The most important thing to know about Smith College is that there are no men on campus. You will be seeing women for the next for years in concentrated doses. The all-woman college atmosphere provides for some large ups and downs: on one hand you often feel isolated, it can be a huge hassle to meet men, there is a large gay population (this can be both positive and negative), and the drama can be overwhelming. On the other hand, there is a sense of empowerment and an unparalleled education, and close bonds with fellow female students.
Find Taxi numbers for when you miss that last bus home. Be prepared for Halloween to be FREEZING and dress appropriately. Convocation is NAKED, be forewarned. Change houses if you need a bigger friend circle. Work study doesn't pay much, so try to do part-time in town. Restaurants pay well, but coffee shops and stores have more flexible hours. Never miss class unless the professor LOVES you. Try the quad if your social life sucks, or Green street if you need quiet. Don't expect to find the guy you'll marry unless you are really lucky.
I wish I would have known that I would have loved it to the point that it would be detrimental to my immediate future after college. I took part in almost every genre of activity the school had to offer and when graduation came, I was very unprepared for the "real world". Smith was my world and I took great part in her governance and participated in athletics and when I had to leave, it was a bit of a shock. I would have better prepared for this if I had known about this in advance.
That being surrounded by women is not really problematic (for me), that I would be pushed to think about the world in new ways, that I would be challenged academically more than ever before, that it would get stressful at times, that cost is important, but so is quality, and that, ultimately, this was definitely the best place for me to be.
I wish that I had been more prepared for the extreme load of homework. If I were to do all my assigned reading, I litterally would not have enough time to sleep. I also wish I'd known to really make an effort to make friends sooner. My first semester was was horirble because I had no friends, and was under a huge workload.
I wish I had better understood the revolutionary nature of the engineering program and how different it is from any other engineering program in the world. That's neither praise nor disgust, it's just different and is not the best place for an engineering education.
Finding guy friends is harder than I anticipated, because you really only see guys at parties and they aren't looking for conversation. They're pretty strick about underage drinking--Smith is not a party school (although there definitely are parties.)
Well . . . I feel that I was prepared well enough to come here. The HONS (Head of New Students) in my house on campus (yes, Smith sorts people into houses) were very helpful at giving us information before we came.
I wish that I had been prepared for how much this place would change me. It's a good thing, but it was still a shock. I'm a totally different person now.
I wish I had known how important it is to pick a right house to live in. I also wish I would have had more time to explore the majors.