by Audrey Goettl
Introspection. This was the word on my mind as I transitioned from finishing my freshman year of college to starting my blissful three months of summer. My FYC (first year counselor – a sophomore who lived on my freshman hall and helped with everything) said that the most important thing that we should do with our summer was introspect. Yes, we had jobs and high school friends and vacations and families and lives that we would be returning to. Yes, Middlebury and freshman year and college and homework could fade from our thoughts as we enjoyed the summer sun and easy-living. And yes, it would be easy to put our college experience on the backburner without really digesting what it all meant… so what did it mean? I will be honest and say that I hadn’t really started this process of introspection until recently, but now that I’ve gotten into the groove of life on campus, I’ve been able to really piece together how my experiences during freshman year have impacted me. It’s been rewarding to look back on my year and find tangible moments that have changed me, moments that have affected me in ways good and bad but moments that have undoubtedly marked me and altered my perceptions and thoughts. There was Verbal Onslaught during freshman orientation, when my eyes welled up during a poetry reading because I knew in that moment that I had chosen to come to the right school. There was the time I failed my first calculus test and questioned if I had what it took to even be at Middlebury. There was skiing down a black diamond on the Snow Bowl for the first time, there was getting so sick that I had to miss classes for a week and catch up on all of my missed assignments. There was performing a scene from the movie Bridesmaids to a group of students and faculty members sitting on blankets outside on the grass. There was meeting my best friend. There was racing down the slip and slide on Battel beach during Midd Mayhem with my friends and throwing the Frisbee around afterwards. There were all of these moments that culminated together into what was my freshman year, my first year of college, my first year at Middlebury. And even though there were sad days, days of stress and missing home and feeling sick and feeling tired, the good days and the good memories made it all worth it. I’m sure that I have a lot more introspection to do, and I’m sure that as I dig more into what my freshman year really was I’ll feel an array of different emotions, not all good. But above all else, I am so thankful for my experiences at Middlebury and thankful for the person who I have become as a result of being at Middlebury, even if for only a year.