High School Musical’s Troy Bolton said it well in the first musical number featuring the line, “It’s the start of something new, it feels so right to be here with you!” What some may not know, however, is that he was singing about starting a new year at Whitman. I, and many other Whitties, agree with Bolton, because a new school year means limitless and unthinkable possibilities; being back on campus in beautiful Walla Walla feels oh-so-right. Classes have been in session for just over a month, and I believe it is the perfect time to reflect on my favorite aspects of the semester’s start.
Being from Minnesota, I must first address the weather. The first couple weeks in fall semester are refreshing because of the lack of humidity. Describing the weather as “refreshing” may sound wild to some, especially as the temperatures reach triple digits, but I would take dry heat any day over feeling like I am swimming when I walk outside. In this warm weather I enjoy getting a Taq burrito (see the definitive list of burritos in Walla Walla by Ryan Witherspoon) and going to the wheat fields with my friends. The heat also gently reminds my friends and I to drink the recommended eight glasses of water. In addition to drinking water, my friends and I enjoy cooling off in the new Memorial Pool, located about a block west of campus. You may also find us cooling off in a fountain at Whitman; however, I must clarify who I mean when I say that my friends swim in the fountains. One of the best moments thus far in the semester was seeing a golden retriever (four-legged friend) playing in the fountain in the front lawn of Hunter Conservatory on one of the hottest days of the fall.
Another one of my favorite aspects about the start of the semester at Whitman is noticing all the changes the school (or surrounding area) has made. The best part of this year’s return to campus is seeing and experiencing Isaacs in all of its newly-paved, bike-accessible, well-lit glory. Last semester I was abroad in a country where biking is a primary form of transportation, so seeing the bike lanes made me feel both nostalgic for my abroad experience and excited about the ability to continue biking!
Other changes I believe to be noteworthy are the renovated lounge spaces both in Penrose Library and Maxey. Teamwork makes the dream-work, and these collaborative spaces are sure to be a hit!
Finally, there are three new art sculptures on campus all created by Jim Dine. “Wheatfields,” and “Column with Ax and Rock,” are located in the in the courtyard behind Fouts and “The Abduction” is located in the Fout’s lobby. There’s so much to enjoy around campus!
The start of the semester is also great, because I am able to create a groove with good habits. By knowing how long my homework takes I can organize my schedule and plan fun things with my friends, like going to food truck night in the wheat fields on the first Monday of the early fall months, or to the humane society or farmers’ market!
I saved the best part of the new semester for last— I get to see my friends I haven’t seen in at least three months! In fact, the entire school seems to be buzzing from the idea of reuniting with their best friends, and I definitely heard some noise from first-years who are excited to meet everyone in this new place. When my friends and I get together, we catch up on our summer happenings, ranging from being a camp counselor to an intern at Microsoft, over the delicious Taste of Sicily at Reid’s Café 66. With a promising start, I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store!