Last Sunday, my Froco group reconvened for our final 2016 meeting as we celebrated three birthdays, and (of course) Yale’s win over Harvard. Before coming to campus, every freshman is given a Freshmen Counselor, or Froco, that lives with all of the freshmen in first-year housing on Old Campus. Frocos are always seniors, and have approximately fifteen freshmen who they help to mentor and guide through their first year at Yale. During orientation and the first few weeks of classes, Froco groups meet almost daily to go over scheduling, orientation events, and other mandatory information that freshmen need. Freshmen can go to their Froco for advice about anything college-related, whether it be about majors, sororities, athletic teams, or personal advice.
Our first picture together as a Froco Group after the Freshman Assembly
After September though, Froco groups don’t have required meetings. Freshmen know their way around campus (and only sometimes get lost) and we feel more comfortable with the rhythm of classes, extracurriculars, and college life. Even though we aren’t required to spend time with each other, my Froco group has remained really close, and we still meet up every so often to catch up, celebrate our successes, and bond over the stress and new challenges that come with freshman year. These meet-ups usually take the form of birthday parties, family dinners, or even hikes to East Rock, and are a nice break from homework and other responsibilities.
Our Froco Group hiked up to East Rock; you can see most of New Haven
Halfway through the semester, our Froco group met up again for a “Fireside Chat” with our Dean and Head of College. Our Dean and Head oversee all of the academic, social, and cultural events at Ezra Stiles; they basically run the college, and meet with every Froco group during the first semester to talk about how our year has been going. We talked about sleeping habits, tips for keeping up a clean suite, and even the best way to organize your Google Calendar. It can be easy to feel like the administration is distant when you go about your daily routine, but the Fireside Chat was a nice way to reconnect with my Froco Group and be reminded of the constant help that administrators have to offer students.
First birthday party of the year!
I decided to stay in New Haven for Fall Break, but didn’t have any real plans for what I wanted to do during my time off. Most of my friends had gone home, so I at first I worried that I would be alone at Yale for most of the 5-day break. Instead, my suitemate and I figured we would live life to the fullest and head to New York City for a day. We jumped on a Metro North Train around 9 am, and headed to the Big Apple without any idea of where to go or what to see. Along the way we met up with another kid in our Froco group and the three of us explored the Museum of Modern Art, Freedom Tower, Times Square, and ate some amazing Chinese food. Navigating NYC by ourselves was a challenge, but having two friends from my Froco group with me for the whole ride was so much fun, and really gave me the break from school that I needed.
Our terrible recreation of Bather by André Derain.
As my first semester at Yale comes to close, I’ve only now come to realize how important everyone in my Froco group is to me, and how much they have helped make Yale into my second home. 6,000 undergraduates is small compared to some schools, but it can be easy to feel like you’re still wandering through a sea of strangers from time to time. Fellow freshmen from my Froco group have always found me when I felt alone, whether it be in the dining hall, Bass Library, or even just walking from class to class. Yale, and college as a whole, feels much smaller and more special when you have great people to share it with, and my Froco group has been those people for me from the start. Next semester here we come!