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Freshman Check-in

Freshman year tends to be one of the most overwhelming years for college students, as they pack their bags and move to the new place that they’ll call home for the next four years. 

 According to this year’s freshmen, the first few weeks of school have already brought public humiliation, new friends, and unprecedented amounts of homework. 

Emme Bailey, a nursing major from St. Louis, Missouri, said that so far, her lacrosse team has been one of her favorite parts of college. 

“Team bonding has been putting me at ease—with all the homework, getting used to organization and structure and all of that, the best thing is definitely having my team and school friends to calm me down if I get stressed,” she said. 

Bailey said stress is becoming a regular occurrence in her life, since she’s trying to balance the prerequisites for nursing school with lacrosse and a social life. But Bailey said that if she could go back and tell her past self what college life would be like, she would be reassured about her ability to handle everything. 

“I was so nervous about not being able to handle both lacrosse and being a nursing major, but it’s totally doable,” she said.  

“You just have to learn how to say no. Like if all of your friends are going out one night and you have a test the next day, say no. You can’t go out, you have to study.” 

Bailey also said it’s important to give yourself a break every once in a while. 

“It’s about just finding that balance of being able to have fun but academics coming first,” she said.   

Jae Holliday, another nursing student from Oklahoma, agreed that the workload for pre-nursing students is a lot. 

“They want you to read a lot, they want you to write a lot—and it’s all possible but in that moment, it feels like it’s too much to handle,” he said, adding that he’s already counting down the days until fall break. 

Holliday also said that one of his favorite parts of college is that college gives you a chance to restart and grow as a person. 

“You walk in with a different mindset with all the previous skills that you’ve learned, and you get to walk into an area and not just build off those skills, but use them for reference,” he said. 

Ainsley Willingham, a student from Seattle whose major is still undeclared, said that she would give incoming freshmen very simple advice. 

“Read the syllabus!” she said with a laugh. “I didn’t read the syllabus like I was supposed to and then two days later, I had an assignment due but I didn’t know about it.” 

Willingham said that the syllabus incident has forced her to stay on top of her homework—and said that it’s also led to a surprising discovery about her college self. 

“I’m more type A than I thought,” she said. “I have a planner that’s organized by the hour and I’ve realized that if I don’t have that then I’m like ‘Wait, what am I supposed to do?’ Like the minute I find out about an assignment, I’m writing it down now.” 

Willingham also said that the hardest thing about college is suddenly being independent and having to discipline herself without her parents around. 

JP Pecha, from Sacramento, California, agreed with Willingham and said that living away from home is an adjustment that he wasn’t anticipating. 

“It’s a lot different from high school, because here you’re at school, but you’re also living here. Having everything so close to you… it’s crazy,” he said, laughing. 

But Pecha also said that he’s adjusted well and said that dorm life is one of his favorite aspects of campus. 

“[One of the best things about college is] being around your friends all the time and living with them—it’s like one big house with your friends who will become your family,” Pecha said. 

Finally, the Circuit asked the freshmen the question that everyone wants to know: what they honestly thought of beanie week. 

“That was just straight hazing—nonstop hazing,” Holliday said, adding that upperclassmen pulled his beanie at least 28 times.  

Pecha agreed with Holliday, but said that he loved the tradition nonetheless. 

“I think the public humiliation aspect of it is honestly a great way to introduce freshmen to the school,” he said. 

Bailey said that her beanie was pulled a lot as well, but mostly by her lacrosse teammates. 

“Being on a team is definitely hard—if you see a teammate they’re going to make you caw, and that’s just kind of how it is. I would do the same thing if I was an upperclassman though,” she said. 

“I thought it was nice because I could see who my people were, see who was going through the same thing,” Bailey said. “It made me want to go up and talk to people because they’re freshmen.” 

Willingham was the only one who mentioned using tactics to avoid getting her beanie pulled, saying that she was constantly looking over her shoulder and running to avoid upperclassmen. 

“Sprinting two blocks in like 90% humidity was an experience, but I’ll always remember it, so I guess that’s fun,” she said. 

All the freshmen agreed that they’ll be pulling a lot of beanies next year, when they’re safe in the sophomore class. 

Hannah Hiester
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