Middlebury Freshman Year
By Lyndsay Bache
Unigo Campus Rep at Middlebury
The Chance Taker
Okay, so you got into college. You’re here. Whether it was your first choice or your last, your safety or your reach, now it is simply yours. You’ve had it with applications, application fees, resumes, college essays—anything that may have concurred with the phrase “that’ll look good on your college application.” No, now you’re back at the bottom of the pack and you’re going to appreciate it this time. Soak up “college”. You spent at least the last two, if not four, years worrying about getting here: community service, leadership roles, and part-time jobs— everything in the spirit of catering to the admissions boards. Now that you’re admitted, now that you’ve passed through the gated entryway to your school, you are going to enjoy it.
Not the most common portrayal of college freshmen: unhealthy, foolish, ill prepared, yes, but weary? Weary evokes “senior citizen”, not vivacious, “first time being on my own” freshman in college. Although weariness is not manifest in many first year college students, it is beneath the surface of many. My biggest mistake of my freshman year was letting this weariness cloud my awareness of the broad spectrum of extracurricular activities; this inhibited my ability to be proactive: sample some of them to discover which ones I found the most fun.
It is an exciting time: a roommate you’ve never met, parties all the time, classes that you want to take, professors you call by their first names—it all feels so new that you forget to seek out more ‘new’. You forget that Middlebury has a student government, that you’re at the institution who founded intercollegiate Quiditch, and that there is a club for anything and everything. You begin forming close bonds with the people on your hall and by mid-semester it seems your part of a close-knit family—so close that you forget that you were just thrown together by chance; you forget that the only common denominator amongst all of you is ‘college freshman’. You forget because it doesn’t matter.
And it doesn’t. Those friendships are unique, reminiscent of that freshman glow—friendships you will never forget; but also, they are friendships that you will have to remember. By sophomore year the glue that held you all together—your hall or dorm—will be gone. And, suddenly it’s not so clear why you are close.
That being said, my best decision my freshman year was choosing to live with someone I met through crew, someone with whom I shared more than a bathroom. It would have been easier to maintain my living situation and continue to live with the same roommate, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I wound up living in a house on campus with 4 senior guys—one of whom was on the men’s soccer team, 4 juniors on the baseball team, 3 sophomore guys, and 3 sophomore girls; it was a unique living experience—one I wouldn’t trade for any other.
Antoinette Rangel ’09 said,
“I think the worst decision I made my freshman year was loosing a little bit of myself in trying to fit into the mold of a Midd kid. I am from New York City and I have always dressed in the brightest colors, mismatching, wearing whatever I wanted no matter how loud it was. Because in the city you can have a unique sense of style and not stick out like a sore thumb. After being here a while it felt like those stylistic choices didn't quite flow with my new environment. I think I toned it down way too much and lost a bit of my eclectic nature, that was a bad choice on my part because I compromised an aspect that was germane to who I always was which brings me to my best decision at Middlebury, which was to find a place where I didn't need to worry about well, pretty much anything about being myself.
The best decision I made freshman year was deciding to play rugby. I was waiting by the printer in the library for my e-reserves to print out and when it crowded you know that can take forever. While I was waiting I decided to read the bulletin board and I read a poster saying in all caps and huge print "Do you want to play rugby?" and I said to myself "yes I do". I then read the fine print of where and when practice was and just went. It turns out I knew a couple of the girls but the rest were strangers that later became like a family to me at Middlebury. I am not particularly athletic, but that's was is great about our team we have some who have played in high school, others who were athletes in high school and want try to a new sport and then girls like me who never were into sports. Our team finds a place for everyone and that's definitely why it was the best decision I made freshman year to join because the girls I met on the team are some of the most beautiful, unique and caring people I've met at Middlebury, and my experience would not have been the same without them.”
The Social Butterfly
Maggie Crolius ’09 said,
“I really do not regret much about my freshman year, but if I had to pick a mistake that I made, I would say that it would be not trying out for the volleyball team. I played high school in middle school and high school for six years, and I always really, really loved it. I was pretty good—not exactly a natural athlete, but I worked really hard at things (especially serving) and improved over the years. I found my ideal position as a setter—a cornerstone of the team and an important leadership position. Aside from keeping me in shape, volleyball gave me lots of friends, and helped teach me to manage my time while playing a full-time sport while trying to maintain an A average.
During my senior year in high school, I was voted team captain. I loved the position, but my high school was well known as one of the best in our league, and it was an important year to aim for the league title after we had lost it to our rival school in previous years. Naturally, I was under a huge amount of stress. We ended up losing the league title to our rival team yet again, which was crushing to the entire team. We had had a good season, though, but I felt so burnt out by the end that I decided not to try and play volleyball in college.
Once at Middlebury, I went to some volleyball games and quickly saw that at a D3 school, I totally would have been able to make the team. While I appreciate the free time I have since I do not play a sport, and I made lots of non-athlete friends during my freshman year, I wish that I had continued volleyball. Sports teams at Middlebury are so close-knit, and it would have been great to feel that community again. Overall, I regret choosing not to play volleyball in college. However, I have decided to play intramural volleyball this year as a senior, hopefully to have fun playing without all the stress that I felt in high school. Hopefully, this will give me the opportunity to meet some new kids and experience a new type of athletic community.
My best decision freshman year, by far, was to make a huge attempt to always go out to parties and be social. It sounds silly, and not like much of a decision, but I saw many kids not really try to go out and meet people beyond their dorms or immediate social circles, and I really think that I probably have met a lot more cool people and done a lot more cool things because of my making an effort to attend as many events as possible. Because of my freshman year extroversion, I feel that I now have so many friends and acquaintances on campus—something I really appreciate especially as a senior, as I feel our class is coming together as a whole since we are all realizing that this is our final year to enjoy Middlebury.
In high school, I really only had a few close friends, and I always regretted not trying to meet more people and be more open to others. I think that if I had tried harder, I probably would have had a better high school experience. That is why, when I got to college, and did everything I could and met everyone I could meet. I think that college has been so great for me because of my decision to try new things and hang out with new people, and so I consider it one of the best choices I made not only during my freshman year, but also during all of my time here at Middlebury."