A few days ago I was scrolling through Facebook for the seventh time, as one does, when I came across a post by a fellow first year in the WesAdmits 2022 group. I don’t exactly recall the contents of the post, but it was some invitation to attend a responsible and legitimate event that the first year was holding. I read said post, and the first thing that popped into my mind was: “What the hell, we’re allowed to DO stuff now?”
The reason for my shock at the ability for first years to do things is because for the last two months I have done practically nothing new. During orientation I was living it up, going to all the different mixers, meeting new people, trying new things, and giving very firm handshakes to assert my dominance. However, the reason that I was being so social was because I knew how important orientation was for making new friends. Therefore, in order to avoid becoming a friendless hermit, I made sure to ooze charisma day and night for the first few weeks of college. I even sang “Everytime We Touch” in front of dozens of people at karaoke, which is pretty much peak “putting yourself out there.” All the charisma that I made sure to ooze seemed to work, because by the time I got the last orientation week notification from Guidebook, I had made a group of friends.
However, as the threat of involuntary loneliness faded, so did much of the impetus for me to put lots of effort into being extroverted and going all out. Instead, I decided that it was time for me to “settle in.” What this meant was that I wanted to get used to college life, figure out my schedule, and get into a routine. And get into a routine I sure did. For the past two months all I’ve done is get food at Usdan, go to class, do homework, play an obscene amount of cards, and go out. (For all my loyal fans who read my first article, Fountain has gotten better). Our routine is so consistent that “dinner at 6:30?” has become an inside joke among my friends because of the reliability of someone asking it in our group chat.
Therefore seeing another freshman, someone who I assumed would be getting into a schedule just like I was, actively going out and doing something was a legitimate shock to me. Even though I had been saying that I was settling in, all that I had really been doing was enclosing myself into a tiny bubble of Rummy 500, “dinner at 6:30,” and late night tater tots at 12:45 a.m. Instead of settling into Wesleyan, I had just been settling into monotony, using my newness at the school as a way to justify not trying out anything new.
This seemingly obvious revelation made me realize that I’ve been treating college like high school, where all the first-years are ugly and too socially inept to actually initiate something. However, and this may come as a shock to many (myself included), we are no longer in high school. I’m no longer 14, shy, and generally unpleasant to look at, and neither is the rest of the class of 2022 (for the most part). Therefore, it is foolish to approach the first year of university like you did the first year of high school. Instead of waiting to get “settled in,” you need to just dive right into college life. As a matter of fact, the whole idea of waiting to get settled in is imbecilic, because how are you supposed to become a part of the community without actively engaging in it?
The idea of not belonging is one that many first years feel, and can cripple attempts to try new things. However, it is impossible to belong somewhere, especially Wesleyan, if you don’t immerse yourself in the community. While you can love spending time with your friends, as I do, there is still so much more that Wes has to offer. The mindset of “settling in” is nothing more than a sham excuse we give for being afraid of putting ourselves out there. We’re all at this college because we’re capable of great things right now, so there’s no point in waiting. There’s no time like the present, so go out there and do what you were meant to do: be awesome.
Daniel Knopf is a member of the class of 2022 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.