The Student News Site of Concord Academy

The Centipede

What I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman

CA - Website

CA - Website

Charlotte Mines, Business Manager

My freshman year is a little blurry at this point. I remember my attempt to play volleyball; I vaguely remember auditioning for a play. Mainly I remember eating  in the Student-Faculty Center, or StuFac, doing homework there during frees, and going home at 3pm everyday. I didn’t interact with the Concord Academy environment as much as I thought I would because I didn’t understand what CA really was.

CA isn’t just an academic establishment. CA, in what I’m sure is an effort to copy Nike, is a lifestyle brand, and success in the CA lifestyle is based around investment. In all my freshman wisdom, I thought I would just “make” friends. That somehow within the constraints of the 7-hour academic day, people would magically gravitate to me . While that’s a nice image, and one that played well in my head, the reality is that because CA is a boarding school, day students inherently miss social time with their peers that boarders bask in. Boarders seemed to make friends instantaneously under my nose in those first few weeks, while I continued to sit  with strangers at lunch. So, as a day student, you need to make a similar time commitment to CA. Obviously you won’t be sleeping on campus, but Friday nights are critical hangout time, as are weekends, optional trips into Boston, and other such events.

I get that it’s a drag to come back to campus, or that you might feel entirely overwhelmed after the academic day and just want to go eat ice cream and watch Lifetime. But you get out of CA what you put into it, and so it’s crucial to involve yourself in as many extracurricular aspects of the school as possible. Try out for the plays, even if you’re not a good actor, because what you don’t see as good, the director might see as brilliant. Try out for the sports teams, regardless of your level. And just spend time on campus. Stay on campus later on Friday nights and talk to people. Go to all the terrible dances and dance at them. Trust me, putting in the effort now is way easier than walking on campus sophomore year and realizing that you missed a great opportunity to bond. No one has friends walking into CA as a freshman, so you’re in good company.

And finally, don’t worry. At my orientation, freshman year seemed like the rest of my life, but it certainly was not. You won’t even remember you wore that one day or the dumb comment you made in class that everyone laughed about, looking back on it a year later. Honestly, I can’t remember one thing I wore freshman year or one ridiculous thing I did. And neither can anyone else. CA gives you many chances to reinvent yourself and branch out into a different area of study, a different group of friends or a new passion. Freshman year is an amazing time and it is full of opportunity, but it does not set in stone the rest of your CA career. Trust me, had you told me as a new 9th grader that I would be taking 6 majors sophomore year and spending my junior year in Spain, I probably would have transferred. There’s no right way to do it, and no right path to take, and everyone else is faking it just as much as you are.

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The Student News Site of Concord Academy
What I Wish I’d Known as a Freshman