Finals are over, and I can only think of how quickly my first semester of college flew by. I remember move-in day like it was yesterday. In writing this, I must apologize for all of the platitudes that it contains; I truly could not describe my first semester experiences any other way.
It’s only been four months?
Despite having been at the University of Rochester for roughly three and a half months, I feel like it’s been far longer. As I write this, I sit on the fifth floor of Rush Rhees Library, overlooking the City of Rochester at one in the morning, classical music flowing in the background, as some students who have quickly become my closest friends study beside me. At one point, I asked them about when we first arrived here, and I could see how shocked our entire table was after realizing that it was less than four months ago. In just four months, I’ve bonded with all of the people at this table, and I already know that, in them, I have found lifelong friends.
At least once a day, while hanging out with this same group, I hear the sentence, “I’m going home” when someone is going back to their dorm. Each time, it is said instinctively (I must admit that I do it too). I see it as so telling that, within a span of less than four months, each of us has come to see the University of Rochester as our new home.
Hidden in Rush Rhees Library
In that short time, it has become a daily occurrence that we visit the stacks in the Rush Rhees Library, often for hours at a time. The breadth of all that is ensconced in the Rush Rhees Library—millions of volumes that span centuries of intellectual pursuits—is breathtaking.
During finals week, when I familiarized myself with the stacks’ nooks and crannies (the window facing the City of Rochester in 500M is my favorite spot!), I encountered collections of things pertinent to my major. One particular moment I recall involved me turning around and seeing dozens of large books that contained the Articles of Impeachment for President Clinton. Another time, I encountered every edition of the Federal Reserve’s annual report across from where I was studying (imagine how happy I was after learning that Narayana Kocherlakota, the current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, was going to become the Lionel W. McKenzie Professor of Economics at the University of Rochester). If you can think of it, you can probably find it somewhere in Rush Rhees Library.
Meeting eager professors
One of the greatest surprises I’ve uncovered at the University of Rochester is the faculty. Not only are they extremely accessible—I highly recommend making use of their office hours—they are genuinely eager to meet with passionate students. I remember, on one occasion, I was eating at Douglass Dining Hall and saw one of our esteemed political science professors (and former chair of the department) eating at a table while talking to some students. It was very reassuring seeing our faculty seamlessly interacting with our students outside of the classroom—though, I guess it was because they enjoy our dining hall food too!
Just a few days ago, I ran into another political science professor at Starbucks. After approaching him, he was eager to talk to me—this wasn’t the first time we talked, as I’ve visited his office hours on numerous occasions. Our faculty members are very accessible. I have been told by many upperclassmen that I will have no problem finding a mentor; in fact, many have encouraged me to do so.
Over the past four months, I have learned a great many things at and about the University of Rochester. The most insightful thing I have recognized is that time truly does fly. In just a few days, I will fly back to my hometown and tell my parents about my first semester of college. At the same time, I will feel as though they just dropped me off at the University of Rochester.
At this time I should disclose the meaning of my title. As you can tell, I have enjoyed tremendously my time in Rochester. The rest of my college experience may very well pass as quickly as this first semester did. Thankfully, we have the unique Take Five Scholars Program here at Rochester. Take Five allows you to study at Rochester for a tuition-free fifth year. I’ve loved it here so much that I will apply to this program as soon as I get the chance. After you pick the University of Rochester, I hope you apply to it as well!