First-Year Focus: (Almost) home


Rachel Wei

24 days. 24 days is how long I will have been at Vandy at the publication of this article. 24 days may seem like a decent amount of time, but for a freshman getting settled into a college routine, finding her way around Stevenson, and figuring out which shower stalls have a hook to hang your robe next to it, it’s been quite the journey.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I moved in on August 18. Sure, I had the usual concerns about whether my roommate and I would get along (we do!), and how I was going to get from Buttrick to Cohen in 10 minutes (it’s doable). However, besides pondering those immediate concerns, I hadn’t really made any predictions about how settling into Vandy as a new home would feel. I knew in the back of my mind that I had chosen Vandy as the place where I would not only learn, but call home and spend what everyone says is the best four years of your life.

Now almost a month in, I still feel like a freshman. I am constantly meeting fellow freshmen around the Commons, upperclassmen in my classes, and yes, that occasional upperclassman Peabody student eating in the commons dining hall who is slightly annoyed when you ask if they’re also a freshman. Although I have now mastered how to navigate my schedule, I still haven’t explored other dining halls besides Rand and Commons, and couldn’t tell you where Wilson is.

I’ve also had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I’m now an official, Vandy student. I heard a lot of fellow freshmen compare orientation week to summer camp- we all knew we had just moved into our new home, but couldn’t quite believe it. Now, as I prepare to start my fourth week of classes and take my first Gen bio exam, I’m starting to feel that Vandy is almost home.

Sometimes when I’m walking into the dining hall, or just sitting in the commons area talking with a friend, I see so many familiar faces and say hi to many more. It’s kind of strange, feeling like you actually know people at Vandy, and that they know you. Perhaps surprisingly, most familiar faces I see around campus aren’t those who are in my visions group, or on my floor. It’s those that I sat down next to on a whim during lunch, or the girl who I met at a Mock Trial info meeting who also happened to be in my English Lit class that I feel most connected to.

Slowly but surely, the Class of 2022 is building a community with each other. Although some orientation activities were a bit tedious (remember those 11 p.m. floor meetings?), I think it did help us bond in our first few days on campus. Those mandatory activities helped facilitate dinner time conversations where we could share our thoughts on the Founders Walk, or the True Life presentation. Perhaps more reassuringly, the programs proved how much Vandy cares for the safety and overall well-being of its students.

Yes, Vandy still feels new, but it’s also starting to feel like home. I am so excited to continue settling into classes, clubs, Crawford House, Nashville and making great memories along the way.