The First Year Experience: A hard-hitting – I promise – look at the first-year life

By Melanie Biles ‘18
Staff Writer

Halloween was a magical time on the Claremont campuses. I think it is pretty special no matter where you are, but there is something absolutely extraordinary about seeing people who are old enough to drive, vote, buy alcohol and join the army stuff themselves into Buzz Lightyear costumes and jam cat ears on their heads just so that they can get into the spirit of a holiday that revolves around carving faces into seasonal vegetables and taking candy from strangers. (Hey parents, hypocritical much?) Of course, a lot of the excitement around Halloween probably connects to some deep psychological issues we all have with letting go of our childhood, but I like to think that it is also because of the magical notion of the day itself. On Halloween, you can be anyone you want to be. Everybody is allowed to determine his or her own identity for once.
Identity, I think, plays a strong part in the college experience. When looking for a place to call your home for the next four years, there are a lot of things to consider. You want to look at academics, obviously, and consider what student life is like. Ideally, you try to get some sense of what your life will look like here, what clubs you will have access to, and what special perks the school might offer. You want to know things like, “At this school, will I have the opportunity to make a music video with my friends to Taylor Swift’s latest hit?” (The answer is yes, and it can be found on the Scripps College Facebook page.) Most important, however, is deciding how well you will be able to fit in with the student body, which means you have to actually build some sort of idea of the student body. This, of course, is where stereotypes come in.
Let me take a moment before going any further to paint you a picture of the stereotypical Scripps student according to the other schools. She has short hair, likely dyed some bright color, and also long, wavy, naturally-colored hair that she leaves down all of the time like mid 2000s-era Miley Cyrus (think Party in the USA). Her wardrobe is gender-neutral, but she only wears sundresses and sandals and she does not own anything but crop tops and shorts. She is a strong feminist who is determined to carve her own path in life, but she is also boy deprived and only thinks about how she can land a man in this estrogen sink hole and, at the same time, is lesbian.
In addition to all of these stereotypes contradicting themselves, they also seem to directly contradict my experience of actual Scripps students. For example, I don’t think I have met a single heterosexual lesbian in all of my time here.
For the most part, Scripps students form an open-minded, diverse group that is impossible to classify. Pretty much the only thing that unites every Scripps girl I have met is having absolutely nothing in common. At the end of the day, that is the fun of it, anyway.