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First and Second Years Reflect on Their First Semester at College

Lauren Marler ’24
Staff Writer

Finals season is upon us, and for first-years and sophomores, this signifies the close to their first semester on campus. It is a semester which has been marked by transition for all students in different ways, as we adjust from Zoom school, high school, or gap years to living on campus. I spoke with four first and second years to learn about their experiences living on campus: making friends, in-person classes, and adjusting to life away from home.

Eliza Voorheis ’25 shared that the Scripps campus has felt much smaller than she expected which has led her to feel a sense of comfort and community. “I’m always seeing people I know because we’re all kind of just in the same central area,” she said.

Partially as a result of the school’s small size, making friends has not proven to be difficult for Voorheis. After worrying about making friends for the first few days on campus, her worries have now dissolved as she felt friendships forming naturally. “A week and a half goes by and I feel like there are all these people that I know really well. I didn’t even realize it was happening until it did,” she said.

Golda Grais ’25 felt similarly. “Everyone’s been so friendly,” she said. She explained that by finding a group of people to spend time with, she has felt less overwhelmed amidst the transition to college.

For sophomores who struggled through a remote first year, being on campus and surrounded by classmates has been refreshing. The simple act of walking around campus and seeing people has been a highlight for Loren Mello ’24. The pandemic caused Mello to realize she is more extroverted than she previously thought. She craves the small unplanned luxuries that were lost during online schooling.. “Like, a couple of weeks ago, my friends and I had just spontaneously decided to go shopping,” she said. “I totally missed that.”

Katie Meagor ’24 has also been enjoying the small Scripps community and seeing friends around campus. Compared to Zoom school, she said that making friends in person has been much easier.

“If you’re walking to class and you see a classmate, then you just start talking,” Meagor said. “There are also a lot more group projects outside of class, so that brings you closer. And just seeing people who you recognize on campus… it’s a lot more fun.”

Meagor has also enjoyed the beautiful campus, and the weather. “It’s very pleasing to study outside and in common spaces,” she said. “There’s nice weather, a pretty view, and sometimes you run into people which keeps me motivated.”

While making new friends and being surrounded by a community has eased the transition to in-person learning, students are still experiencing struggles. Voorheis explained that in high school, the faculty were always making sure that students stayed on top of everything. Here in college, she has more responsibility. “There’s good support here, but you find the support, the support doesn’t find you,” she said.

Having so much choice when it comes to picking class schedules has also been challenging for Voorheis. “That [class selection] has been overwhelming for me. Especially as someone who doesn’t really know what they’re particularly interested in,” she said.

For Grais, the flexibility of college when compared to high school has been something to get used to; she has found there to be more free time here. Adjusting to living on campus has also been a process, as Grais said that the lack of separation between where you work and where you rest has been strange. “[In high school] school and house are very different, and here, school and house are the same,” Grais said.

Mello shared that although she is more engaged in her classes this semester, it has been an adjustment after getting used to Zoom school. “It was hard to transition back, and I feel like not enough people are talking about that,” she said. “You basically had to relearn how to do classes in-person.”

Mello also feels there have been class environments which are not conducive to learning, specifically outdoor classes. “It’s hard, having to focus with the planes flying over. There’s nothing we can do about that, but it’s distracting and hard to hear,” Mello said.

There seems to be a consensus that students are glad to be back on campus (or, for first and second year students, glad to be here for the first time). However, like most everything, the transition to in-person learning and life on campus has been imperfect — students are glad to be around friends, but struggle to take on new responsibilities and adjust to in-person classes. However, the learning curve applies to all of us. “The expectation should not be perfection,” Mello said.

Image Source: Scripps College Facebook

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