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

Kate Powers

Kate Powers '17

Hometown: Lexington, MA.
Academic Interests: Psychology, Sociology, Education.

First year housing at Bowdoin set me up for immediate comfort in a new environment. The Proctor and RA pair on each first-year floor contributed a great deal of time and energy to ensure the happiness of the incoming First Years. Feeling as though I had these upperclassmen on my side quickly calmed nerves (which, like most First Years, were a bit out of control in the weeks leading up to orientation). Our Proctor and RA facilitated group bonding among my floor mates including a weekly "flinner," which sometimes consisted of sharing the highs and lows of our weeks, and other times consisted of whipped cream food fights. We quickly became each others' support systems, and always made an effort to attend events such as open mic nights and sporting events to show our interest in each others' activities. Overall, I think the system helps to quickly transition nervous incoming First Years to confident First Years who feel supported and excited to try new things.

Ernesto Garcia

Ernesto Garcia '17

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA.
Academic Interests: Computer Science, Mathematics.

I came into my first year at Bowdoin ready to explore and dive into a variety of activities that were “out of my comfort zone.” While this can be a rewarding mindset to carry, I would advise incoming First Years to slow down and first find comfort in their new environment. Your first year dorm, specifically your own floor, is undeniably the place where you will meet your closest friends and feel at home. As First Years, there are also Proctors and RA’s ready to help in any way possible and, if necessary, refer you to resources to encourage you spiritually, physically, or mentally. As difficult as my first year was, it was ultimately exciting and fruitful and I encourage First Years to tap into Bowdoin’s resources.

Fatoumata Bata

Fatoumata Bata '17
Hometown: New York City, NY/ Conakry, Guinea.
Academic Interests: Africana Studies, Biochemistry

My first year experience was challenging because Bowdoin had a very different atmosphere than what I was used to. At home, I didn’t speak English or eat American food. The classes at Bowdoin were challenging and the people were very different from me. But after the first few weeks, my discomfort wore off because I started making interesting friends, engaging in my classes, and making good use of my free time by joining clubs.

My advice to the First Years would be to never doubt yourself. You can excel and do great at Bowdoin, regardless of how hard the work is. Also, surround yourself with positive people because honestly it gets cold and sometimes lonely and I know having great friends around made the cold winter easier. It is okay to not love Bowdoin when you first get there, even though you thought it would be the perfect place. The first year is a big adjustment and over time you will come to love something at Bowdoin.

Emily Weyrauch

Emily Weyrauch '17
Hometown: Wilton, CT.

Having the support system of a wonderful Proctor as well as a floor of kids that are all going through the same scary change as me was extremely comforting. My First Year floor went together to Sunday brunch every week, which was a fun tradition to keep up from the first week of school until a week before my Proctor graduated! We would trudge the 300 or so feet from Appleton to Moulton all together, even in multiple feet of snow, with each of us in various degrees of awakeness . Most of the time I would return to my dorm for a few more precious hours of sleep before starting my day, but I was always glad that I had eaten a delicious meal with some of my closest friends. Bowdoin allows us the opportunity to explore who we are and what we do, and it’s one you should take advantage of.

Andrew Cawley

Andrew Cawley '17
Hometown: Corinth, VT.

Coming from a small town, I was nervous coming to the "bustling metropolis" of Brunswick and to college, where there is much less privacy and alone time.  Once at Bowdoin, however, I realized that my fears were pointless.  My favorite thing about my first year housing experience is how quickly  my dorm and my floor came together like a family.  I didn't need privacy or alone time because there was no one I wanted to get away from.  Coming back to my room from class soon felt like coming home from school.  I was excited to walk up the stairs and see who was around.  I think that cultivating great relationships on your floor is a huge bonus for thriving at Bowdoin.  It provides a safety net and it makes your connection to place that much stronger here in Maine.  It sort of provides groundwork for you to build other great Bowdoin experiences on.  These relationships make Bowdoin special.  Bowdoin's close community allows for extremely tight-knit relationships to be fostered at the earliest stages of your college experience. If you take advantage of that, you are giving yourself a headstart in having a good time and being successful at Bowdoin.