a summary of my first week at college ~ Valerie

because I’m lazy and there’s too much to talk about if I went into detail ~

I’ll start with ‘FOOT’: a 4-day pre-orientation program where I backpacked part of the Appalachian Trail with seven other freshmen and two FOOT leaders who were upperclassmen. It was super outdoorsy–we set up tarps to sleep under (‘tarpitechture’), ate nothing but salsa tortillas, wandered through mountain streams, and gave each other trail names. We were on FOOT time and FOOT miles, meaning none of us knew what time it was at any point in the day, neither did we know how far or where we were going. We also did this thing called ‘hometown’ where you’d recount your entire life story–therapeutic in a way, like you were pouring your soul out to this bunch of people. By the end of the 4 days, I wanted nothing but to shower and scrub the layer of dirt and grime and insect repellent off of me. On the other hand, backpacking through the wilderness is a bonding experience like no other, and I’m thoroughly glad I joined FOOT.

Next: what’s known as ‘Camp Yale’, or essentially the five days at Yale before classes start. It wasn’t the drink-a-lot-and-party-all-night experience that I’d expected from the first week of college, but it was great nonetheless. I met a bunch of really cool people and I’m starting to love being in Timothy Dwight College (TD)*. Not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed out at first that I was missing out by not being on Old Campus where the freshmen from 10 other colleges live, but TD feels like such a close-knit, family-like community. I’ll be sitting in the courtyard and people will walk by and stop to chat and I feel like I’m getting to know everyone so well–which, coming from a high school with a graduating class of 41 people, is exactly what I crave. 

*Brief explanation: Rather than dorms, Yale has 12 residential colleges and TD is one of them. It has a dining hall, TV/movie lounge, common room, library, art studio, gym, and a basement that connects everything so in the winter when the snow is 6 feet high I won’t have to actually step outside to get breakfast/lunch/dinner. Which is cool ofc but even more cool is the fact that TD has a samoyed called Sasha (instagram.com/sashapupp) whom I’m utterly in love with.

As for homesickness, it’s been fairly manageable. I teared up when my dad who came with me to the US to help me settle in hugged me goodbye, but other than that I’ve been okay apart from the occasional pangs of missing home as well as missing people. I think I’ve settled in well partly due to the amazing support system here: I have a freshman counselor (‘froco’) who lives next door, two Peer Liasons (one from the Asian American Cultural Center, one from the Office of International Students), two big sibs, an academic advisor, and a dean. I also have daily meetings with my froco along with 8 other people in my froco group who are all super fun to be around. And I have two roommates whom I get along well with.

Classes start tomorrow (by the time I post this classes will have been going on for two days but we’ve already established how much of a procrastinator I am and 90% of this blog post was written the day before classes started so we’ll just go with it) and I’m so fucking excited.



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