Vehicles pour into student parking, suitcases roll through the halls, and the occasional snowman is constructed on the quad. You guessed it: the Bates College student body has returned to campus from the winter break. After a refreshing month with friends, family, and holiday cheer, most students scurry back to campus with excitement and wonder. New classes, reuniting with friends, and re-discovered independence are a smattering of the delights one’s return to college offers. However, once settled into a routine, life at Bates presents a myriad of adjustments that take some getting used to; some good, some bad, but overall a significant change. To get a general perception of how students were adjusting back to college life, I interviewed a handful of first-year peers on the matter.
One shift that has probably been noticed by many students was expressed by Caleb Ireland ’23, “My biggest adjustment was my sleep schedule.” He expanded upon this by saying that “over break I stayed up super late and slept in late, but now that I have an 8:25am class Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I’ve had to force myself to get to bed earlier than my body is used to.” Having the absence of academic strains and stresses certainly introduces the temptation of late nights and erratic sleep schedules, and while unpleasant at first, the early classes establish a healthier sleep routine.
Meteorological matters presented an additional set of adjustments to Bates students this first week. Elias Veilleux ’23 noted that “freezing temps make walking to class and Commons more of a commitment.” Veilleux, a native of Maine, serves as a reminder that even if one has grown up in these conditions, brisk Maine temperatures are not for the faint-hearted.
For some students, the new semester has welcomed many different activities that the revisited feeling of being overwhelmed has been a significant adjustment. Jake Lamb ’23 shared his thoughts on the topic stating, “I’m having to start doing homework again, work on trying to find a summer job, look into being a JA, and also deal with the social adjustment of getting back into campus life.” Returning to any professional setting, whether it is school or work, provides countless responsibilities and duties that are often forgotten during a break period. Lamb, a student involved in theater and music expressed how those ventures pose their own set of adjustments as well. “Auditioning for different shows/groups I’m interested in is another adjustment. The uncertainty and potentially semester changing results of whether I get into those groups and shows or not requires one to have a focused and healthy mindset.”
While some adjustments incite stress and pressure, there are plenty of activities that students engaged with during the first week that they had truly missed. After grimacing about the early get-up times, Ireland ’23 continued his interview talking about the joins of reuniting with his A Capella group. “One of my fun adjustments was getting back into the routine of having Deansmen rehearsals in the evenings.” Ireland further discussed that the group is in preparation for their February tour, and while stressful, is still great fun. “We’re working really hard and have a ton of songs to learn because we’re going on tour. They’re a great group of guys to sing and hangout with; we have a lot of laughs. Over break I missed having rehearsals with them.”
In sum, moving back onto campus presents a significant change from the month long winter break. With a combination of challenges and merriment, the general consensus is that it’s good to be back.