The first-year experience: a hard-hitting, undercover investigation of year one

By Melanie Biles ‘18
Staff Writer

So here’s what I’ve learned about being a first-year: it’s awkward. Moving into your dorm and negotiating your space? Weird. Sleeping in a room with complete strangers? Uncomfortable. Trying to learn two hundred names in two days? Impossible. Just call everyone you meet Maddie, Sarah, or Ellie, and you’ll have about a 50% chance of getting it right.
Move-in day dawned bright and early as we all stumbled onto campus at 8 a.m. Even by then we were almost too hot to function (little did we know that it was only going to get worse). As everyone awkwardly went up to the roommates they recognized from thorough summer Facebook stalking and introduced themselves, Peer Mentors flitted about handing out keys and welcomes.

After a substantial amount of time getting lost down random hallways I found my way to my dorm room, newly-minted ID card in hand. Over the course of the next hour my three roommates arrived and we each laid claim to a bed and desk, passive-aggressively laying our possessions over the ones we wanted. Our parents, acting as pack mules for the time being, hauled cartons upon cartons up stairs and down hallways before dumping them in the room and going back for the next load. Thus began the adventure of fitting the belongings of four girls into one closet, two shelves, and four dressers. Though this was akin to storing the Atlantic Ocean in a teacup, we somehow managed and almost even made it to the opening speeches on time. (Emphasis on the almost.)

Fun fact: If you’re late to opening speeches they won’t have room for you in Garrison. Instead, you’re herded into an adjacent room where you watch all of the happenings on a huge projection screen with a mild lag so that you hear everyone in the actual Garrison applauding before the onscreen speaker says anything worth applauding. There’s also no applause protocol — do we clap even though they can’t hear us? For how long? Why?

In the time spent here we heard from four speakers about what makes our class just as unique as every other first-year class. It’s true — we have girls hailing from as far as Ethiopia and as close as Claremont, girls who danced and played football and squash. We have leaders of clubs and organizations and yearbooks and teams; first-generation college students and girls whose mothers, aunts, and grandmothers had come to Scripps. We are here to learn from each other, to grow, to change and to leave here better women.

And so it begins.