Freshman Advice On Classes, Food, Parties and Sleep – Part 1
We wanted to give you a taste of what it’s like to be a freshman at a big university. We talked to Christopher Abell, a freshman at Holy Cross in Worchester, Mass. about his experience so far. In this first part of a two-part series, Chris offers some valuable insight into the realities he’s faced during his first year of college when it comes to making friends, having fun, and living in a dorm.
“So far, the hardest part about the transition from high school was to go out and make new friends,” says Chris. “The first week was tough; I had a great high school experience and all of the sudden I knew literally no one. I had to get used to not already having my own group, or being with the ‘cool’ crowd right off the bat. It takes courage to go and hang out with people at first, but it’s worth it.”
Although Holy Cross doesn’t have a Greek system (fraternities and sororities), Chris says there’s always plenty to do. While the varsity sports are “fairly hard to make,” there are tons of club and intramural teams for almost all sports.
There are also school-sponsored functions and, according to Chris, a lot of freshmen hang out in dorms or go across the street from campus where a lot of upperclassman live. There are also block party-type events every weekend and although freshmen can’t have cars (unless it’s necessary for medical or employment reasons), there’s free transportation to and on weekends. While weekends are the prime party nights, there are some days where a lot of students don’t have class until late in the day.The evenings before those days are also considered “prime [weekday] party nights.”
“If you don’t party too hard the night before, getting up early isn’t a problem,” says Chris. “The only rules my dorm has are no alcohol in public areas and, during the week, quiet hours begin at about 8 p.m. This basically means just not blasting your music too loud. It’s no big deal. There is no curfew or any real rules about girls, since my dorm is already co-ed by floor.”
Speaking of dorms, Chris is lucky in that he gets along with his roommate. And while he admits that they “probably aren’t going to be best friends,” he says that’s almost better. “That way we won’t get in fights.”
According to Chris the bathroom in his hall is shared by about 30 students but it’s very big. “It’s never dirty or crowded,” he says. “There’s a kitchen in the basement of the building which is very very nice. It’s the kitchen for the whole building but I’ve heard that crowds are never a problem.”There are a few triples (three students sharing one room) but most of the freshmen are in doubles. You can however request a roommate if for instance your friend from high school is going to the same school. Older students and upperclassmen get a choice of where they live but Chris says he’s pretty happy with the dorm he was assigned.
“I really like my R.A. (Resident Assistant who lives in the dorm),” he says. “He’s only a sophomore so he’s very cool. He is strict when he has to be but he’s very understanding. He knows kids are going to drink and have fun; he just doesn’t want it happening in public or people being disruptive. He’s very reasonable.”
So what advice does Chris have for incoming freshmen?
“Don’t be afraid to ask to go out with people or to express your desire to hang out,” he advises. “Remember during the first few days everyone is as nervous as you are.”
For Chris’s advice on balancing schoolwork and making sure you don’t starve make sure you read part two of this series.