One semester down

Freshmen revisit their beginning at McDaniel at the start of their second semester

By Ashleigh Smith

We all remember what it was like to be a freshman. Getting lost on campus. Trying to find your class when you don’t know which one is the “New Academic” building. Meeting new people. Making Ramen noodles in the microwave at midnight, much to your roommate’s displeasure. Doing homework. Or not doing homework. The transition from high school to college is memorable for every student.

So what do this year’s freshmen have to say about the good and the bad of college life?

“I never knew I could make Hamburger Helper in the microwave,” said Sam Segal.

College is not only a time of transition but also a time of change for many students.

“College has changed me a little bit,” said Henry Belfont. “It has somewhat made me more independent than I used to be.”

Still other students share an opposing view about college bringing about lots of change.

“I can never grow up,” said Fenghao Wang, “so… nothing’s changed.”

When she first came to McDaniel, Jenny Wallace anticipated “trying out new things, like clubs and taking different classes. It seemed like a small, friendly campus. Personal.”

Now, she said, “I’ve been introduced to new things—broadened my horizons. That’s not a bad thing.”

“I looked forward to playing college baseball,” added Belfont.

The thing he’d miss the most?

“Being able to sleep in my own room without a roommate. I was a little homesick for the first few weeks of school,” said Belfont. “To adjust I started to meet new people and hang out with them.”

“I was home sick,” said Segal, “but because of the closeness to home, I never felt too far.”

Everyone has something he or she misses whenleaving for college.

“My friends from back home,” said Chelsea Lewis, adding that at first she did not look forward to “the social factor—coming to school and not knowing anyone.”

“Food,” said Wang. “Nothing compares to Chinese food.”

While it is difficult to leave home and come to a new school, it is even harder to leave your home country to come to school. Wang, a freshman honors student, hails all the way from Wuhan, China. Unlike some other study abroad students, Wang decided to spend all four years at McDaniel instead of one semester. So what’s the appeal of coming to Westminster, Maryland?

“To experience a different culture and to get a better education,” said Wang. “College education in China sucks. The classes are small. In China there can be 120 people in one class, and the teacher has to use a microphone.”

It is hard to get used to college courses no matter where you are from.

“They are a lot different,” said Belfont. “In high school you can get away with not reading the text book and you can study the night before a test and get a good grade, but in college none of that works.”

According to Lewis, “There’s a lot more discussion and a lot more freedom in what you can say.”

“I really enjoy the small classes,” said Segal. “I know all of my teachers pretty well and have no problem walking up after class with a question. I’m glad I’m not a number out of a couple hundred students and more of a person with a defined identity.

“I’ve learned to like the fast paced nature of classes and realized that every grade counts because, unlike high school, there are only a few grades that decide your final grade. Mess one up, and you’ve lost the A you were gunning for.”

First impressions can be important too, especially when picking a college but more often than not they are wrong.

“They said a lot of people stay here for the weekends,” Wallace said. “It’s a lie.”

Wang said, “I thought there were many teachers in the math department, but there are only three.”

“I thought there was going to be a lot more stuff going on on campus,” said Lewis. “You have to make something happen.”

According to Belfont, “I thought that McDaniel was a very good school without much to do on the weekends other than party. So far, my first impression is still true.”

“People acted more like high-schoolers than the ideal college kid,” said Segal. “I feel that a lot of people at McDaniel are just here for a 30 grand party their parents pay for. Don’t get me wrong; there are many students here that do anything but party. On the same hand, many people know how to balance their priorities and partying to an amazing degree. Maybe it’s because I’m in Rouzer, but I feel that a majority of the students in my building are immature and are here for the ride.”

However, there seems to always be one thing that most freshmen are able to agree on. The worst part about McDaniel?

“Glarbage!” said Wang.