Snapchat memories are a very expressive ritual for our generation. Every time that red dot pops up next to that stack of photos on my snapchat, my finger does not waste a second tapping it. So, when that red dot came up this week, I went to it instantly, and lo and behold — there it was. A treasure trove of numerous snaps from three years ago: my freshman orientation.

I am a yellowjacket senior who has seen it all — from the days of the comfy Starbucks couches to when Tapingo gave way to Grubhub. In the grand scheme of life, three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but it feels like an eternity considering the countless experiences I’ve had on this campus. So how does a seasoned rising senior feel during first year orientation for the fresh new faces of 2025? I would call it a mixed bag of feelings, maybe even a mid-college life crisis. As soon as I saw the first confused first-year coming in with bulky suitcases, I was drawn back to the time when I was lugging my own bags up the four floors of Gilbert. 

It was surreal watching this fresh batch of yellowjackets going through ice breakers with their hall mates outside, and trying to get along with people in the dining hall. The hope in their eyes and the smile on their faces (which I could not see due to the masks, but I know they were there) was a nice change from the stressed out seniors I normally hang out with. I couldn’t help but think — how long will it be until these little babies miss their first 9:00 am? How long will it be before the class valedictorian gets her first B? Or how long will it be until they realize that it’s possible their major isn’t really for them? Everyone talks about how wonderful University is, how much it teaches you and how much fun you have, but no one talks about these little failures. Although when I look back, it was that first 9:00 am that my roommate and I missed that helped us bond over a late brunch in Douglass. It was that B in a chemistry midterm that made me realize that my GPA wouldn’t tank because of one test, and the party I went to instead of cramming all weekend was still worth it.

And even though most of my fellow upperclassmen are perpetually stressed out, we can’t help but smile every single time we hit that red dot and look at those Snapchat memories — because that’s what college is. It’s just a bunch of ups and downs (definitely more downs) that put together, give you something to look back at and smile about. So, to all the first years reading this — don’t worry if you didn’t get into that one class during course registration, or if you don’t particularly like your roommate at first. Whatever happens, you’ll have a red dot on your Snapchat three years later, and you will definitely have a grin plastered on that stressed out face.

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