Expectations of a College Freshman

Expectations of a College Freshman

How my expectations have rivaled reality during my first two weeks at Hamilton.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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8 Affirmations For Every Struggling College Student

You're doing well.

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College is tough. In high school, you normally got the best grades and were one of the top students, but in college, everyone seems to be as good or better than you. Here are eight affirmations to remember while you're in college.

1. Just because you’re struggling academically doesn’t mean you’re ignorant or stupid.

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2. Just because you’re struggling mentally or emotionally doesn’t mean you’re weak or oversensitive.

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3. Your college education is an opportunity for you to enhance your life and challenge yourself to become a better version of yourself.

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4. Success doesn’t come easily - it requires LOTS of patience, hard work, learning, perseverance, sacrifice, love, and passion for what you’re doing.

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5. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.” -Rikki Rogers

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6. These challenges in your life right now exist for a reason - they exist to make you stronger and help your character grow.

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7. “If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” -Steve Jobs

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8. You’re doing well. Without a doubt, it’s hard now, but in the end, it’ll all work out.

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Sometimes, it's hard to adapt to college life because it seems like everyone else has their shaz together, but you're not alone. Yes, it's hard as heck now, school's rough, and you feel like you're behind, but don't worry - you'll get through this.

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