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The Freshmen Experience

The Freshmen Experience

A Look at the First Year of College 

By Brooklin Painter 

The first year of college can be a new but also hectic experience for freshmen. Those entering a new environment may find themselves in a whole different world than they were in before. To measure the true freshmen experience, The Collegian spoke to freshmen from Walla Walla University to ask what their experiences have been this year. 

Brielle Bennie, freshman math and pre-medicine major, said her experience this year has been “an absolute blast!” She has enjoyed the friendliness of everyone and how outgoing the people are. Something Bennie appreciated is how caring the professors have been to the students. [1] 

Some of Bennie’s favorite highlights of this year have been Summer Bash, a trip to Hells Canyon that she took with a couple of friends, and the lantern festival in Spokane. 

An experience Bennie didn’t particularly enjoy about this year was suffering from a traumatic brain injury during the end of fall quarter. As a result, Bennie missed most of winter quarter due to being in the hospital and taking care of herself. 

One thing Bennie was not anticipating about college experience was the academic difficulty. In the beginning, she did not expect her classes and homework to be as challenging as they were. Now, she describes it to be more exciting than she originally perceived. One word Bennie would use to describe her first year at WWU is “exhilarating!!” [2] 

Zachary Damm, a freshman psychology major, said his first year in college “felt slow and fast at the same time, but was fun.” Some of his favorite highlights of this year have been the mud bowl, Battle of the Bands, and when students would come together to play spike ball or volleyball. [3] 

According to Damm, there was not anything non-enjoyable about this year. He had some minor issues along the way, but there was nothing major to complicate his experience at WWU. 

College was exactly how Damm imagined it to be. Damm said, “The college experience I was looking for was what I got. I came to this school looking for a chill and laid back place. I got what I wanted.” [4] 

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Sophia Kist, a freshman computer science major, said, “I would describe my first year at WWU as a learning experience. Figuring out how to balance classes and my social life was a challenge at first, but after that I was able to enjoy college life. I loved meeting new people at various social events conducted by WWU.” [5] 

A couple of Kist’s favorite highlights of the year were Battle of the Bands and the ASWWU surfing trip she went on. Kist said that she also hasn’t had any bad experiences at WWU, though she wished that spring quarter would have been sunnier and a bit warmer. 

The singer takes the foreground on stage with one hand in the air and the other on the mic, singing out.
In the background, there are two of the guitarists playing the song. The Battle of the Bands, a highlight of this year for many students. Photo by Sophia Sherwin. Taken on 2/26/2022. Source:

Kist described her college experience as exactly what she imagined it to be. She foresaw meeting plenty of new people and creating quality friendships. Kist said, “The adventures I have gone on with friends were exactly what I wished for when starting college.” One word Kist would use to describe her overall experience is “adventurous.” [6] 

Freshmen year is a time for independence, getting out of one’s comfort zone, and to enjoy new experiences. It’s a time to make new friends and memories. Most of all, it’s a year for change and an opening into adulthood. 


  1. Interview with Brielle Bennie, 5/26/2022. 
  1. Ibid
  1. Interview with Zachary Damm, 5/26/2022. 
  1. Ibid
  1. Interview with Sophia Kist, 5/26/2022. 
  1. Ibid
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