We messed up the first week of freshman year so you won’t have to. Here’s what we editors would do differently if we could travel back in time to those more innocent times, when WesCards were worn on lanyards and Broad Street might just as well have been in Siberia.
Days before my orientation at Wesleyan, I decided to look up advice on how to make friends at my new institution. In every article I found, the advice was the same: Leave your door open. It was the perfect advice, I thought—a way to seem inviting without having to get up and do something.
But when I got to my dorm room, I came upon some logistical problems. As it turned out, when I opened my door, walked through the opening, and lifted my hand off the handle, the door shut. In none of my bags or boxes were there any obvious workarounds. I could have propped the door with my trashcan, but I feared the sight of banana and grapefruit peels would not be attractive to potential visitors. Instead, I just left the door shut, even while I was inside.
To be clear, I do not think I should have used the garbage can method. Instead, I should have invested in a doorstop. You can get them for five dollars on Amazon, and they don’t smell of citrus.
— Max Lee, Assistant Features Editor
Freshman year is a time of discovery, and it’s a great opportunity to learn about the best—and darkest—parts of your self. Go outside of your comfort zone in every way possible. Make drunken, ridiculous memories with friends; hook up with all the wrong people and live to tell about it; take classes you’re passionate about instead of the classes you need for Gen. Eds. You have the rest of your college years (and life) to be a responsible adult.
Still, don’t forget to take care of yourself, especially when it comes to your mental health. If you’re feeling sad, stressed, or overwhelmed, tell a friend or family member, or consider booking an appointment at CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). Transitioning into college can be really hard, and you don’t have to tough it out alone.
— Emma Davis, Community Editor
In hindsight, I probably should have spoken more than four words my first day of freshman year. Paralyzed with fear, I perched unblinkingly, first on my bed while my roommate and my mother assembled my printer, and then in various orientation circles. Remember, freshmen: The first week of school is far from the only time to make friends, but it’s a prime opportunity to lock down a few solid acquaintances. Even if it feels like torture, and even if you find everyone around you to be completely mind-numbing, it pays to be a little bit friendly. You don’t have to go over the top—and certainly don’t do the overpowering, you’re-my-best-friend-even-though-we’ve-known-each-other-two-hours thing—but give people a chance. They might surprise you! But probably they will not.
— Jenny Davis, Features Editor
On my second day of orientation, I attempted to enter the Usdan dining hall through the steps on the outside of the building rather than the staircase inside (how I managed to miss the long line of students waiting to swipe their WesCards evades me). Just before entering, I noticed a sign on one of the glass doors that read, “USE OTHER DOOR. ALARM WILL SOUND.” My common sense overshadowed by first-week nerves, I somehow took this to mean that I should attempt to enter the building through the glass door adjacent to the one bearing the sign. The sign did not lie. As sirens wailed, everyone seated at the Usdan tables gaped at me through the glass doors. “Can you read?” a woman barked at me, apparently livid about the interruption of her peaceful dinner. Needless to say, I went to bed hungry that night. Frosh, the entrance to Usdan is inside the building, and if there’s a chance an alarm will sound, don’t risk it.
— Rebecca Brill, Editor-in-Chief
Advice: Eat your vegetables. Find music that makes you feel comfortable, but don’t listen to it all the time—if you have headphones in, people won’t talk to you. Sit down at tables where you know nobody and pretend to be confident. If you hate the sound of people chewing loudly, don’t work in the stacks of Olin. If you chew loudly, don’t work in the stacks of Olin. Speak up in class. Professors are super chill, usually, so make friends with people three times your age. Be polite to everyone. If you’re scared of jumping off balconies into piles of snow, don’t almost jump off a balcony into a pile of snow and then chicken out, making a gigantic embarrassing scene. If something isn’t fun then don’t be afraid to quit, but don’t quit too quickly (sometimes you end up loving activities that you hate at first). Above all, make it fun. You only go to college once, and Wesleyan is a great place to make your own.
— Jess Zalph, Features Editor