My College ExperienceMy first day at Swarthmore was kind of terrible. It was raining, I didn’t know anyone, and I was totally overwhelmed. My first day at Swarthmore was kind of terrible. It was raining, I didn’t know anyone, and I was totally overwhelmed. It all felt like an insurmountable barrier to my success at Swat. Luckily, I made it through that first day. As I opened up and started talking to other people, I realized I was surrounded by a bunch of peers whom I could relate to but also be fascinated by. I made friends from Arkansas, Colombia, and Fiji—places I’ve never been—and found that even though they had different experiences from me, they had a similar sense of humor (and could all agree that Pennsylvania weather is rough). I met most of them through living in Mary Lyon and chatting during walks to and from campus. Slowly but surely, I had a growing group of friends that felt like family. Part of that family came later from a club I was destined to join, Psi Phi, where I could be as ridiculous as I wanted and let out any built-up stress. I participated in my first Pterodactyl Hunt as a pterodactyl, and only now have a true understanding of the adrenaline rush that comes from being charged by 20 people with foam swords. I also learned the joy of winning the weekly lottery and being bestowed with the gift of an empty mints tin. My favorite Psi Phi memory so far has been our own little Thanksgiving: Everyone brought food—from Co-op bread to homemade desserts—and lots of board games. It was one of the stranger meals I’ve had, but it also was the most beautiful: a collection of uniquely odd people uniting to support one another and be weird together. In a lot of ways, Swarthmore as a whole is like Psi Phi. Maybe not everyone wants to participate in the Pterodactyl Hunt or go to a screening of The Princess Bride, but we are a collection of very different yet very similar people. I’ve met people here who grew up in vastly different places, want to major in completely different subjects, and have wildly different career goals—or lack thereof—yet all exhibit creativity, passion, and a love of learning. I like to think of our community as a giant jigsaw puzzle, where sometimes it can be hard to see how two pieces fit into the same picture, but all together it’s a crazy, beautiful mosaic. As I move into my sophomore year, I’m excited to see what the new freshman class is like, and I’m curious to see what they add to the mosaic of Swarthmore.