are exciting.

As you wake up the next morning, you’re already hyped because you get to go into the wilderness with strangers. What makes it even better is that you must take a swim test in front of your new classmates! We love a college with a PE requirement. Soon, you’re on a bus being shipped off to what seems like paradise for five whole days!

Orientation trips are weird. Somehow the weirdest conglomeration of people become the only people you feel comfortable around. You start out by thinking there is no way this experience could be what you want it to be. You’re right, but it’s good enough.

Coming back to campus is awesome. It’s great to see hundreds of strangers pretending to be best friends. For some of the orientation trips, there are unexpected friend groups while your GroupMe, if you even had one, died on the second day back. The campus is still completely foreign. The orientation packet is your Bible while  your Snapchat map is your best friend. On campus, orientation activities roll around. Even though you love attending two hour long lectures in Wellin with no service or wifi, you begin to want classes to begin. It will give you structure and routine. It will give you things to do and people to be with.

That is what you thought. You begin to remember what it was like to do homework and study, just like the times before you got into college. Your calc homework takes eight hours and almost makes you cry twice a week. You begin to question all of your life choices – everything you thought you were good at  and everything you thought you wanted to do. You hole up in the library until midnight with your friends even though you probably don’t need to. You just love to waste time. As long as everyone has their sticker decorated Macbooks out, you feel productive enough.

The constant meeting of new people has started to die down and the desperation begins to subside. All those people who you added on Snapchat in the first two days back on campus become distant memories. You can barely match a face with a name. You have finally tried all the places to eat on campus, as there is a very extensive, diverse, and wide selection. You have picked up eight packages and counting from the mail center, not because your family loves you, but because you finally have a student Amazon prime account. Your period comes unusually early and in the middle of class. You witness someone take your laundry out of the washer and rudely place it on top. It’s fun because even though you thought classes would give you routine and stability, your life somehow feels way more hectic!

Your skin is not cooperating, but it’s probably because you eat greasy pizza and lucky charms at almost every meal. Your pants that used to be too big suddenly no longer require a belt. Your friends are eating healthy, but you just can’t. Your diet consists of pasta, pizza, lucky charms, and cookies. But it literally doesn’t matter, consistency is key!

The weekends are great; there is always a lot to do on campus. You love to be in situations where it’s 10PM on a Friday night and you’re still not sure if anything is happening. You see girls on your floor leaving to go out in uniform – a crop top and jean skirt. You want to make fun of it, but you’re wearing the same thing. You’ve never heard Mr. Brightside played more times than you have in the last few weeks.

Before you know it, it feels like you’ve been on campus for months. Maybe longer. Each day drags out forever, but the weeks pass quickly. You feel like you’ve known your friends forever. As chaotic, weird, and messy your life is, you love it like you never have before.

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