First-Year Perspective

By Bailee Pelham '17Staff Writer

We first-years have been in classes for a few weeks now. We’re all adapting, getting to know new people, and suffering under the tyrannical rule of Core I. But by far, my favorite part of Scripps has been the academic rigor. When I was a prospective student, I heard horror stories of the infamous Core I. My hostesses told me all about the incredibly large amount of reading.

The first week of Core seemed pretty manageable. We only had a few readings, and honestly, every upperclassman was telling me how lucky I was that our topic was violence. I didn’t have any other experience with Core so I just had to take their word for it! The part of Core that everyone warns us about is the papers: especially the first big paper for our Core I class. It’s a huge part of our grade. Something like 20 percent of our grade. All the upperclassmen remind you about it and ask how it’s going. Our peer mentors bring us Core I goodie bags. There’s even Core paper editing sessions and NO CORE ALLOWED get-togethers. What I don’t understand is why there is so much hubbub over this paper. Yeah, it’s a lot of writing. Yeah, a decent part of our grade is on the line. On the other hand, it’s just an essay. Write it, edit it, and then let it go. You can only do the best that you can. To me, it just seems a bit excessive to stress yourself out over something that we will have finished in just a few short days. I’m certainly not advocating that you should just let this paper fall by the wayside. I’m just suggesting that we don’t let it have an indomitable rule over our week. While Core has most of us hanging our heads as a glum reminder that we have more reading to do, Professor Novy, my Writing 50 professor, reminds us that Writing 50 plays the good cop while Core is the bad cop. Writing 50 is one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. Intriguing and entertaining, it really helps me think outside the box when it comes to academic writing. No longer are we confined to dull, five-paragraph, structured “essays.” As a first-year, I’ve only begun experiencing the amazing new world that combines creativity with academic writing. As we began writing our first essay, we were told to create our own prompt and not worry about grades. Writing 50 is simply for learning to better our writing, and in these few weeks, I feel like I’ve learned more than I did in four years of high school. Scripps is truly a one-of-a-kind college. The academics push us to our limits. But behind all the stress that classes and papers bring, we find out just how great our newfound friends are. They encourage us, constructively critique our papers, bring us goodie bags to comfort us during those really stressful times, and, most of all, they’re with us every step of the way. It’s during these trying classes that we learn just how much our professors care about how well we do. They push us to succeed and encourage us in our every endeavor, despite how completely wacky the prompt we made up sounds. No other institution is quite like Scripps in the way students form bonds with their fellow classmates and professors, and this first-year is just beginning to realize how important those connections are.