And We’re Back Pt.2: One Week In

| Senior Multimedia Editor

Illustration by Nick Cloney

Senior Multimedia Editor Jared Adelman follows four freshmen from their first day on campus until their first week of classes, tracking their thoughts and feelings during Bear Beginnings. From feelings of homesickness to imposter syndrome, And We’re Back captures all of the emotions associated with college orientation. And We’re Back is a two-part series, with this second episode containing conversations one week into classes.

You can also listen to part two of And We’re Back on Spotify or Apple Music.

This transcript has been edited slightly for clarity.

ANNA FONDA (0:08-0:21): I guess you just kind of see all the movies and like the TV shows where they go off to college, a lot of like corny stuff. I mean, also, my sister just went off to college, and she found a lot of good friends. So I feel like I’m just really excited to hopefully find my people.

JARED ADELMAN (0:22-1:13): That was Anna Fonda. You heard from her in our last episode. 

In addition to the expectations that Anna, Madison, Auriel, and Macy came in with, the first week was also marked by a wide range of emotions – from homesickness and the nervousness of living alone to the excitement of starting their college journey. 

I checked in with Anna, Madison, Auriel and Macy during the first week of classes to catch up on how the emotions they felt during Bear Beginnings had changed.

I’m Jared Adelman, and you’re listening to a special series from Student Life. 

The last time I spoke with Anna, she was excited to make new friends, but also worried about meeting the expectations she had set for herself, based on movies and her sister’s experience. But in hindsight, Anna realizes the image she came to WashU with isn’t all that different from her current reality.

AF (1:14-1:34):  Honestly, it still does feel like a movie. Me and my WUSA group were talking about how this just literally felt like summer camp. And this past week, we just didn’t feel like we were going to school. And now that classes have started, it’s a little different. It feels a little more real. I don’t know, we’re still not doing much classes, so it’s a little movie-like still.

JA (1:35-1:45): The first time we talked, Anna was a little worried about finding a core group of friends and the smaller things that come with it, like walking alone. But by the first week of classes, things had changed.

AF (1:46-2:12): I honestly do feel like I have a lot of people around. In all the classes I’ve been to, I’ve found people and I usually don’t have to walk alone. I think it’s been good. I think I have found a core group of people. I still do like walking alone. Sometimes, just listening to music. But I think it’s good to have a balance of both. Like, yesterday, I had a random break in my classes. Like it was only an hour. So I went to the library and just sat alone. And it was fine, like I didn’t mind it at all.

JA (2:13-2:15): What’s your go to artists right now when you’re walking around campus?

AF (2:16-2:18): The Weekend.

JA (2:19-2:25): With classes starting, Anna, like many of us, has found herself getting into a routine. But that routine looks different from what she’s used to.

AF (2:26-2:52): Yeah, it definitely feels like I’m trying to get a hold of routine. Yesterday, I just had a really busy day. And it’s weird because every day is not the same. Like with high school, I was used to going to school from seven to two every single day and then practice. But now I have to figure out which time to practice. Like today, I did practice in the morning. And then yesterday, I practiced at night. So it’s definitely weird to get used to everything. But once I go through a whole week, I think I’ll feel a lot better.

JA (2:53-2:55): Do you feel even a lot better now compared to last week? 

AF (2:56-3:07): I do feel better. Because I’m glad that I’ve actually gone to classes. I was getting a little stressed because I was like, I just don’t know how they’re going to be at all. But now I know. It’s doable. It’s not horrible. 

JA (3:08-3:13): What would you have told yourself a week ago that you now know?

AF (3:14-3:30): I feel like just keeping it together. Like don’t get too stressed out. Like everything will work out. I feel like there’s just like a lot thrown in your face. But you get used to it and it’s really not as overwhelming as it all seems.

JA (3:31-3:45): During my first conversation with Auriel Prepejschal and Macey Slightom, the roommates both talked about how the first week of orientation was also overwhelming. But for them, the anxiousness came in the form of imposter syndrome. Here’s Auriel about how she’s feeling a week later.

AURIEL PREPEJSCHAL (3:46-4:01): I’m honestly doing a lot better. I’ve adjusted a lot better. I’ve met some more people, the people on my floor I’m like super solid with now we do homework a lot together and all that stuff. I feel like I’ve made some pretty good connections. And I’m feeling a lot less anxious than what I was at the beginning.

JA (4:02-4:03): Macey felt a little more conflicted.

MACEY SLIGHTOM (4:04-4:17): Yeah, kind of the same as what she said, I definitely have gotten adjusted. Super tight with the people on our floor. A little overwhelmed, just like getting used to classes and learning how to navigate everything. But other than that, it’s been good.

JA (4:18-4:24): While their anxiousness about their social lives has gone down, the feeling of imposter syndrome has creeped up again now that classes have started.

AP (4:25-5:10): Um, honestly, this may be bad to say, but I feel like it’s almost gotten worse since I’ve been in classes. Like especially in my college writing class, we had to read out something that we wrote for an assignment, it was like a diagnostic, and I read mine, I was like, Okay, I’m feeling pretty decent about this. And the kid next to me read the most intelligent, mind blowing thing that I’d ever heard. And I was like, seriously, like, I’m starting to feel it a little bit. Like my classes are giving a lot more work than what I expected. I don’t know. I was expecting the first week to be super chill because everybody always talks about syllabus week. Yeah, no, that was such a lie. That was a major lie. So I don’t know. That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now. But I’m hoping that it just gets better.

MS (5:11-5:35): I think that I’m kind of the opposite. I think I have definitely recognized the workload is a lot. But I also know that I think I’m capable of doing it. And I know that like everybody else around me is feeling the same, at least people that I’ve talked to in my classes. So I think my worries of imposter syndrome have definitely decreased a little bit and it’s just now getting acclimated to everything. 

JA (5:36-5:37): For the rest of the semester, what are your hopes? 

AP (5:38-6:07): I want to just focus on getting good grades and exploring my areas of interest more thoroughly. And believing in myself. I felt like since I got here, I’ve just had a lot of doubt in myself. And it’s getting better, but I just want to hold myself to a standard. But I also want to be confident in myself and trust my gut and trust my instincts for the future.

MS (6:08-6:35): I definitely want to stay strong in my studies, but I also want to make sure that I have that balance of knowing when it’s time to stop and having time to myself. I think that these past two weeks, I haven’t taken a step back a little bit and been like, okay, like I can just chill for a moment. So I definitely want to make sure, moving forward, I’m doing that but also keep a good balance of keeping strong on my studies. And just getting myself out there like with my friends with different extracurriculars. 

JA (6:36-6:45): When I spoke to Madison McCormick during Bear Beginnings week, she described the first couple of days as a rollercoaster of emotions. One week later, things have relatively calmed down.

MADISON MCCORMICK (6:46-7:00): I think for a little bit, it calmed down and then with classes starting, it was kind of like a roller coaster again. But it’s definitely calmed down much more than the first couple of days because the first couple of days I had some really high highs but I had some really low lows. But I feel like I’m on an upward trend right now.

JA (7:01-7:05): Would you say you’re more confident now going into it? Or was it never a matter of confidence?

MM (7:06-7:23): Yeah, more confident, especially in my ability to socialize. I’m probably less confident in my classes because I’m obviously scared about that. It’s my first time being in college, but I’m excited for my classes and scared at the same time. But I’m definitely more confident in just myself here and in general.

JA (7:24-7:32): When we first talked, the lows of her rollercoaster stemmed from being homesick for the first couple of days. Fortunately, that has changed over the course of the week.

MM (7:33-7:51):  I was real down the dumps and you caught me those first couple of days. It was bad with those first couple of days being homesick and everything. And I only live four hours away, but it still sucks. But I feel a lot better now. I’ve obviously made friends. I feel like it has helped tremendously with feeling less homesick. So that has helped a lot.

JA (7:52-7:56): Like Anna, Madison has also been finding a routine for the semester, which was difficult at first.

MM (7:57-8:12): It was hard not having a set schedule. Because it was just like, anything goes at any time, which was kind of difficult for me as I usually like having a schedule. So it’s been nice having I guess now that after convocation and with classes starting, it’s nicer to know what’s going to happen next.

JA (8:13-8:20): Is there anything else that you’ve noticed that from when I first caught you to now you’re like, “okay, I certainly figured this out?” Anything from small to big?

MM (8:21-8:53): I guess at the beginning, I didn’t want to act like myself, because I felt like they weren’t gonna like my actual personality, but I think I found out that I’m just gonna be myself. That’s like, I guess the best thing you can do. I feel like I kind of walked in wanting to be a quieter person, but that just wasn’t possible because I talk so much. And so I tried coming in, I guess trying to change that about myself and be quieter. But then I realized that’s not gonna happen. And it’s important just to stay truthful to myself and accept that part of my personality. 

JA (8:54-9:03): I know you concluded the last interview we had with “look on the bright side” was your main takeaway for the rest of the week. What is the number one thing on the bright side from the past week?

MM (9:04-9:17): Just the friends I’ve made, I would say. That sounds really cliche, but I’ve made some really good friends that I think will end up being lifelong friends. And so I think that’s like, what’s keeping me going and I think that’s like the biggest bright side I found this entire time.

JA (9:25-9:40): Stay tuned for future episodes of Editor’s Note, our weekly podcast. In the meanwhile, head to to check out our current issue and other recent stories like the dining services changes and the University’s space equity planning process. For Student Life Media, I’m Jared Adelman.

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