Class of 2008: Settling in
By Rick Moore
From M, winter 2005
M is continuing to follow two students from the Class of
2008--LynAnne Evenson and Alex Moss--throughout the 2004-05
academic year. In this and each of the next two issues, you'll hear
them describe what it's like to be a freshman at the University of
A quarter of the way through their first year of college--perhaps one of life's most intense and dramatic transitions--LynAnne Evenson and Alex Moss are showing very few signs of being nervous or overmatched. (Okay, Moss admits that he had some trepidation about finding all of his classrooms for the first time, but what freshman at the U-who hasn't done a practice run-doesn't?) Then again, they hadn't been through their first finals week, either.
"There have been some eye-opening events, but so far I don't have any big complaints," said Moss while gobbling down a cheeseburger at Sally's, just a couple blocks from his home away from home at Frontier Hall.
Evenson shared her stories over a lunch special at the Village Wok, another campus favorite in Stadium Village. "I've been having so much fun," she said. "Seriously, it feels like I've been in school forever."
"I am so sick of doing honors work," Evenson said. "I don't really want to do a lot of hard stuff, at least not yet. But I still have three years left."Which isn't to say her life hasn't changed along the way. Fall semester wasn't two weeks old when the outspoken and gregarious Evenson checked in to say that her original plan--to commute to the U for her first year from her family's home on the East Side of St. Paul--had been scrapped. In that time she had pledged Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and moved into its house on the outskirts of Dinkytown.
Instead of living at home with her four younger siblings (who now call her and say "When are you coming home?"), Evenson is now officially and happily a sorority girl, bunking with three other roommates in a house with dozens more. "It's become my new home," she said. "It feels like community. Not community, but family. Our house mom is great. Our cook makes great food. And if you want to do something, there'll always be someone to do it with you. As one girl says, 'More Thetas equals more fun.'"
Moss considered joining a fraternity, as well, after meeting some guys who were in Alpha Epsilon Pi, but decided it wasn't the right move at the time. "I didn't want to get connected with anything like that right off the bat," he said. "It's a pretty big commitment."
For now, the native of the Chicago suburb of Highland Park is enjoying his life at Frontier Hall with a roommate from Bloomington that he describes as nice and mellow. Moss has settled into a rhythm "of going to the same sink and using the same shower," and supplements his cafeteria food with his own soy milk and broccoli. Said Moss: "As long as I have my broccoli at night and I don't eat huge amounts of fried food, the food's not too terrible."
Our monsters, ourselves, and their other classes
Moss said he's faring well so far in most of his classes, namely microeconomics, acting for nontheater majors, and his freshman seminar, Our Monsters, Ourselves. In the latter, he's been reading books like Frankenstein and Geek Love. "It's kind of creepy," he said. "It's this constant theme of who's human and what's a monster."
"The only class I'm having trouble with is calculus," Moss added. "It's giving me a run for my money.... All my other classes are fine." Evenson's load also consists of four classes--Spanish, math, sociology, and foreign policy--but she has intentionally scaled back from the intensity of her (IB) international baccalaureate courses in high school. "They're easy," she said of her current classes, "because I didn't take honors courses. All of a sudden I'm in normal classes, and it's great."
"I am so sick of doing honors work," she added. "I don't really want to do a lot of hard stuff, at least not yet. But I still have three years left."
Evenson has just one large lecture class--sociology--and she laughed when recalling the advice her 12th-grade history teacher gave her on how to get the most out of a class in an auditorium; sit in the first or second row. "Just for you, Mr. Smith, I'm sitting in the second row," she said.
Navigating the campus... and campus life
Both Evenson and Moss commented on the distances they must travel to negotiate daily life at the U. Walking everywhere, Evenson said, is one of her biggest challenges so far. She hoofs it from the Kappa Alpha Theta house to her classes on the East and West Banks of the U, and often back and forth again for breakfast and lunch at the house. She jokes that it may take a couple of years "to build up my leg muscles."
Moss has taken to the convenience and expediency offered by his bicycle. While he proudly pointed out that he can make it from his dorm at the southeast edge of campus to Andersen Hall on the West Bank in five minutes ("if I take the streets"), he admitted to being a bit of a biking rogue. "I'm one of those crazy bikers you see running over people," he laughed. "That's what I've become."
Both students have become participants in extracurricular activities and campus clubs, as well. Moss is playing intramural co-rec volleyball, and has joined or looked into the Entrepreneurship Club, Gymnastics Club, and Ski and Snowboarding Club. He also hopes to partake in some trips or activities through the Center for Outdoor Recreation Adventure.
Evenson was about to attend her first meeting of the College Republicans and also is interested in a new organization, Students for Traditional Family Values.
And both seem quite happy with their social lives. Evenson appears downright giddy when she talks of her life at the sorority house, and Moss has made a lot of friends, too. Though not a teetotaler, Moss has encountered the drinking culture, part of nearly all college campuses, and it has made him think. "On the weekends, when everyone else is [seemingly] drinking," said Moss, "there's that 'What am I supposed to do?' feeling."
Evenson had her own reflection on how her life has changed since staring at the U. "You know how people always say college is so much different than high school? It's not," she said. "The main difference is, people act older but they're really immature still. In high school, people are immature and just don't bother pretending that they're not."