The below isn’t really my own experience, but is informed by it.

  • Freshman Fall: Arrival + lots of lectures and immersion during Camp Williams (First Days). Culture shock, auditions, and the Purple Key fair have you thrown right into the mix. You spend lots of time with your entry, gradually finding your own set of friends. Some people adapt well, others do not. You think that your JAs are gods, and towards then end, start questioning why you ever chose to come to Western Mass for college. :D
  • Freshman Spring: You gain perspective on the snow of December while walking through the slush of February, and come into your own as a Williams student. The pace of making new friends slows, and your entry and JAs become more like people you live with than the family that you were before, though you retain the memories and bonds. You might start to take some leadership in a club, but most people will still be figuring out how to manage social life and the workload. Some people still don’t figure it out.
  • Sophomore Fall: Often cited as the hardest semester for a Williams student, you are suddenly separated from your entry. Classmates who bonded pick into housing together, creating lots of mini-friend groups, unless you lose the housing lottery and end up in Tyler Annex or with a stranger roommate. Classmates who had a harder time bonding are suddenly without their default support, and may feel some isolation. Many people take on some leadership or club responsibility, such as the 4 Frosh Revue alums who keep the cult alive as directors, and others start new clubs, some of which fail. You start thinking about a major and applying for JA.
  • Sophomore Spring: Decision time. Major? WEPO? JA? Study Abroad? You party hard and put off the decisions, or don’t party and still put off the decisions. 100 souls get slightly crushed by the news that they can’t go to WEPO/wear the purple shirt come Spring Break; most all of them end up going abroad and are fine. You decide your major and suddenly realize that you’ve gone and made a life decision. Maybe.
  • Junior Fall: If you’re abroad, you have a good time and maybe write a neat blog about it. If you aren’t you wonder around campus wondering where your class went. The realization that college is over half-over is not reassuring, and the classes are getting harder. You enjoy your first room that can’t be a double, unless you want one. You realize you’ve gotten the hang of college, and wonder what took so long. Unless you a JA, in which case your frosh are your life, which is both great and wearing. You organize a screw dance, enjoy taking your frosh to parties, and see your friends maybe twice a week.
  • Junior Spring: You worry about what’s happening this summer, and go through applications for various fellowships, with those continuing through school. You attempt to gain more certainty about life, and maybe go abroad. Your class is still widely dysfunctional, and you might be a TA or some other sort of supervisor. Mostly, though, you keep on.
  • Senior Fall: Everything is now your last: Mountain Day, First-Days, your last first First Friday. This is very frightening, and you start interviewing/applying for jobs like mad. You class is reunited and hopefully enjoys First Chance. You realize that the current freshman are admiring you the way you admired the seniors when you are a freshman. You first feel unworthy and then realize that you freshman feelings were unfounded, and that people don’t change in college like they do in High School. You LOVE your co-op, if you got one. You realize off-campus housing is more on-campus than most on-campus housing.
  • Senior Spring: You are either calm, because you know what you are doing after graduation, or panicked, because you do not. These two camps become more an more separated as the seniors with known futures care less and less, and those without plans freak out more and more. You start to feel sad about leaving this place, and gain some level of class unity, enabled by a development office getting it’s last shot at you. You count down your last 100 days, then head off into the world, both ready and unready, fully and yet unprepared.
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