Reflecting on My First Term at Whitman

This first semester in college has honestly passed quicker than I thought. I remember thinking I was going to have such a hard time adjusting to living in a new state so far from my family, but surprisingly I had an amazing time. I love my college because it is small and I feel like I was able to adapt quicker because of the small size. I feel that in a bigger school I would have felt lost in the huge crowds of students and I would have been more homesick. Fortunately, I have met amazing people not only in my dorm section, but also in the Latino Club I joined. Thanks to the people in Club Latino I didn’t feel so homesick this first semester because they immediately made me feel like a part of their family. I guess that would be another thing I love about Whitman, everyone is so nice and always willing to help with anything at all, it’s like we are all family.

In order to have next semester be more successful I am going to definitely manage my time more wisely. I feel that because my schedule this past semester consisted of mainly morning classes, I had a lot of free time, which made me procrastinate and leave assignments for the last minute. Another thing that I will change next semester is to go to my Chemistry professor’s office hours before my first exam. This past semester I didn’t go to my professor for help with my first exam, so I failed it and I did really poor in my homework assignments and quizzes. As soon as the professor told me I failed my first exam she encouraged me to go to her office hours, so ever since that I went three times a week to her office and I would do my homework on the spot with her. Thanks to her helping me with the homework I was able to understand the material much better and I improved on my quizzes, too. Next semester I will definitely go to my professors’ office hours for any help I might need, without waiting until the last minute or when I have already failed an exam.

The advice I would give myself back in August 2011 would be to make sure I always use my planner to write all upcoming deadlines for papers and exams, so that I can prepare for them ahead of time. I would also tell myself to organize all of my notes better by keeping them all in only one place, so that it is easier to look back on them when I study.

– Fabiola, Whitman College ’15

First Semester at Whitman College

The transition to college has definitely been hard because the expectations have suddenly risen to a new level than I was use to in high school. During the summer my first college assignment was to read The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. When I was reading the book I started trying to read the book more as a college student rather than a high school student. I feel that in high school when I was assigned to read I would read and take in what was in the pages, but not really immerse myself in the text. As I read this book in the summer I began paying closer attention to certain words I would have just glimpsed at before. Closed-reading now in college is majorly important when we are analyzing passages and going deeper into its ideas. Reading during the summer definitely helped me prepare for the challenging reading I would have to do in college and the ideas I would have to analyze.

Transitioning to college also comes with more obstacles that have less to do with academics. At least for me, it has been emotionally challenging transitioning to college because I am living in a different state away from home. It has definitely been hard for me talking to my parents and knowing that they are at family gatherings and I can’t be there with them. The most important thing that has gotten me through the tough process of leaving home is the frequent communication I have maintained with my high school friends. The fact that some of my friends are going through similar things as I am helps me feel that I am not alone and that I can do it on my own. Another thing that has helped during the transition is taking risks.

College in my opinion is all about taking risks; a risk like taking a course you know nothing about, but you might be surprised you love it or you might totally hate it and know that’s not something you will do again. I look forward to taking risks here in college and learning about new things that I would have not considered before coming here.

– Fabiola, Whitman College ’15