First Impressions

Hello from the very far away town of Wellesley, Massachusetts! It’s my 5th week here at Wellesley, and I can’t believe it’s already Fall! The campus is surrounded by trees, and I’m really excited to see the leaves change color.

Emily on a swing

On first impressions, Wellesley isn’t that different from Amherst. Class sizes are around 600 students. Majority of students live in residence halls. The major difference is that it’s all-women’s. But I don’t notice it as much as I thought I would. Going to classes, eating in dining halls, and walking around campus is all still the same—just without guys. The gender absence is actually more apparent when guys are on campus than when they aren’t.

Academically, student life still feels the same. My smallest class size is 10 people and largest 40. I have comparable workload to my semesters at Amherst. Wellesley has many distribution requirements—even P.E. requirements—so I’ve come to appreciate Amherst’s open curriculum a lot more. Something that is noticeable about the academic environment is its intensity. Within the first week of school, people were already filling the library to study and most people arrive to class at least 5 min beforehand. Every person seems especially driven—with a few more so than others—creating this overall serious atmosphere.

I think adjusting to Wellesley was harder than I thought it would be. Entering with the freshmen class during orientation helped my transition to an extent because everyone was unfamiliar to the campus and I did get to know a few girls really well. It took a lot more effort to get to know people in my classes and year. However, it’s been a blessing getting to know the other students who are on exchange with me—a few from Smith and Mount Holyoke! Finding a community in a church a friend connected me to has also really eased my transition.

Wellesley is known for having lots of traditions, so I was interested to experience them myself. On the first night of orientation, all of the residents met and learned their specific dorm chants. Everyone was then led out of the halls and encouraged to chant their dorm chants as they walked down to the lake. I hadn’t really expected to experience this kind of school spirit. It was a surreal feeling walking at 10pm surrounded by hundreds of women shouting all sorts of chants. The tradition of this night is to jump into the lake and drop a penny, and if you find it, you’ll graduate! If not, I guess you don’t ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ There was a lot of seaweed/algae in the lake.

A few things I love about Wellesley so far is its beautiful campus and proximity to Boston!

Wellesley’s campus is absolutely beautiful. It was designed by the same person who designed Central Park. I love that the campus is immersed in trees; even when you’re walking between classes, you’re constantly surrounded by greenery. One of my favorite things to do is walk or run around Lake Waban, a lake on campus. Just overlooking the water makes me feel really at peace, and it’s a nice breather after studying for a while.

Wellesley is about a 30 minute drive from Boston (on a good day!) and has shuttle buses to Boston throughout the week. I’ve always wanted to live in Boston, so it’s really nice to get a taste of the city. So far in my time here, I’ve visited the Museum of Fine Arts, ate in the Koreatown area in Allston, walked around MIT/Cambridge area, and gone kayaking along the Charles River!

Emily kayaking

Overall, I’m really excited to study at Wellesley, explore Boston, and get closer to the friends I’ve met here! See you at my next post~

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