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Former “Jans” Provide Advice


A group of first-year students, known affectionately as the “Jans,” are experiencing their first week on campus with the rest of the College community. Communications Office writer Molly Geisinger ’19, who was herself a Jan, spoke to three previous Jan admits who were willing to offer some advice and perspective. No matter their class year, they all agree that branching out and preparing for the weather are a must.

Describe your first experience on campus in January.

Celine Yam ’21: When I first got to campus, it was quite overwhelming. I didn’t know where things were and everything felt like it was moving at such a fast pace. But, I was very excited to finally be (here). I was a Jan who did not go to London, so I didn’t really know any of the other Jan admits. Everyone seemed pretty excited about the new students on campus and friendly when I got lost my very first day.

Jonny Hacker ’20: Coming back to campus was certainly an adjustment process. Of course, there is a noticeable change going from city life to life at a rural college campus. I definitely noticed an increase in workload and time spent studying. It was also exciting because we were a group of 40 or so students who were completely new to the campus. There was a lot to explore and a lot to learn. It happens very fast so be prepared for a busy first couple of weeks back on campus.

Karthik Ravishankar ’19: When I first got to campus, it was pretty quiet and cold (weather-wise) but there was definitely a lot of excitement from my orientation leaders and the other folks on campus who welcomed us. It was also great to see the other Jans I had spent the past few months with on the Hill with me, ready to undertake a new adventure. After orientation, it was a whirlwind of activity trying to get to know my way around and learning names of the new faces. It was a fun challenge that definitely paid off as time went on. We're lucky here at Hamilton to have a student body that, by and large, loves to welcome new people and learn their stories.

What advice would you give to the Jans who have just arrived?

CY: Don’t be afraid to branch out! Although some of my good friends are still Jans, there are a lot more people you can meet if you immerse yourself at Hamilton. It is okay to broaden your social horizons. There are so many individuals that are not Jans who share similar interests to you. Being a Jan is not your only contribution on campus.

JH: Some of the most basic and important advice I was given was to join clubs and to try and branch out from the Jan group as much as possible. Usually people on the Hill are very excited to meet the Jans, so it is not completely like being dropped in a school where everyone has already established their social groups (but be prepared for some of that, too). In the end, your fellow Jans will always be part of your social circle.

KR: Advice I would give to Jans is to be a sponge when arriving here. Don't have preconceived notions and be open to as many new experiences as you can. Most importantly, I think, is to realize you always have Jans here on campus to lean on for anything you might need to know.

What is something you wish you had known before you came to campus?

CY: It’s silly, but, I wish I had brought a plant to my dorm! Sometimes a little bit of green life in your room can be comforting in the middle of winter. But I also wish I had known that I would be meeting so many people over the course of the first few months and that it was totally okay not to remember them and accidentally re-introduce yourself to them.

JH: I wish I knew that coming back to campus after spring break does not mean that the weather will be warmer. I brought back all of my pants in exchange for shorts and that was a huge mistake. It’s usually only warm the first few weeks of school and the last few weeks of school, sadly. Also, Trivia Night at the Little Pub on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. is a great way to make new friends and have fun, so be sure to take your group of Jans to that.

KR: One thing I wish I had known the true scale of the weather. It is quite horrendous.

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