First Impressions of WashU by the Class of 2027

| Junior Scene Editor

On Aug. 19, Washington University’s Class of 2027 moved onto campus, prompting the start of Bear Beginnings. The annual orientation program for first years features a series of immersive social events, academic panels, WUSA (Washington University Student Associate) group meetings, and, most notably, convocation at Brookings Quad. Bear Beginnings serves as a transition for many students as they settle into college, providing them with structured activities and the opportunity to make new friends.

A collection of dorm essentials for every first-year. (Illustration by Sophie Leong)

Initial impressions of WashU are shaped by each student’s respective move-in and orientation experience. Forming friendships early on provides students with a strong support system to rely on during the college transition. 

“When I first came to WashU, I thought that everyone was going to be closed off and was going to make their own friend groups within the first day,” Ashley Matamoros said. “However, most people were really nice and willing to get to know you throughout all of Bear Beginnings! Seeing this really made me feel at ease and helped me feel like I could belong here at WashU.” 

This experience was corroborated by Lauren Ciudad who felt a sense of belonging at WashU almost immediately. 

“Honestly, I was a bit surprised by the genuine commitment to community, but it made me feel right at home,” Ciudad said. “I felt super comfortable just going out to eat at BD or even looking for textbooks and required materials. The adjustment was so easy for me I could hardly believe it’s only been a little over a week since I got here!”

Many expressed their admiration towards the campus architecture as one of their main attractions towards the school. 

“My first impression of campus is that it’s absolutely breathtaking! The architecture is stunning and the greenery is so serene,” Iyanu Dosunmu said. 

Dung Tran agreed eagerly, describing WashU as a “classical castle on the outside with glass buildings and greenery on the inside.” Tran also noted his fascination with WashU’s butterfly garden, where he spent ample time during his first few days. 

“It made me feel like I’m enacting that flower path scene in ‘Spirited Away,’” Tran said. 

The food in the South 40’s Bears Den (BD) was another fan favorite of the incoming class, with first-year Emily Segura expressing her love of the rigatoni and meatballs in BD’s Ciao Down pasta. 

Outside its amenities, many first-years found immediate friendships with their roommates, despite the oftentimes stressful nature of random housing. 

“Currently, I live in the best residential hall, Koenig, and I love it. My amazing roommate Maya has helped make this transition so much more fun and easy,” Dosunmu said.

Bell Riley also expressed his appreciation of WashU’s gender-inclusive housing as a key factor in making his transition to college more seamless. While he noted his anxiety about coming to campus and finding people he could connect with, the experience he had in a gender-inclusive suite allowed him to foster close friendships.

Outside of residential halls, WashU offers students the ability to find community in its signature scholars programs. Segura, a member of the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program, established close connections across all grade levels almost immediately. 

“I have two sophomore mentors and several other upperclassmen who have given me helpful information during this transition to WashU,” Segura said. 

For those who have not yet found close connections, many students cite classes and extracurricular groups as another great way to meet more people. With the first week of classes officially in full session, the opportunities to find community at WashU will only continue to blossom as the Class of 2027 settles into campus life. 

For more articles like this, check out the StudLife Housing Guide: Housing Guide – Student Life


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