Reflections on My Freshman Year

I made the decision to come to Mudd almost exactly a year ago, at the end of April. It’s kind of crazy to think that its been that long. I’m not quite done with freshman year (I’ve still got finals left), but I thought I’d share a little bit of my reflections on the year!

Most of my classes were Core for the first semester, meaning that the frosh (Mudd first-year students) were taking them together–at the same time, but not necessarily in the same class. It’s incredibly useful to be taking the same classes as your friends and your roommates. Homework study groups are easily formed. The classes were challenging, though often very fun:

A blue geometric flower.

My attempt at drawing a flower using a program from CS 5

Two diagrams of a Connect Four board where X has won, with the text "You win...Rematch?"

My roommate Hannah, playing as X, beats a Connect Four AI that she programmed in CS 5. Photo Credit: Hannah Betts

A lattice structure of 14 yellow atoms and 4 purple atoms on a black background

A structure of ZnS that we examined in Chemistry 23B!

And of course pass/no credit allows for a little more flexibility in adjusting to the workload that first semester. I found that in terms of academics I was working hard, but not overwhelmed as I had worried. I was also grateful for the breadth of the Core when it introduced me to computer science (which I loved but might not have taken a class in otherwise).

Academics, however, were certainly not all of my first semester. I also spent Sundays exploring the Farmer’s Market in Claremont and eating brunch with my roommates. I attended events held by Mudd’s Living and Learning Community (a social justice education focused group), the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dancing Company, the physics department (Lab Ice Cream Fest, where professors make ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and Dessertfest, where professors each bring a different dessert), and many others.

A room full of people and brown couches.

A long line for the donuts as students start settling in for the performance at a one of the weekly Wednesday Nighters held by the Division of Student Affairs.

I also worked both at Homework Hotline, doing over the phone tutoring, and for the Office of Admission writing blogs. That first semester offered me a chance to explore.

I started this semester by attending my first physics conference.

The ten of us sitting on a bench with an anteater statue

The full group of students who attended the conference. Photo Credit: Mae Lee

I joined the Science Bus club, a group that takes fun experiments to nearby elementary schools, and started giving tours for the Office of Admission. Other than that, the semester proceeded much the same until Spring Break.

I did not anticipate how this semester would end. I don’t think anyone did. It has certainly been a wild ride, and learning at home is definitely not completely the same as being at Mudd. In some ways, however, the spirit of the community is still there. Despite the fact that my friends are now scattered around the country, we still talk regularly and collaborate on homework. Some events (like the aforementioned Wednesday Nighters) have been moved online. It has been reassuring to feel connected, still, to the Mudd community. Though it may not have ended the way I thought it would, I have enjoyed my freshman year. And I’m definitely looking forward to the next one!