The first few weeks of college in your first year are hard. They are even harder for the Class of 2024. But, as always, we eventually find comfort, connection or familiarity somewhere.

Look out for stories about first-year ‘shock’ from a few of our newest writers:


“10:15?” Peyton asked.

I had just woken up. I stared blankly at my phone screen and began to type a response. 

Somehow, it was Aug. 19, I was surrounded by the contents of my dorm room, and I was still in Webster Groves, Mo.

My best friend Peyton’s semester at Depaul University was canceled. She has dreamt of living in the city for as long as we can remember, but Chicago will have to wait.

We spent our very first week of college cooped up in Peyton’s attic, often sitting silently for hours as we worked side by side.

Soon enough, Peyton’s kitchen became the dining hall, her dog our RA and her backyard the quad.

For lunch, we tried to stay on campus but always made an exception for Shake Shack.

As the school day came to a close, we’d lay on the floor, skin warm and sticky against one another, beside a speed box fan. Despite the school year’s start, the attic was still submerged in summer. We’d waste time burgeoning our jealousy for friends at school.

After swearing off attending the same schools, yet now new, involuntary roommates, this setup wasn’t so bad after all.

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“Maybe we would actually get along in college,” we laughed.

By the time I’d leave, we will have driven around every square inch of this city, listened to every song in our music libraries and tried every snow cone and custard in town. We will have learned 20 more TikTok dances, written 10 more essays and know each other’s siblings that much more. We will continue to walk into each other’s households unannounced and buy gas just to waste it. Our favorite coffee shop will know our orders by heart. 

Being new roommates, we thought aspects of our friendship could never change, but we’d never imagined they’d mature for the better.

Although I am itching to go to Oxford, I will leave part of myself here with Peyton.

In a season of unknowns, there is nothing more comforting than the constant of each other.

I wondered if the desk she set up for me the first morning I came will stay empty once I go. Knowing Peyton, it’ll soon be home to empty burger containers, but that’s just the way I would have wanted it.

I pressed send.

“Just like yesterday!” I replied. And the day after that, and after that, and every day until Sept. 16.

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