Digital Diaries Episode 1: Adjusting to Northwestern

Erica Schmitt, Assistant Audio Editor



With Fall Quarter starting, the first episode of Digital Diaries asks two students what the hardest thing about adjusting to Northwestern is.


ERICA SCHMITT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt and this is episode 1 of the new and improved Daily’s Digital Diaries, a weekly podcast following what students are doing and asking two students one question about life at Northwestern.

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ERICA SCHMITT: This week’s question is: What’s the hardest thing about adjusting to Northwestern?

ERICA SCHMITT: Bienen senior Alex Caroll thought back to freshman year.

ALEX CAROLL: I would say a lot of my issues personally going into Northwestern had to do with time management. The message, I think, is to the high schoolers — especially people that I think are getting into Northwestern and end up going — is, “Do everything you can, right? Be involved in clubs,” you know — do this, do that.

ALEX CAROLL: So that was something that was always drilled into my head, is just do everything you can. When I got here, I did the same thing, and that really quickly kind of collapsed. I didn’t do a dual degree my first year technically, but I was taking classes as if I were just to try it out. Then on top of that, I was doing a couple pit orchestras. The jazz club on campus, I was part of the beginnings of that.

ALEX CAROLL: I think it’s a good mindset to be a go-getter and, you know, really strive to challenge yourself. But I think I would have enjoyed, like okay, let’s wait until the dust settles before adding another thing. Being able to say no to opportunities at times — it’s really tough because there’s so many cool things. But for me, yeah, that was my challenge. That was the biggest one.

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ERICA SCHMITT: Meanwhile, McCormick freshman Evan Bertis-Sample just got started on campus but was involved in NU’s Summer Academic Workshop program, or SAW, a three-week writing program intended for first-generation, low-income students on campus.

EVAN BERTIS-SAMPLE: I made a lot of friends there because we had so many similar backgrounds. But, the moment that Wildcat Welcome started, I saw a lot of division, like classism, and all that stuff.

EVAN BERTIS-SAMPLE: As a part of Wildcat Welcome, we went and had like this talk about campus inclusion. They asked certain questions about our demographics and stuff. We stood up for if you were a first-gen student, and I stood up and then no one around me stood up. But I wasn’t expecting like eight, nine percent to be first-gen.

EVAN BERTIS-SAMPLE: I was living in this bubble with SAW, thinking, “Yeah, there’s a lot of us, there’s a lot of people.” It was an activity that was meant to be inclusive, but I left feeling not included, and that has carried over with the people that I’ve met. I’ve found them really hard to relate to.


ERICA SCHMITT: Do you have any advice for students on campus?

ALEX CAROLL: Take a day off, don’t blame yourself for it because you need it. It’s like literally impossible to go every day working — eventually, you will just burn out. Trust that you can take a day off, trust yourself with that, and find a group of people that you can really enjoy that with, whether that be going to like a concert or even just going out to dinner.

ALEX CAROLL: So don’t take my advice, or anyone’s advice, as like the gospel in a way. Take it as just something to consider.

EVAN BERTIS-SAMPLE: Definitely find a community — join clubs, join organizations. If you have the opportunity, definitely join a summer program, especially if it’s for your demographic because you make some really good friends that way.

ERICA SCHMITT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Erica Schmitt. Thanks for listening to episode 1 of the Daily’s Digital Diaries. This episode was reported and produced by me. The Audio Editor of The Daily Northwestern is Lawrence Price, the Digital Managing Editor is Angeli Mittal and the Editor-in-chief is Jacob Fulton. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear next week’s episode on Monday.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @eschmitt318

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