Hello there! My name is Ananya Goyal, and I’m a freshman of the Class of 2020. I grew up in New Delhi, India, and am planning on majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in international relations. I spend my free time exploring the campus, meeting new people, chasing groundhogs, and writing about the same. I’m extremely excited about my next four years here, because ’til now, my first month has been absolutely amazing!
College, for anybody, is a constant journey of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Each day for me brings with it a different experience, whether it’s being in a completely diverse cultural environment, getting used to living with an amazing roommate, doing laundry for the first time, or meeting people from countries all over the world.
While I have had many enjoyable firsts, there are some I would like to highlight that have hugely impacted my initial days of college.
The best part of Orientation, for me, was meeting people. In that one week, I said, “Hey! My name is Ananya!” more than a hundred times, and I’m not exaggerating. I basically went from one activity to another, and that really helped me expand my friend circle. I can now proudly say that I fully embrace the diversity at Rochester (Exhibit A: One of my friends is the first person from his country to ever come here)!
Besides introducing me to all kinds of people—polar opposites, similar-minded folks, and even groundhog enthusiasts—Orientation really complemented my over-excited, outgoing personality, and provided me with a way to channel my energy into something positive!
2. Wilson Day
Wilson Day is one of the University’s many amazing traditions, where freshmen of the newly-joined class can connect with the local community by participating in social service projects throughout Rochester. My hall mates and I went to a visual and performing arts school for developmentally diverse youth. As soon as we got there, I fell in love with the small, yet home-like place. The walls were filled with colorful artwork and I could hear music in the hallway.
After we were introduced to the students, I set off to the art and crafts table to draw with my new friend, one of the students. I can honestly say that my time spent during Wilson Day is something I won’t forget for a long time!
3. Yellowjacket Weekend
The first “Weekend” of many, Yellowjacket Weekend ’16 was a mix between a carnival, a food-truck rodeo and a mini-concert. My day started with standing in line for a bright yellow-colored class spirit shirt and then proceeded to the fun part. I tried out the rides and the bouncy castle with my friends, ate frozen custard, clicked pictures with my roommate, and chilled out on the grass while listening to live music. However, despite all the delicious food, great music and fun, my favorite part was meeting Rocky, the school mascot.
4. Friday Night Live
A showcase of students’ musical talent, Friday Night Live (FNL) takes place every weekend at Starbucks, and is a great way to relax after a stressful week. Having attended every single session ’til now, I can honestly say that it’s an amazingly diverse experience for all kinds of music lovers (Exhibit B: It featured an acoustic guitar player one week, followed by a jazz band the next). Once you attend, chances are, you’ll meet others with similar interests, which will lead to an impromptu bonding session (Exhibit C: I met someone who had a chessboard, and I offered to play against him. Even though I lost, I made a new friend!).
My absolute favorite part about FNL, however, was my introduction to the magical world of caramel frappucinos. During our visit to Starbucks, my roommate suggested that I try my first Starbucks coffee, so I randomly ordered one off the menu. And I have been unable to resist since then…
My first month at the University of Rochester, as you’ve read, has been a journey of many firsts. And something tells me, the next four years will follow along the same path.
Thank you for reading!