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BWW Blog: A Reflection on My Freshman Year of College

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Just take a deep breath and know that no matter how you feel at the start, you can still have a great school year.

BWW Blog: A Reflection on My Freshman Year of College

The idea of starting my freshman year of college was very daunting. It marked a huge transition in my life and also came with a lot of unknowns. There were so many questions that I didn't have the answers to. Would I really like my school and my classes? How hard were academics going to be? Would I find good friends? However, looking back on my freshman year, I realized that a lot of my worries never came to fruition. I just had to go with the flow and remain open to what the year had to offer.

Though orientations and welcome activities can feel awkward for many people, the first few days of freshman activities had a huge impact on me. The general orientation was okay, but what really mattered was the orientation specifically for the theatre department. It was during this time where I met many of my classmates for the first time and started to get to know them. The faculty also made themselves available to meet students and to answer any questions we might have. When the first day of classes rolled around, I felt much more at ease because I saw many familiar faces. There were also nonacademic activities that really influenced me as well. During our first meeting in the dorms, my roommate and I sat next to another pair of roommates. It just so happened that we all got along really well, and we ended up spending a lot of time together. The four of us are now starting our second year of living together, all because of that one encounter. Even when some of these activities didn't result in long term friendships, I was still grateful for the experiences. At one of the meet and greet events, a group of girls and I went to the farmer's market together. Though I found I couldn't see myself being close friends with them, I still had fun and I'm glad I got out and met new people.

One of the things I was nervous about was dorm life. I had never really been on my own for more than a couple weeks and I wasn't sure how living in the dorms would go. I was truly blessed with my roommate and how easily we got along. Because of that, I never really felt isolated or lonely. It also helped that we had a really great Resident Advisor. She arranged several events for our floor to get together and hang out throughout the year. I took my brother's advice and tried to go to as many of them as possible. Not everyone came regularly, but the core group that did go got to be good friends. I was also glad I took my mom's advice of keeping the door open to help us meet people. Once I was working on a character poem for my creative writing class (I chose to do one about Race's perspective in Newsies) and I had the door to our room open. Our next-door neighbor stopped by and asked me what I was working on. After I told him, he revealed that he was actually a Newsies fan as well. I would have never of guessed that he would have been a fan of theatre at all, but because I happened to have my door open that day, we had a whole new thing to talk about. We even ended up going to a local production of Newsies together. It was a completely random experience that I would never have thought would come from dorm life, but it ended up being a really cool memory from that year.

I think my biggest concern about college was the actual classes. Like many people in high school, I had heard teachers say that college was going to be much harder and that professors were going to be really strict. As someone who spent most of high school being overwhelmed with schoolwork, this was really stressful for me. I didn't like the idea of college being even worse. Luckily for me, this turned out not to be the case. While I definitely was learning a lot of new things, I never felt like I had an unreasonable workload. Almost all of my professors were really friendly and approachable (especially my theatre professors). There were definitely times when I was stressed about school, especially around midterms and finals, but it wasn't a constant problem like I had expected it to be. While I still had to work hard, I didn't need to be as worried as I had been before starting classes.

In addition to regular classes, I tried to get as involved as possible with the theatre department. Even though I wasn't cast in the shows, I still worked on the crew each semester and saw all the shows I wasn't working on. In addition, I looked for opportunities outside of the productions. The department offered a dance masterclass with Desmond Richardson, which I was quick to sign up for. Our school also got the opportunity to volunteer for the iTheatrics Junior Theatre Festival in Sacramento. Though we were helping set up events rather than participating in them, it was still fun to spend the weekend away with my theatre friends (not to mention we got to see some incredible performances at the end, including one from Lindsay Mendez). While I did my best to get involved, there is one opportunity that I didn't jump on. I found out late in the school year that the theatre department had a Facebook group. However, since I didn't have an account, I just didn't join. During my sophomore year I finally got a Facebook account and found that there were some events that I hadn't known about because I wasn't on the group page. While I didn't miss anything too important, I do wish I had joined sooner so I could have been better connected with what was going on.

While this list does not include every major event of my freshman year, I feel like these best reflect some of the things that I discovered that might be helpful for incoming freshman. Though this year's freshman will have a very different experience with most things being virtual, I think these lessons still apply. Actively participating in orientation and dorm activities can help with finding friends. You may even find connections where you least expect them. While you do have to put in the work, college classes aren't inherently a million times harder than high school. You will be okay. Getting involved with your theatre department can take different forms (from productions to masterclasses to social media), but they all help you feel connected to your art and your fellow classmates. Starting a new stage of life can be intimidating but trying new things and being open to whatever may happen can really help make the transition easier. Every other freshman is going through a similar process and wants to have a positive experience just as much as you do. Just take a deep breath and know that no matter how you feel at the start, you can still have a great school year.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Laura Johnson