College Spotlight – University of Rochester

College Spotlight: University of Rochester

Freshman Year Update

By Annie Moorhead
August, 2016

University of Rochester
Candlelight ceremony

Candlelight ceremony honoring the start of our academic journey at University of Rochester (hosted at the end of move-in day for incoming freshman and transfer students).

It was the end of Freshman move-in. The cool night air felt refreshing after a hot, crazy day filled with boxes, bedding, and mini-fridges. We stood in a large circle surrounding the academic quad. They passed out candles, lighting them one by one until we filled the quad with light. The six strangers standing nearby were my new neighbors from my freshman hall, but little did I know these ladies would become my closest friends of Freshman year. Looking back at this picture I can’t help but wonder where the year went. So much happened that I want to convey, but a quick recap will have to do.

After the first week of classes, lovingly called “syllabus week”, the reality that I was in college began to sink in. By pursing a Chemical Engineering major and a Studio Arts minor, I managed to sign up for some pretty time intensive classes. One of these classes was Organic Chemistry. As a part of the “Quest Series” chemistry track, I used my AP Chemistry credit from high school to replace my first semester of General Chemistry and place out of my second, thus putting me in Organic Chemistry. This “Freshman Orgo” class only contains freshman, making it the perfect place to meet fellow Chemistry enthusiasts. Meet other Chemistry dweebs like myself is exactly what I did. We call ourselves “Orgo Fam” and many of us are Chemical Engineers, which means we are going to survive a lot more than Organic Chemistry together.

Within the first couple weeks I also auditioned for University of Rochester’s Symphony Orchestra (URSO). URSO is a mid-sized symphony orchestra containing a hybrid of students, faculty and staff along with select community members. Such a hybrid creates an environment best suited towards learning and player development. Also available for students is a smaller chamber orchestra and wind ensemble. Outside of these opportunities there is plenty of music, theater, and dance at Rochester. Acapella is HUGE, Off Broad Way on Campus (OBOC) puts on a show each semester, and dance groups like Ballet Performance Group (BPG) give dancers of all skill levels and types the opportunity to practice their craft. Rochester also provides access to its prestigious Eastman School of Music for River Campus students via FREE private lessons, an opportunity I hope to take advantage of this upcoming semester.

Other highlights of my year include participating in Division II National Badminton tournaments through Rochester’s Badminton Club, frequenting the second busiest Starbucks in America located in the center of campus, and going Greek! During second semester I went through our Panhellenic Council’s five-day recruitment. I was skeptical at first, but I discovered Rochester’s casual Greek community was very welcoming. During recruitment, I found a home in Chi Omega and became part of the approximate 25% of undergraduates that participate in Greek life. Today I consider it one of the best decisions I made my freshman year, and know my sisters will continue to encourage me in all parts of my life regardless if these parts are “Greek” or not.

I find it crazy that in less than one month, I will assist with freshman orientation as a Resident Advisor (RA). At the end of freshman move-in I hope to watch this year’s candlelight ceremony and witness others begin their journey at University of Rochester. Whether you are merely considering a visit or will stand around the Academic Quad holding your own candle in a few weeks, I hope you feel as welcomed to campus as I did. I wish you the best of luck in your college searching adventure and hope you find a college home wherever you decide to go.