What's it like to be a First Year at Bowdoin?

Sophie de Bruijn

Sophie de Bruijn '18

Hometown: Westport, CT
Academic Interests: Theatre, Psychology, Spanish
Extracurricular Interests: A Cappella, Masque & Gown, Quinby House President

I came into my first year at Bowdoin very nervous about not being able to hand select my roommate like some of my friends from high school did. However, my first year roommate, Leigh, ended up becoming my best friend at school, and we will be living together again next year. Our interests are very different, so there is a good chance that we wouldn’t have even met if we weren’t living together. (Thanks, ResLife!). I knew Leigh would always be supporting me in the audience during my performances just like I’d always be cheering her on during lacrosse games.

Maine Hall instantly felt like home to me, and it was really amazing to have a built in support system of a Proctor and an RA to answer any questions I had. The residents of 4th Floor Maine immediately became a family, and I knew I could wander into any room day or night and find someone to talk to, laugh with, or confide in. One great memory I have was the third night of school, walking from the shower to my suite at 2 a.m., and hearing the boys across the hall casually discussing existentialism like they were talking about a movie or a game they had just seen. I immediately knew I had come to the right place.

My advice to incoming first years is get to know as many people as you can. You will never be surrounded by so many interesting, talented, and inspiring people again. Take advantage of it!

Kevin Hernandez

Kevin Hernandez '18

Hometown: Panorama City, CA/Los Angeles, CA
Academic Interests: Sociology, Gender and Women's Studies, Biology
Extracurricular Interests: Bowdoin Student Government, Community Service, Equity and Social Justice

Coming to Bowdoin I was honestly fearful of the fact that it was so different from anything I had ever experienced in my entire life. I did not know if I was going to be able to find resources on campus or people who would make me feel comfortable. But, that was not the case at all. After several conversations with my proctor, she helped me realize that I had the support of the entire community and a huge support system of people that generally care about me on campus. The connections I made with student, staff and faculty member helped make my transition to Bowdoin so enjoyable.

My number one piece of advice would be to ask for help. I felt before I came to college I did almost everything on my own and being at Bowdoin I did not want to seem to dependent on anyone else. But, now I see that working students and faculty members and asking for assistance is the best way to be successful at Bowdoin and grow in positive ways.

Kate Berkley

Kate Berkley '18

Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Academic Interests: English, Sociology, History
Extracurricular Interests: Bowdoin Outing Club, Peer Health, FFLY Mentoring,
The Bowdoin Globalist

After just a few weeks at Bowdoin, the third floor of Winthrop Hall felt like my closely-knit home that was a part of the larger community Bowdoin had become for me. Particularly in those early days when all of us were new to each other, having a network of peers to get to know and proctors and RAs always willing to chat or give advice was comforting and assuaged my fears of being forced to sit in the dining hall by myself. Weekly floor dinners – “flinners” – and Netflix screenings in room 302 became part of my routine as our floor began to feel like a “flamily.” As the year continued and all of us became busier with new activities and new friends, we still managed to maintain and grow that original closeness, supporting each other at athletic events and performances, surprising each other with birthday parties, and basking together in the enjoyment of Chipotle dinners provided by our proctor. Right away, Bowdoin offers so many opportunities for all of us of which we should take advantage. That being said, I think, especially during that first semester, it’s really nice to take things slowly: get involved with activities, try new things, pour yourself into your work, but still make time to enjoy the sunshine on the quad or eat that second ice cream sundae in Thorne with a friend. It’s all worth it.

Ned Wang

Ned Wang '18 

Hometown: Hangzhou, China
Academic Interests: Economics, Government
Extracurricular Interests: 24 College, Mock Trial, Bowdoin Finance Society

Winthrop 201 was constantly filled with three kinds of sound: my watching Meryl Streep movies, Alix playing his drum set, and Andrew bouncing his lacrosse ball off the wall. Even though the three of us have different interests, we enjoyed each other's company-- Alix and Andrew playing Xbox, Andrew practicing his Chinese with me, and Alix and I having late night philosophical conversations. Bowdoin dorms are incubators for fantastic friendships. Keep an open mind, and you might be surprised by who you meet and befriend! 


Nik Bergill

Nik Bergill '18
Hometown: Exeter, NH
Academic Interests: Religion, English, History

The first Bowdoin students that I met on move in day were my three roommates, and that day I had no idea how close I would become with them all in the span of less than a year. The Residential Life office works hard to match students with students that they will live well with and the office did their job and then some for me and my roommates. Two of them joined me for Thanksgiving as they were unable to travel home and I spent my entire spring break with one of them as well. Faster than I expected, my roommates became people that I leaned on and looked to daily. Through late night conversations, study breaks with loud music, and probably too many pizza deliveries, we got to know one another quickly.  They are now some of the closest and most trusted friends I have and I know that, should I ever need them, I have homes to stay in in Seattle, Philadelphia, and Waimea, Hawaii.