Monday, Oct. 1 marked one month since most first year students moved onto campus. For many, it has been a month of dramatic changes, steep learning curves and awkward roommate interactions. But, it has also been a month of newfound independence, self-discovery and the beginnings of lifelong friendships. I know that I have already begun to feel at home here, but every student’s experience is different. Here is a snapshot of the class of 2022, one month down.
Q: How would you describe your first month on campus in one word?
Elizabeth Fauver ’22, Los Angeles, California, USA: Interesting
Hala Bade ’22, Hargeisa, Somalia: Hectic
Ian Baxter ’22, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: Change
Dagmawe Haileslassie ‘22, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Exciting
Q: What part of transitioning to St. Olaf has been the most noticeable adjustment?
Baxter: The fact that you live with the same people you go to class with. It changes how friendships are made and how you talk with people, but I love that you can leave your room at one in the morning and there will just be a guy from your economics class sitting on the couches and you can start a conversation. I think St. Olaf does a great job helping people cope with the adjustments.
Haileslassie: Everything is so different here: music, food, spice, clothing, weather, sports, how you talk to people, how you compliment people, everything. I’ve been able to adjust because people are so supportive. Also, for college it’s not just about school, it’s not just about GPA, or the classes you’re taking. Here with extracurriculars, if you come up with an idea, you’re supported; the sky’s the limit. St. Olaf is a really supportive community. You can be a completely
different person here and start from scratch.
Q: What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your first month?
Bale: Before college they always tell you it’s going to be just you, and no professor is going to help you, but I don’t think that’s true. All the professors here, as long as you communicate with them, will always be there for you and help you with what you’re going through.
Baxter: Academically, you really have to care about your classes; you have to study twice as much as you are in class.
Haileslassie: The biggest lesson has been how to write a paper. I learned that every class is important, and every reading is even more important than the class.
Q: What is your favorite thing about St. Olaf?
Baxter: My favorite thing about St. Olaf is the all you can eat food. Just kidding, I like the people. St. Olaf is full of a lot of really genuine people. I like the fact that you can talk to anyone walking down the side walk. I’m really glad I picked St. Olaf. I love it here and I think I made the right choice. I felt good about St. Olaf going in, but the last month has really confirmed everything I hoped it would be.
Fauver: The sense of community on campus is a great thing. It is kind of why I chose to go to a small school; you get to know a lot of people and make intimate and close connections with those people. I think that’s really important when you’re trying to fit in and also trying to stand out and find where you belong. Close friendships and close connections are really important, and that’s what I love about St. Olaf.