Going into college we all have a lot of expectations. We've been reassured by everybody, from family and friends to students and the school's faculty, that these years are going to be the best and that everything will work out in our favor. With these reassurances, though, we truly don't know what to expect. We worry about being independent and far from our familiar home; we wonder what the food will really be like and what classes will actually be like; we're curious about the dynamic of living with a roommate, or in my case multiple roommates, and hope that we make friends so that we never have to venture out to events or the dining hall by ourselves.
We hope for a lot of things to happen, like making life-long friends, and we hope for a lot of things to not happen, like running from the shower back to your room as we navigate the difficulties of communal bathrooms. No matter what we hope for or expect, it's impossible to know until you're actually living on campus and experiencing everything for ourselves.
All this being said, I, among the plethora of other students starting their freshmen year of college this fall, obviously had some set expectations and ideas about what life would be like on the Hill, here at Hamilton College. My expectations were high because of the school's ranking and high praise, but not unreasonable, in my mind. So, here are some of my expectations and the realities of what I have experienced in my short two weeks as a Hamilton student.
1) One of my main expectations was roommate drama. It seemed inevitable to me with six girls sharing a common space. I had faith in the dedicated staff at Hamilton who put together thoughtful questions to ensure that the people they put together would live harmoniously, but 6 girls just seemed like a lot.
I am happy to report that living with 5 other girls has not been a problem at all, other than the occasional wait to use the bathroom. Everyone is really respectful of each other and make extra efforts to stay quiet when others are sleeping. We all have different schedules and different friends groups already, but we are all able to peacefully coexist within our shared spaces and get along very nicely.
2) I expected to love all of my classes. As a first semester student, I was in awe of the variety of classes that were possible to fit into my schedule. The open curriculum here made it possible for me to explore my interests in advanced level classes and departments in every area of my varied interests. Having the ability to design my schedule to take the classes that I found most interesting in any discipline meant to me that I would love all of my classes and be able to produce thoughtful work since I was passionate about each of my four classes.
The class that I was most excited about was my advanced chemistry class. This higher level gave myself and 20 of my fellow freshmen the chance to truly delve into the interesting parts of the subject since we were assumed to already know a good portion of the introductory level material. This chemistry class is by far my favorite, and I never mind doing the homework because I find the subject so fascinating (shoutout to wag).
I expected my Religious Studies class to be intriguing and I was excited to learn about different cultures and how they interact to form our global society. This class is turning out differently than I had originally anticipated, but not necessarily in a bad way and I am definitely excited to see what's in store for the rest of the semester.
I hoped my math class would be challenging, but doable, which is certainly how it has played out. Advanced Calculus is definitely a struggle some days, but I always feel so accomplished and excited when I put in the effort and figure out the problems.
And, finally, the class that is the most different from my expectations is my Literature of Empowerment course. This class is certainly not my favorite, but I'm not giving up on it. I expect that it will significantly improve my writing and possibly change my perspectives, so I hope it transitions into more interesting, but we shall see.
3) I expected my dorm room to be pretty horrible, as freshmen, and college dorms in general, notoriously are.
I luckily escaped the freshmen dorm nicknamed "Dirty Dunham," and got into, in my opinion, the best dorm on campus, South. It's spacious, has a private bathroom, a common area separate from the bedroom, and a fireplace. Pretty nice for a first-year dorm. It obviously still has the characteristic features of a dorm, like concrete walls and cookie-cutter furniture, but I definitely feel like my space is my little home and we've done a great job of adding character and making it a relaxing and nice space to come home to.
4) Finally, I expected to make a lot of friends. Sure the forced ice-breakers during orientation were awkward, but everybody was bonding in the same boat of awkwardness and everybody else was looking to click with people and make friends on campus.
I was lucky enough to come to campus with a group of friends who I had been talking to for months over social media and an app, Groupme. It was awesome to finally hang out with all of them and develop our friendships beyond the realm of the internet and our phones, but it was also amazing to branch out and meet the people in my dorm and classes and to just recognize so many of my classmates from the awkward first interactions and Facebook posts.
Hamilton hasn't let me down yet and I don't expect that it will, but I'm definitely excited to test and develop new and ever-evolving expectations for the next four years here.