Falling for the FroCo Fam

East rock group

It was an slightly overcast Saturday in late October.  The temperature was perfectly balanced somewhere in between 50 and 60 degrees and there was a breeze, not too chilly, but just strong enough to give the day that wonderful “moody” feel that only a perfect fall day can bring.  The autumn leaves were in their full glory, lush and vibrant, dripping from the tree branches outside my window.

Yes, they were outside the window because I was viewing this glorious day from my position on my suite’s common room floor, engulfed by a sea of papers, notebooks, textbooks, computer cords, and sticky-notes.  Midterms had arrived, and I wasn’t planning on leaving the room until I had completed my outrageously long self-imposed study checklist.

Thankfully, a day that could have been exhausting and inevitably only semi-productive was saved.  My saviors?  My FroCo Fam!

Members of the "FroCo Fam" in the "trap squat" pose.

What is this “FroCo Fam,” you may ask?  Each freshman in each residential college at Yale is randomly assigned a freshman counselor (“FroCo”) for the year.  Each freshman counselor is responsible for helping a group of about 8-12 students make the transition from high school to college.  The FroCos for each residential college live with the freshman on Old Campus and can help with anything from student “bluebooking” (picking classes), to giving informal tours featuring all the best shortcuts on campus, to taking their groups for pizza/froyo, to hosting movie and game nights.  Even though scheduled meetings with FroCos end shortly after classes begin, many FroCo groups continue to socialize, including meeting up for dinner and going on fun trips in the area around Yale’s campus.

This brings me back to that special Saturday in October.  After several hours of studying, my mind was pretty fried.Then, I saw the message on our suite whiteboard: “FroCo Trip to East Rock @ 3pm!” (East Rock is a state park located only a few miles off campus.  It is a popular destination for Yalies of any hiking ability and has an elevation of over 300 feet.  Students frequent this place to go walking, hiking, running, and biking.)

A view of the woods around New Haven seen from atop East Rock.

In the end, my roommate convinced me to go…and it was definitely the right decision.  My FroCo, Chad, led the way.  Our group, like all other FroCo groups, is comprised of kids from across the country and around the world.  Because of my FroCo group, I am friends with people from Connecticut to Japan! Our conversations are always lively because we have so much to learn from each other.  I have discussed everything from rowing to salsa dancing to high energy particle physics with these people. 

Breathing in the fresh air while overlooking the gentle spread of Yale and New Haven from the top of East Rock was amazing.  Surrounded by friends, I felt renewed and ready to go.  This experience encapsulates one of the best qualities I have found Yale to possess: students who believe in balance. The people around me encourage me to live a healthy life, both physically and mentally, and everyone knows the value of taking time to discuss an interesting topic, enjoy a performance; walk around and explore; or just have a good laugh.  Yalies care about each other and bring out the best in each other, and that’s what makes this place so special.

Author Hallie at East Rock, sitting on a stone wall overlooking New Haven.