Dear First Years…

Dear First-Years,

You may have arrived in Claremont with a heavy backpack slung over your shoulder and a suitcase in tow, parents, relatives or friends trailing behind you lugging a room-full of belongings; you may have heard them say, between heaving breaths, that they wished you all the best this year. Maybe they told you to take advantage of all that college has to offer, or maybe they encouraged you to do well in class and made sure you knew they wouldn’t hear a thing about your drinking until you were 21. Even if you traveled here on your own this fall, you were bound to get an earful of advice along the way: 

“Make sure you do this at some point during the year.”

“Try your hardest to avoid that.”

“Don’t even think about leaving college without giving that a shot.”

They counseled you with the best intentions, but they may have overwhelmed you with a long checklist of dos and don’ts. You’re probably not ready for any more advice (“When will it ever stop?!”), but these tidbits have been culled from the experts—people who have lived, worked and studied at the Claremont Colleges for years—so have a look at what their experience has to offer.

If I were to add one thing myself, it’d be this: there are a million ways to make this place your home. Find yours. If you haven’t found your home yet, keep searching; if you’re convinced you never will, think again. Don’t forget that this place is made for you, whether you’re a fanatic neuroscientist, zealous social activist, committed musician or devoted athlete, whether you’re all those things or none of them and even if you don’t yet know where you might fit in. You’re here to create your life, so use the opportunity to make it whatever you want it to be. The schools will give you support along the way, encouraging you to grow in the directions you want to and to find interests and talents that you never knew you had. Allow them to do what they do best: bring out your spirit and give it the freedom to shine.

Sincerely, excitedly,

Camille Robins SC ’13

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