The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Dear First-Years: We’ll Hold the Door

Katherine Merisotis/The Bates Student

Welcome, Bobkittens! Your first year of college is an absolutely wild time, and having just been through mine, I feel qualified to say that. I’ve learned many things last year that I feel rather compelled to share with you. So, here I will join the hordes of other sophomores on various social media platforms and share some advice for your first year of college.

  1. Consistency is key.

Make friends. You’ve heard this advice, I’ve heard this advice, everyone has heard this advice. This particular wisdom (if you want to call it that) is always well-intentioned, but it also annoys me to no end. Why? Because the generous bestower of this advice will never acknowledge how much easier said than done this is. Instead, they should share this: most friendships are the result of proximity. You are inevitably going to form relationships with the people you see and interact with on a regular basis. In college, however, you will not be forced to be around people regularly unless you choose to. That means that in order to make friends it’s a good idea to join a club, team, or other extracurricular that meets regularly and forces you to talk with different people. You’re not going to have a community right away and joining is likely going to feel extremely uncomfortable and awkward. However, if you persevere through this desert of awkwardness and keep showing up, you will gain some wonderful friends.

  1. Be patient, relationships take time and intention.

This was and still is a hard lesson to learn. In my first year, although I made friends with people, these friendships felt shallow and unfulfilling at times. I mistakenly thought that these shallow friendships were a reflection of my inability to form deep relationships. However, all relationships take time to develop and become meaningful. Throughout the year, I found that my friendships morphed and changed as I got to know these people more and more. With time, I became closer to people in ways that I would never have expected. Ultimately, I learned that no matter how similar you feel to someone early on, nothing can hasten the process of learning another person. So, don’t panic when you feel lonely or like your friendships are shallow initially. Remember that you haven’t known these people for long and this discomfort is a necessary part of building relationships. Be patient with yourself and your friendships, allowing them time to grow and deepen.

  1. Nothing is permanent.

I swear, college moves at double the speed of regular life. This is good and bad. On one hand, your freshman year is going to absolutely zoom by and suddenly it’s summer and you’re not sure if that was real or a fever dream; to cope with this, be fully present and relish each moment. On the other hand, nothing is permanent. No friendship, no crappy class, no unsatisfactory friendship, no bad day, week, or month is going to last forever. Because time moves so quickly, things are constantly changing around you. When you are inevitably unsatisfied or unhappy with life at school, avoid catastrophizing, because no, this is not what life is going to be like for the next week, nevermind the next three years. 

  1. Try not to over-anticipate college.

I was very guilty of this my first year at Bates. My anxiety had a field day trying to anticipate every possible situation I might end up in, what conversations I would have and the types of people I would meet. Unfortunately, the TikTok algorithm encouraged this habit, sending me an endless stream of first year of college advice videos on my FYP. Though well-intentioned (yes, you should introduce yourself to many people and definitely bring shower shoes), no amount of videos could prepare me for my individual freshman experience. Much of the advice these videos offer are things that you simply have to learn for yourself. Everyone’s experience in college is unique to them, and whatever you learn is going to be a product of your individual experiences. Follow what truly interests you and stay open to new experiences and people. Be present and trust that there’s no right or wrong way to “do college.” Often, the most meaningful, life-altering, formative experiences are the unexpected ones.

Take all of this advice with a pinch of salt, because truly you cannot prepare for everything coming your way this year. That said, Bates is bursting with people ready to welcome and help you. Everyone is truly thrilled to have you here. Good luck and welcome to Bates!

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About the Contributor
Trinity Poon
Trinity Poon, Managing News Editor
Trinity is a sophomore from Sandwich, MA with a double major in English and French. She has been writing for The Student since the Fall of her first-year. She is a member of the Women's Ultimate Frisbee team, Cold Front, and plays the trumpet at Bates. When she is not writing and tossing disks, Trinity enjoys reading, running and spending time outdoors. 

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