Reflections On My First Year At Smith College

Hannah Elbaum ’19
Copy Editor

As my first year of college comes to a close, I have been reflecting on the past eight months and looking forward to next fall.

Coming to college is a huge life transition. I have heard that it is the biggest one since children enter formal schooling in preschool or kindergarten. I’d certainly believe it.

In order to calm my nerves last August, I made sure I read all the information Smith sent over the summer. About a week before it was time to leave, my local Smith club held a small gathering with five new Smithies from my town.

“It’s so nice to have each other and know you came from the same place,” one of the alumnae said. “You will be allies for each other at Smith.”

She was certainly right. Although we all have our own academic schedules and various extracurricular activities, the students I met at the event are my peers who bring a smile to my face each time we pass each other while walking through the Campus Center or in a dining hall.

Aside from these friends from home, I quickly felt at home in my house, Wilder. The House Council was welcoming and kind, offering suggestions and advice on everything from how to best arrange the furniture in my room to which professors I should take classes with.

When a health representative position opened on the House Council, I ran and won. In the monthly seminars for health reps from across campus, I learned about medical issues facing college students and how to direct my peers to helpful resources.

I also joined The Sophian as an assistant copy editor and quickly integrated myself into the world of creating a weekly newspaper. Reading every article is a little window into what is going on all around campus, from sporting events to what Smithies are doing out in the world.

One of the best parts of my year was discovering Smith’s commitment to accessible gluten-free dining options. Last spring, Dawes, previously the French community house, was repurposed into a dedicated gluten-free dining hall. Although I did not know about Dawes when I chose Smith, finding it upon my arrival reassured me, once again, that this is the right school for me. I found a community of friends who are also gluten-free and some of the most supportive people I have ever met. 

Some of those friends are graduating, and I will miss them dearly, but I am looking forward to one day interviewing them as cool alumnae who are conquering the world with a Smith degree. The rest of my friends I will see back here in the fall (or in the spring, if they are going abroad).

I also decided on my (maybe) major this year! After taking a class in the Education and Child Study Department, I am almost ready to declare my major in the fall. My professor was extremely helpful as I attempted to map out which courses I will need to take over the next few years. Although she does not officially advise for the department, she said that her door is always open.

I am more than ready to be finished with all my exams and papers and see my family again, but this summer I will miss seeing my friends every day, living right down the hall from them and learning all I can, even in those 9 a.m. classes. I’m also pretty excited for the Instagram-perfect pictures that Smith’s fall colors will provide. Have a great summer, Smith! I’ll see you soon.

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