Art by Sacha Irick
Going into college as a first-year student is one of the most nerve-wracking instances of a young person’s life.
Lots of people have said what college will be like. But, you will never truly know until you get there.
It is the culmination of all previous experiences in high school. Education, sports and social life — college is unlike anything before. But once a new first-year student arrives, all the nerves go away.They’re in the same boat as the rest of the student body.
Everyone feels the same. And everyone sticks together. It’s pretty easy to jump in because those around you are just as anxious and traumatized to start school.
Now, imagine the situation of coming to school as a first-year student, but moving in half-way through the year. There is no one to share this experience with besides the small amount of new students who are jumping in with you.
All the first-years who came in fall have already established their bearings — and most importantly, their social circles.
In the mean time, you are stuck trying to navigate the treacherous waters that are spring semester.
It’s like navigating a rough sea — just when you think you’ve got the rhythm down, the ocean (or school) changes it up on you.
This feeling was one of loneliness and confusion that I’d never felt before.
I was accepted for spring semester, but I was so excited for school that it didn’t matter that I was going in spring. I was going to college; everything was going to be amazing.
However, as time passed, and I was keeping up with those students who started in fall on social media, I found I was missing a lot; the excitement of NSO in the week before classes started, My-Tie and Frosh Follies that I was so excited for when applying to Pepperdine. Everyone seemed like they came out of these events with new friends.
When I came to move in, I arrived to half of what I expected NSO to be — that is, no crazy current students greeting me as I drove in, no Pepperdine-colored balloons or T-shirts and a very small group of students.
The amount of students coming in the spring was so few, I felt like I was meeting the same people over and over again.
NSO activities for spring admits did not consist of fun stuff like My-Tie. It was long, tedious seminars about all the classes you had to take for your major, information about the rules in the dorms and the consequences if you violate those rules. Lists and lectures did not make me excited to start my college career.
Based on my experience and what I’ve heard from other spring admits, starting in spring semester shoots a new student in the foot before they are even able to form an opinion about school and the people around them. I was not able to get to know any current first-year students in addition to barely even getting to know those who came into school at the same time I did.
It was really difficult and daunting to begin my classes. I felt like I was starting them alone, with no one taking on the challenge with me.
If Pepperdine wishes to keep students coming in the spring, a lot needs to be done to make students feel more welcome and comfortable.
The spring NSO experience should be more fun, rather than heavy on so much school information. Also, like fall, there should be a social event that all students can attend so all new students can mingle in a comfortable environment.
More importantly, students who were there in the fall semester and new students should have classes together. The spring students are usually in classes only with other spring transfers, making meeting fall admits even more difficult.
Although my first semester of college was less-than-ideal, I am determined to make my sophomore year better. I want to meet new people, get involved and pretend that I was never a confused student coming in spring semester.
However, my sophomore year is already treating me better, and I’m glad I stuck it out and decided to come back.
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