The freshmen year


[/media-credit] This is home. At least it is for BYU Freshmen
She took a deep breath and bravely walked through the doors of Chipman Hall. Her first time in the dorms, the lingering smell of ammonia and microwaved hot pockets aroused her senses with an unsettling reminder, “I’m not in California anymore.”

Anxiously, she opened her room door only to find cold, cinder block walls somewhat reminiscent of a hospital room, sterile and begging for a splash of color.

Walking across the room she noticed a mousy brown blanket, made of an unidentifiable material, neatly folded on the foot of her bed. Skeptically, and using only the tips of her fingers, she dangled it in front of her like a dirty rag.

This is home. At least it will be for next eight months.

Nothing appeared particularly inviting or comfortable the first day freshman Claire Hardester, of San Jose, Calif., moved into the dorms. With the wisdom of hindsight,  BYU upperclassman look back on their freshman year, remembering the highlights and horrors, and give advice to first year students on school, friends and having fun as a freshman.


[/media-credit] Ready to see what this day holds freshmen leave the dorms to walk up to campus.
General education classes, packed at times with 300 or more students, are a far cry from the comforts of a high school classroom with close to 30 pupils, many of whom knew each other since kindergarten.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to people in your classes. It is intimidating, and the first semester I didn’t talk to anyone, but then I started being more friendly. I found out a lot of people were in my other classes too, and it helped” said Elan Maynez, a junior from Orem, studying exercise science.

Professors, while equally intimidating, are also an excellent resource and help students keep up with rigorous courses.

“Don’t be afraid to talk with professors and go to office hours too,” said Aaron Montague, a sophomore from St. George, studying business management. “Professors will help and will even help you know what to study for on tests and quizzes.”


There is something about the comradery felt among freshmen that fosters friendships that last not only for the year in the dorms, but that last a lifetime.

“I loved my freshman year.” said Kelsey Bleyl, a senior from Richmond, Va., majoring in English. “That year I made some of the best friends I’d ever have and just about all of them I met in my ward. They are some of my best friends to this day. Go to activities.”

In a majority of interviews upperclassman highlighted the people they met and befriended as the most memorable part of their freshman year.

“Make a new friend everyday,” said Amy Jennings, from Alpine and a senior studying psychology. “Just talk to people wherever you go, walking home from class, or at church. It is just better to know more people.”

Food and Fun

Lack of transportation and limited funds may require more creativity, but should never hinder fun.

“I went to every single men’s and women’s volleyball games my freshman year. I played on three intramural teams and sang in Men’s Chorus. Getting the whole BYU experience involves attending as many sports events as you can and being involved in things on campus. It makes you feel like you really are apart of the school,” said Jackson Bell, a senior from San Francisco, Calif., studying exercise science.

Students also remembered the fun involved in eating together in their apartments or on campus.

Camille Judd, a graduate student studying speech pathology, said, “In Heritage crock pots are the way to go. We’d have roommate dinners that were really fun and would even invite a boy’s apartment to join too.”

Eating together can be a great way to get to know people, with the advisory caution that everyone is susceptible to gain the notorious “Freshman 15” especially those living in Helaman Halls.

“Don’t eat all the cookies in the Cannon Center just because they are there,” said Ann Thorpe a sophomore from Phoenix, Ariz., in the business program.

Freshman year marks a time of personal growth, fun and often innocent recklessness that’s never forgotten.

Ironically, those dorm rooms that initially feel like living in a converted garage, become home. It’s is hard leaving home to go to school, but by the end of the year the opposite seems to true, it is hard leaving school to go back to what no longer feels like home.

At the end of April, with tear- filled goodbyes, and memories to reflect on, freshmen pack up their belongings and take one last deep breath closing the door on the room they nervously walked into eight months earlier. The walls are still sterile, the smell is the same, and that mousy brown blanket rests neatly folded at the foot of the bed. The room looks just as it did before, but the freshman walking out changed in their time living there, and will never be the same.








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