Opinions, Column

Welcome Home!: Tips for Incoming Freshmen

Around this time last year, I was nervously waiting for college acceptance letters from all of the 26 colleges I applied to. After many rejection letters, my life suddenly changed. On March 22, I opened up my email and saw these words: “I am delighted to offer you admission to the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.” In that moment, I screamed and hollered like a chimpanzee and a month later, decided to come to this fabulous institution. But I could not wait for college to start, so I spent second semester just researching every little detail about Boston College. Now having explored many of BC’s charms, there are a few that I want to highlight and advise every freshman to do.

Retreats: Go to them. Sign up for them. Enjoy them.

Much of the incoming freshman class will have the opportunity to go to an all-freshman retreat called 48Hours. This retreat’s main goal is for you to hear stories from upperclassmen and make new friends. I personally loved 48Hours, and it was one of my favorite memories so far at BC, but some people thought it was just okay. My advice is to sign up for the earliest retreat. Why? Well, there are two main reasons. First off, there will be more opportunities for you to make friends, as there are little to no people who have those rock-solid  friend groups that you will see in late February in preparation for the dreaded sophomore housing process. And finally, the weather is nicer. For those who don’t know, Boston is freaking cold. It is a tundra out there in December or February. There is literally ice on the water. So please, do yourself a favor and enjoy the retreat in the nice (relatively) weather.

Now here is the most important advice I can give to any person regarding retreats: Sign up for the Kairos lottery! Do it now! It is free. If you do not sign up for Kairos, you are dead to me. If you’ve gone on it, well maybe you can lead it in the future.

Housing: Strategy is Key.

Now if you are reading this as an incoming freshman, listen up! There are two places that freshmen live: 60 percent on Upper Campus and 40 percent on Newton Campus (some live in Williams on College Road (CoRo), but that’s not important for this discussion). Upper is better than Newton. This is a fact and not an opinion. If you want to guarantee a spot for the best freshman housing, apply for either Kostka (women’s-only dorm) or the Healthy Living Community in Claver, Loyola, Xavier, and Fenwick (where you live alcohol, drugs, and substance free) or Shaw (for the Shaw Leadership Program). They are all on Upper.However, applying does not guarantee you a spot in those programs.

If you want to take an early morning commute every day to get to class and go home, while also freezing your butt off waiting for the bus in the winter time, then by all means, be my guest and hope for Newton. You have the perfect opportunity right now to take matters into your own hands about where you want to live. Many if not all people do not have pre-made friend groups when they arrive at BC, so don’t you want to be part of a community and live happily? Please take my advice because good housing is rare. It really gets even worse sophomore year and you just don’t want to be that person who has to explain to everyone that they went from Newton freshman year to CoRo sophomore year.

Academics: Get ready for an adventure

Now, of course, no one has experienced every course at BC—I will not be speaking for all people, but I do believe that my perspective should be heard. I would like to list some golden rules that I have experienced and learned from my peers.

When I first got to BC, I was pre-med, so I have been an unfortunate member of some of the most ruthless, competitive classes at BC. Get ready for 100-person lecture halls (unless you are in Honors Modern Chemistry, which in that case, I pray for you) and three-hour lab classes with long lab reports. These classes will really test how much you actually love science, and it proved to me that I didn’t. Now, as a History major, I love life and I articulate my thoughts so much better. I am dealing with real people and real ideas, not just silly chemical equations and useless calculus. History allows for the growth of the individual to be part of the community, while STEM Majors just make you into a really good test machine. There is a History of Chemistry, but no Chemistry of English. My point here is that is it okay to change your interests and majors as you find more about who you are and where your passions lie.

Any incoming freshmen still probably have a long time to go before college actually starts, but enjoy this summer. Spend time with your high school friends. Think forward, not backward. Get ready for a fantastic four years at the best college in the world and most importantly, get some sleep.

March 17, 2019