Dear diary: New students keep video journals of first days on campus

For third year, first-year students record a second of video a day

For the third straight year, The Source has asked first-year students at Washington University in St. Louis to capture a second of video every day as they begin their college careers. 

Here, Connor Seger, of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Elizabeth Joseph, of the Beyond Boundaries interdisciplinary program, and Roberto Cabrera-Castro, of Olin Business School, capture the sights and sounds of  log rolling at the Sumers Rec Center, St. Louis Cardinals baseball at Busch Stadium and sunsets in Forest Park. 

Connor Seger

What are your first impressions of the Sam Fox School? 

I love how collaborative and open the atmosphere here is. For instance, my drawing teacher (Ed Kinsella) focuses on the fundamentals, but he doesn’t want us to lose our own natural drawing style. I feel that is different from other schools that focus on making everything look realistic. On the first day he said to us, “’Feel free to mess up and learn’ and ‘photorealism isn’t everything.’”  I wrote those words in my sketchbook.  

Why are you drawn to design? 

I really like the idea of using design to solve problems — whether it’s communication design, graphic design or fashion design. Right now, I’m really into the idea of sustainable fashion. People dismiss the big impact the fashion industry has on climate change. They think, “Oh, it’s just clothes.” But I believe that anything can be designed better, whether that means more efficiently or more sustainably. I almost view it as a math or science problem in my art. 

What is the hardest part about college? 

It can be hard to prioritize. My readings are always the thing that get pushed back. In my mind I’m always like, ‘Should I do my reading or would I rather go outside on this beautiful day and draw?” 

Elizabeth Joseph

Why did you decide to apply to WashU?

When I toured it, I really liked it because, in all honesty, I picked up a strong nerdy vibe. I was like, ‘Ah. These are my people.’

How did you find out about Beyond Boundaries, the new interdisciplinary program for first-year students?

When I toured, they mentioned a “fifth school” for interdisciplinary studies, and that really interested me. One of my favorite parts of the program has been “Eat, Drink, Learn,” where we give three-slide presentations. I talked about why “Spy Kids” is  art, and someone presented on how “Ratatouille” is gay-coded and someone else presented a theory on how North Dakota doesn’t exist. Ultimately, the program is about looking at your life in ways that aren’t so rigid. 

What do you like best about college? 

The most fun comes in the unplanned, unstructured moments, like when we had a surprise birthday party for a guy on the floor. It was cool because we had only been here for a month, but here we all were together celebrating this new friend.

What I didn’t expect was the amount of alone time I have. One of the things you hear about college is that everyone is around each other all of the time. But that’s not the case. Not that that is bad. But it has reminded me that you still have to be pro-active in making friendships. 

Roberto Cabrera-Castro

How did you learn about WashU? 

My mother, my aunt and my uncle all have studied here, and my uncle was one of the first Rodriguez Scholars. So I applied to be one, too. But I still wasn’t convinced  to come to WashU until I came here for finalists weekend. Meeting the other Rod’s gave me a sense of the family in the program and the support system I would have here. 

Has it been hard to adjust to life away from home? 

My roommate is also a Rod, and our suite mates are the perfect fit. We get meals together and hang out together. When I got here, I just felt immediately at home. But then there are times when I’m walking up the stairs to my room and I’m like, “Where am I? Am I in college?” 

Why did you choose Olin Business School? 

In high school, I took my first finance class. I was like, “Wow, I love this.” I’m a math guy, and Olin really seemed like a place where I could build my knowledge. So far, it’s been a lot of work. They’ve thrown us into the content, but I feel like the professors and TAs are a great help. And every week we have different experts and professors talk to us about different aspects of business. I came here planning to study finance or accounting, but I’ve really liked being exposed to different fields and am open to going into another area.  

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