Camping during Orientation Week at Bowdoin College

August 09, 2016

After unloading bags, claiming beds and kissing parents goodbye, the first thing every Bowdoin first year student does upon arriving at the college is camp out in Farley field house. Walking into the enormous indoor track, I was taken aback by how many people had already set up sleeping bags and were already making friends. As scary as it was to be in a room without knowing anyone, the air of excitement was infectious. I set off to find my pre-Orientation group.

Upon their arrival, Bowdoin sends new students on trips around Maine. Each trip has 8-10 people, along with two upperclassmen leaders, and range from kayaking to hiking to community service at a local town. I had opted to do an intensive backpacking trip, and looked around for the sign “Saddleback Hiking.” I found my group, and, bonded by our mutual wish to give off a good impression, we began chatting the night away.

Sleeping in the field house was uncomfortable, but could do little to dampen our spirits, and before long we were off into the great outdoors. Over the next four days, we pushed ourselves mentally and physically traversing the beautiful Saddleback Mountains, all the while joking, laughing and discussing our previous lives. We were all from different cities, states (in my case, countries) and backgrounds, and we wiled many hours away learning more about each other.

Eventually, after a grueling final day of hiking beginning at 3 AM, we made our way down to be picked up by the bus. Though I was glad to be going back in a real bed, I was also anxious. I had only met my four new roommates for a brief moment before being whisked away, and had no idea what they were like (despite much perusal of their Facebook feeds). I arrived back on campus and my floor mates filtered in one by one. Once we had all arrived, Orientation Week officially began.

Orientation Week was a hectic series of functions designed to acclimate us to our new school. Between the seminars, plays, speeches and tours, we came back to the dorms everyday exhausted but exhilarated, as we were all becoming fast friends. The most important thing to come out of this period was registering for our fall semester courses, which would start the Monday of the next week.

Shortly after starting classes, it became clear to me that college would be very different from high school. Though I am lucky to attend a school with wonderful professors and facilities, the workload and material were much harder than I was used to. However, I enjoyed the challenges presented in my new courses, and everyone I met seemed to love what they were learning. Before I knew it, the first month had passed. While it was several more months before I felt completely adjusted, Bowdoin had quickly become home.

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​Written by Brendan Malley, a rising junior at Bowdoin College

Are you looking to apply to Bowdoin or just starting to build out your college list? Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted to see essays, stats, and advice. Choosing where to go to college is an incredibly important decision. Make an informed choice by talking to current students on our mentorship platform. Access 60,000+ successful college application files uploaded by college students. AdmitSee is a community of students helping students. See how they got in, and how you can too!



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