Julia Hanson is a 2014 graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Boston and now lives in Washington, D.C. working as a non-profit fundraising consultant. At Dickinson, Julia did a one-year stint as a swimmer, went to a Native American reservation in Arizona and a small town in the Dominican Republic for service trips, joined a sorority, wrote a thesis on Indian and Dominican immigrants in fiction, learned Italian and Euro-tripped around 10 countries while studying abroad in Bologna, and received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. When she’s not at work or exploring D.C., Julia loves to write, experiment with cooking, get outside, daydream of new travel destinations, and hang out with good friends (or a good book!)
In your search for the right school, there are several key players.
First, the admissions counselor. He or she is the person to impress, the one you will win over, at any cost. More often than not, this person went to the school, found their soulmate, met all of their best friends, bonded hardcore with their abroad host family, won every prize, and spoke at graduation. You practically expect that this person has the college seal tattooed somewhere on their body, and talking to them makes you even more excited about your dream school. While you might feel starstruck when talking to this person, remember that you won’t have points taken off for asking questions about things you are still uncertain about. They are there to help! Pin their handwritten postcard to your bulletin board and gush about them, but don’t forget that they are part of the business side of the process, and they cannot guarantee anything (even though they say you’re the best interview they’ve had all day and the school would love you!) Play it cool.
Next, the roommate. From the moment you find out you got into your dream school, you immediately worry about the person who will be sharing that minuscule space with you all year. Will they hold seances, or eat weird vegetables? Will they be down to hang out and meet new people with you, or will they have a weirdo boyfriend who eats all your peanut butter? The fact is, more often than not, they could be all of these things…and still an amazing freshman roommate. The best freshman year situation is one in which your roommate is not exactly your best friend, but someone who is having a different experience that you can still catch up with over dinner a couple times a week and watch an episode with before bed. As for her weird boyfriend…find a good hiding spot for that peanut butter.
You got in, your roommate is alright, and you stop by admissions once in a while to coo over your fav counselor’s baby. Sounds good. But there’s one more cast member that’s stressing you out – your professor. You’re having enough trouble saying “Professor” instead of “Mrs. or Mr. X”, and you’re practically sweating and googling words whenever they speak. Take freshman year to ask all the stupid questions you want – they expect it, and it’s their job to answer them! You’ll look back and laugh about being intimidated by them, and the plus is that they will treat you like an adult – which means getting to know them and using them as a resource for the rest of college.
Now you know the first members of the cast – so it’s up to you to seek out and add great supporting members, including yourself!