The First Year of College

Although each student handles the transition to college life differently, most students face certain common challenges, especially during the first year. The following timeline provides a general summary of freshman-year experiences.


  • Saying goodbye to family, friends, and pets.
  • Feeling excitement and/or fear of new experiences.
  • Learning to live with someone new.


  • Feeling homesickness; managing long-distance relationships.
  • Figuring out class and time management.
  • Settling into a schedule.
  • Experiencing doubts about keeping up the pace.


  • Coping with academic realities — midterms, papers.
  • Developing friendships on campus.
  • Selecting classes for next quarter.
  • Going home for Thanksgiving — with different expectations of home.


  • Enduring finals week, when all academic work is due, and there is no slack time.
  • Dealing with questions about Christmas — making time for friends, family, gifts, traditions.
  • Reuniting at home with family and friends; having time away from SPU friends.
  • Enjoying time to sleep, and time to reflect on Autumn Quarter.


  • Reuniting with SPU friends.
  • Readjusting to SPU after Christmas Break.
  • Participating in Homecoming Weekend (where families are welcome).
  • Longing for sunshine. (“Will spring ever come?”)


  • Celebrating Valentine’s Day.
  • Registering for Spring Quarter.
  • Coping with midwinter blues.
  • Finding new ways to balance academics and social life.


  • Pushing to get it all done.
  • Taking finals and turning in papers on time.
  • Planning for Spring Break.


  • Starting a new quarter.
  • Planning for next year. (“What major will I choose? Where will I live?”)
  • “What will I do this summer?”


  • Choosing classes for next year.
  • Experiencing the beauty and wonder of springtime in Seattle.


  • Preparing for the end-of-the-year transitions.
  • Taking finals and turning in papers on time.
  • Saying good-byes and returning home.
Jenny Kim

Transfer Students:
Welcome Home!

What makes SPU what it is? The community. I attended another university for my first two quarters, but then transferred to SPU for Spring Quarter, and I felt so welcomed!

Jenny Kim
SPU Senior

Learn Some SPU Lingo

ASSPAssociated Students of Seattle Pacific (student government)

CISComputer and Information Systems: where to go with computer and network questions

Falcon: School mascot (The Falconstudent newspaper)

Gwinn: Campus dining hall

Martin SquarePaved, open area in the center of campus

Tiffany Loop (“The Loop”): Circular driveway and grassy area with big, beautiful trees just outside the SUB