Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Class of 2028, this one’s for you

Kellyn Taylor
Illustration Kellyn Taylor

Opinion editors are not responsible for agreeing or disagreeing with their writers but rather elevate each individual’s specific voice. 

We’re rapidly approaching the end of the semester, with final papers and exams already looming over us. As two freshmen really far from home—combined, we moved over 10,000 miles for college—we find ourselves both happy and sad to leave Boston for the summer. 

Freshman year of college comes with many ups and downs, highs and lows, achievements and failures. As two girls who just lived through it, we wish we had been told some things about moving away from home, living in a dorm, and specifically going to school at Emerson College. So here’s a non-exhaustive list of the most important things we learned this year.

  1. Go to the Org Fair/cringe orientation events

Orientation week is packed full of events, some fun and some mandatory. I was still exhausted my first few days in Boston from the long trip, and the last thing I wanted to do was attend a random trivia night or go to the Boston Common with 1000 other freshmen wearing matching purple shirts. But I went—mainly because I was scared of getting in trouble with my Orientation Leaders—and guess what? I actually had fun. 

Yes, it was hot, and I got sunburnt and was uncomfortable at times. It isn’t necessarily fun to be in any space with people you don’t know, especially if you have the crippling fear that everyone already hates you or is judging you (News flash: they aren’t judging. People are more worried about making friends and taking pictures for their parents than concerned with your awkwardness).

But, even if you are too socially drained for some of the fun events, make sure you still go to the Student Org Fair. It is so rewarding in terms of finding your place at Emerson. It seems intimidating being in a room of all upperclassmen, but trust me, they are there to talk to you. And it is refreshing to interact with people not in your grade! 

Coming to Emerson, I knew NOTHING about journalism, and I was terrified to get started because I thought everyone else was going to be focused on themselves. After attending the Org Fair and the first general meeting for a few clubs, I found it to be exactly the opposite. Everyone was willing to talk to me about anything: classes, professors, internships, organizations. Everything was so accessible and easy to join, and I have never been afraid to admit I need help or don’t know something. 

– Merritt

  1. Make friends, but accept they will change

You’re going to forcibly meet a LOT of people in your first month of school—at orientation groups, social events, roommates/suitemates, hall meetings, and classes. Talk to them! Get a meal with them! Explore Boston together. But know that it’s okay if you aren’t attached at the hip come May. 

It is hard to really know if you vibe with someone in the first few days of knowing them. I never felt like I had a “friend group” the first few months of college, and let me tell you, it sucked. But, like clockwork, it seemed like all of the freshman friend groups had huge falling outs mid-October. Coincidentally, I met my best friends in mid-October. It all works out and you aren’t chained to the first people you meet on campus. 

Also—this isn’t high school anymore. Friend groups aren’t as serious as they used to feel. You don’t need a group to sit with in the cafeteria; everyone is going to have different class schedules, and I personally love a solo meal in the Dining Hall. Don’t feel like you have to have a “group” and know that it’s okay to hang out with different people every few days. Branch out!

– Merritt

  1. If you hate your roommate, just move out 

Whether you chose your roommate or went random, freshman roommates are always hit or miss. From personal experience, don’t feel like you have to force a relationship with your roommate if it just isn’t happening. And if you aren’t compatible, while HRE will tell you to talk things out and use the roommate agreement to resolve conflicts, sometimes it genuinely just isn’t possible.

There’s another option: moving out. Don’t make it your first option—talk to your roommate and RA first, but sometimes when things suck, they just suck and there’s nothing either of you can do about it. When it gets to that, there’s no point trying to salvage something that’s never going to work. Just move out. 

– Ella

  1. Set personal goals, and don’t compare yourself to others

One thing that will become instantly obvious when you set foot on the Emerson campus is that you do not know everything. No matter how sociable, smart, or talented you think you are, there is someone more sociable, smart, and talented than you—and that’s okay. 

There are many different ways to have a fulfilling freshman year, and what that is for someone else doesn’t have to be what it is for you. Just because there is another freshman who got a role you were aiming for in a play doesn’t mean you can’t find your own success as a different character, or in a different play. Just because there is a freshman assistant directing on your film set while you’re stuck as a production assistant doesn’t mean you’re not gaining valuable experience. Just because you look around and everyone seems to have hundreds of friends doesn’t make the friends you have matter any less. 

Comparison truly is the thief of joy, and the best way to avoid it is simply focussing on what you want out of your Emerson experience, and working to make that happen. Let others’ achievements motivate you, but don’t let them bring you down. 

– Ella

  1. Don’t be afraid of change—or the lack of it

It’s undeniable that college is a new stage of your life, and it is impossible to avoid some level of change. New friends, new home, new goals: does that have to mean a new you? 

It can, but it definitely doesn’t have to. If there are things you don’t want to do, don’t force yourself to do them just for the sake of fitting in or being some imagined college student version of yourself. Don’t be afraid to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone, but don’t be afraid to say no to things you simply don’t feel comfortable with. We are all on our own journeys to self-discovery in our personal coming-of-age stories, and no one will judge you for living and learning. And if they do, then they were never worth it anyways. 

– Ella

Stepping into freshman year

Starting college is hard, despite how desperately everyone tries to conceal their struggle. You’re living on your own for the first time, maybe waking yourself up for the first time, and no matter where you come from, the classes are structured differently than high school. You’re taking the first steps into adulthood. 

But hey, we survived it, and so will you. So don’t panic and have fun growing into yourself in college!

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About the Contributors
Merritt Hughes
Merritt Hughes, Opinion Co-Editor
Ella Duggan
Ella Duggan, Opinion Co-Editor
Ella Duggan (she/her) is a freshman communication studies major from Wellington, New Zealand. She likes writing about sports, feminism, and pop culture. Outside of the Beacon, she sings tenor for the Emerson Acapellics, is an avid reader of romance novels, and loves hockey - Go Canucks!

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