A Hybrid Freshman Year – Luize Lanka ’24

My journey to and at Vassar has definitely been one that I’d call unique. Last semester I was remote and after lots of contemplating, in February I decided that I was going to come to campus for the first time ever a month into the spring semester. Having enjoyed my remote semester in London so much made this decision extra difficult to make. It was a decision that would officially end my chapter (for now) of my life in London and I didn’t feel quite ready to do so. 

Until my last week, I didn’t really think about what was coming. However, during my last week at home, despite being crazily busy with packing and saying my goodbyes, I was constantly preoccupied with doubts about leaving. I even considered cancelling my flight two days prior to it. Yet, I had a gut feeling about being remote in the fall and I had a gut feeling about being on campus in the spring. Following these intuitions made this crazy, COVID-19 freshman year better than anything I could have hoped for. 

My first two weeks at Vassar are what I am especially referring to when I call my experience unique. I moved onto campus in mid-March. It was almost a sort of alienating feeling. Here I was with no knowledge of how things work on campus or where things were located whilst everyone else was going about their normal settled-in lives here. It was definitely overwhelming. 

I remember asking one of my friends if she felt this way in the fall semester and she responded that she didn’t because a quarter of the student body was going through the same thing. That’s the charm of being a freshman in a normal year. It’s a collective effort at the beginning of the fall semester to make this new place your homes. Although I will never know exactly what this feels like, I managed to quickly settle into Vassar thanks to my lovely friends and the OIS community. I am now happy to call Vassar one of the many places of belonging I am lucky to have. 


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