My First Month of College in the USA
As I write this, I have now been in classes at William and Mary (W&M for short) for exactly 4 weeks. These weeks have been filled with joining clubs, meeting many people and quite a bit of work.
Whilst I struggle to cope with the huge number of names I now have to remember, as well as all my work, I wanted to write this first blog as a little summary and reflection of my first month of college in America.
My first week was spent at Orientation (the kind of American version of Fresher’s week).
Whilst the majority of new students at orientation were Freshman, there was a large group of transfer students which is where the exchange students got put. In terms of what we did during this time, think icebreakers, campus tours, settling in sessions and very enthusiastic OAs (Orientation Aides). We also had a big event in the Kaplan Arena where the very characterful W&M College President gave a speech.
Although it was a very exhausting time, I got to meet lots of other new students. It was quite reassuring being able to immediately recognise so many new faces on campus.
In terms of the academic side, we were warned before we came to expect a lot more continuous assessment and this is 100% accurate. Having only been here 4 weeks, I have already had 12 quizzes, 1 writing assignment, 3 online homework assessments and my first midterm. Before I give you all a heart attack, I will say one thing. The majority of my quizzes thus far have been multiple choice and take 5 minutes at the start of the class. Most of these assessments are just done to ensure you’ve done the reading, which is quite useful because most classes here have a participation mark. If people have actually done the reading it makes for more interesting class discussions! One more benefit of continuous assessment is that it forces you to keep up with the work. Whilst it has been a change to get used to, I am hopeful it will only benefit me in the long run.
Aside from work, I have had to also acclimatise to new weather (it was very hot and humid for the first week or so), food and social scene. Having been asked several times what food I miss, I can say with absolute certainty I definitely miss my weekly Sunday roast dinners (to which I then also have to explain what a roast dinner is).
Whilst I do miss Exeter’s campus (definitely not the hills) W&M has one of the prettiest campuses I have ever seen. The picture below is of the Wren Building which is one of the oldest academic buildings in use in America!
The social scene is very different to UK universities but there are many clubs and societies to join, including Greek Life which is a totally new concept to me!
Exeter’s Fresher’s Week begun last week and seeing all my friends from my first 2 years at Exeter who will be graduating without me has made me feel slightly sad really and in some ways make me wish I was back there with them. But homesickness is something to be expected and overall, I can say I truly do feel a difference in myself. Being quite an introvert, the fact I only have one year here is making me want to take advantage of as many things as possible and because of this, its helping me to organise my time well so I can at least attempt to fit everything in.
Whilst this was quite a long first blog post, I had a lot to write about since so much has happened in just my first month here. Looking forward, my aim for the next few months is to maybe get some travelling in, and with a trip to Washington DC next month planned my aim could well be achieved.