From music to math, geology to German history, this year’s collection of Best First-Year Experience Essays features 18 essays written by students during their First-Year Experience courses in 2014-15.
In previous years, the Best of FYE Essays online collection highlighted a few essays selected by the writing committee from those nominated by faculty as representative of the best work from their FYE courses. This year, however, the committee sought to celebrate the breadth of work done by the college’s First-Year Experience students by publishing all 18 nominated essays. The 2014-15 essays reflect the discipline, style, and scope of coursework at Colorado College.
From interpretive explorations of classic literature and philosophy, to well-researched discussions of Japanese culture and geological formations, to suggestions for PTSD treatment and improving urban food accessibility, these essays reflect not only the wide range of topics covered in FYE courses but also the original ideas, sophisticated analysis, and hard work that goes into CC students’ writing.
The Best of FYE Essays highlights the importance placed on good writing across Colorado College. The writing committee notes that writing well is a lifelong endeavor, saying “None of us, from first-year student to professor, is ever finished with the process of learning how to write.” Committee members are Associate Professor of History Jane Murphy, chair; Tracy Santa, director of the Writing Center and the Writing Program; Sara Luther Labrie ’02, alumni relations coordinator; Roy Jo Sartin, Writing Center specialist; Jessie DuBreuil, director of the First-Year Experience Program; Brenna Swift ’09, professional tutor at the Colket Writing Center; and Sarah Milteer, Colket Writing Center staff assistant.
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Those of us who are college veterans will never forget our freshman year at college. Some of us may like to forget our freshman year, but in general it is a time filled with anticipation, some anxiety, and wonderful discoveries.
College is a lot different than high school. You may decide to commute from your home to a local campus. Your freshman experience will definitely make an impression on you. Without doubt, though, the most dramatic freshman year is for those living away from home. What can you expect as you head off into the wonderful world of higher education?
The first thing you’ll notice is the workload. It will be heavier and more intense than you ever experienced before. The major challenges of college work are the large volume of reading, the short deadlines, and the writing, writing, writing. A related effect that can be brought on by the workload is doubt, frustration, and possibly loneliness. You’ll be away from the comforts and friendships your home provided for you over the previous years.
On some of those long, seemingly endless nights of studying and writing, it will be only natural for you to long for the good old days. Hang in there. These down periods will pass. Whatever you do, don’t make major decisions about your major, your courses, or even your roommate during one of these blue periods. Things always look better in the morning.
You’ll be making a lot of new friends. Continue to be yourself. Don’t strike a pose or play the role of someone you’re not. Select your friends with the same care and patience you have always used. Believe it or not, your college friendships will be among the most satisfying and long-term of your life. It’s always exciting to discover how wonderfully diverse college relationships can be.
You’ll also be on your own, your own boss (more or less) 24 hours a day. Be careful here. Don’t go flying off the end of the pier. Enjoy your newfound freedom. Stay up until dawn talking about your ideals and ambitions with your dorm’s regular bull session buddies. Sleep in until the afternoon on a light class day. Explore the local town or suburbs with one or two of your new friends. Remember, though, with freedom comes responsibility. Even though your parents won’t be around to follow up on your loose ends, you shouldn’t let things go completely. Just find your own style.
You may even start to think about your future. Be on the lookout for role models. Maybe a certain professor is especially inspiring. Perhaps your school has some ground-breaking research going on. Be sensitive to your own gravity. If some area of study attracts you, find out all you can about it. It might be the beginning of your self-definition process. Going to college is as much about finding out who you really are as it is about getting that degree.