50 Things I’ve Learned as a First Year

There’s no other year in college when you learn more than you do in your first year. Well, let me clarifyacademically, you have the potential to learn incredible amounts over any of your four years. However, the first year of college is the year that teaches you the most about life: its ups, its downs, its obstacles, its liberties. Some things are serious, some frivolous; regardless, the following are all either things I have learned or thoughts I have had at least once during my time at Whitman.

  1. Being different is always more fun
  2. Communal bathroom showers are great for singing
  3. Philosophy is hard
  4. Wearing zebra feet pajamas in the library will get you applause
  5. Approaching a “bad” situation with a good attitude always makes it a positive experience
  6. Frugality is the only option
  7. College students actually care about their schoolwork
  8. Someone’s sexuality can not be fully described by one simple word
  9. Dining Hall food quality is underrated
  10. How to deal with the awkwardness that follows a hookup
  11. People are, generally speaking, nice and genuinely want what’s best for you
  12. I don’t know what I want to do with my life
  13. Most people here don’t know what they want to do with their lives
  14. It’s okay not to know what you want to do with your life
  15. A 24/7 library is a gift from the heavens
  16. Professors truly do want what’s best for you
  17. The size of a class does not determine its value
  18. Catullus writes non-sexual poemssometimes
  19. Fraternities are not as scary as they seem
  20. A lava lamp changes the mood of a room
  21. Getting ready quietly when your roommate is sleeping gets easier with practice
  22. Encounters is one of the most valuable classes here
  23. The walk across Ankney field is twice as long in the middle of the night than it is during the day
  24. Alone time is a necessity
  25. Studying for a test is always a legitimate reason to skip a social event
  26. Everything I need is within walking distance
  27. Singing soprano I on Mozart’s Requiem is an ab workout
  28. The Greek System is an outlet into the bigger social scene
  29. Badminton is underrated cardio
  30. There’s more caffeine than blood in my veins
  31. Taylor Swift is always the best way to get people hyped at parties
  32. Planning to wake up early to do homework is not going to work
  33. Being sober at a party is a hilarious experience
  34. You’ll very rarely regret saying yes to opportunities you’re presented with
  35. Long distance relationships are unrealistic at this age
  36. First impressions are most often incorrect
  37. Computer science will ruin your life in a good way
  38. Beta’s pool table is the cleanest one on campus
  39. Getting feelings for a friend is not going to end well
  40. Geology is the best non-science science class
  41. International students are some of the most open-minded students out there
  42. Not all sorority girls are tall, thin and blonde
  43. How to do laundry
  44. The friends you make on your first day often are not the ones you have on your last
  45. Meeting someone special seems to occur whenever you aren’t actively trying to
  46. My parents deserve infinite thank yous for sending me to this school
  47. How to be there for a friend who’s hurting
  48. Balancing time between schoolwork, campus jobs, greek positions, community service, working out, social scenes and a relationship requires tremendous time management
  49. Naps are going to happen whether you want them to or not
  50. College is too short to pretend you don’t like country music

As you can tell from this list, the things I’ve learned so far during my first year at Whitman have contributed greatly not only to my academic life, but also to my personal life; I have learned to live away from my family, adjust to having a roommate, practiced partying safely, and felt comfortable opening my heart in new ways and to new people. Sure, people may say that freshman year is the scariest—but it’s also the most rewarding.


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