It’s my last semester here at Scripps, which I’m trying not to think about too much, but I have been thinking retrospectively about my time at Scripps. I’ve loved it so much, so I’ve compiled a few of my thoughts here about what I would tell my first-year self and some of my takeaways from my four years.
1. Social stuff can be hard, so keep putting in the effort!
My older sister and some of my older friends assured me that friendships aren’t really solidified until after the first summer break of college, but I didn’t want to be in friend-limbo until then! While it turns out that they were right in a lot of ways, that didn’t mean that I was going to give up on making friends my first year. I would encourage any first year navigating the college social scene to keep making that effort, even when it is tiring, to spend time with people you like. Ask to have meals together, make a study group, hang out on the lawn, join a club together, and more! Growing friendships takes time, so please remember that it is worth it, and eventually you will find people who put just as much effort into you.
2. Remember that you can drop classes.
In high school, I basically had to take whatever classes we had and stick with them. Here, we choose our classes, which sometimes means that I change my mind. Either the class wasn’t what I expected, or I had the opportunity to get into another class that I wanted more. If it’s the beginning of the semester, this “shopping around” is totally expected, so I’d encourage people not to be self-conscious about switching courses. Professors understand! And if it’s later in the semester, but the class just isn’t working, take the time to think about what you gain or lose from sticking with it. Scripps has a generous deadline for dropping classes without an impact on your transcript, so maybe meet with your advisor and see if it makes sense to drop the class. If you don’t need it, and it isn’t bringing you joy, the drop might be right. I have needed that reminder before.
3. Embrace your intellectual curiosity!
If something in a class sparks your interest, but it isn’t really touched on more in the syllabus schedules, don’t forget it! Scripps is full of people with intellectual passion, which I have loved so much. Talking with my friends about our classes and research is so exciting. If a topic comes up that I’m especially interested in, that can turn into something! From summer research to thesis, those kinds of lightbulb moments can lead to something more. My thesis, for example, is based around a historical phenomenon I first learned about spring of my sophomore year in a Spanish class. It came up again in my preliminary research, and I knew I wanted to pursue it more!
And to finish this off…
4. Explore the Village!
The Village is what we call downtown Claremont, and it’s several blocks of cute shops, restaurants, and other small businesses. I regret that I didn’t explore the Village more before this year! There is a Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings, yummy breakfast and drink places if you want a good weekend brunch, and many other attractions. It’s only about a 15-minute walk and can be a breath of fresh air away from campus but still accessible.
Hope this is helpful!