Friday, April 29, 2016

The First Year at Macalester

As we are slowly approaching the final weeks of the second semester we are marking the end of the first year at Macalester for the Class of 2019. This is often a time of reflection for the newest members of the college so read along as the first years Pietro Tardelli from Brazil and Abigail de Rancourt from France share their look back at their experiences. 

Tina Esmail ‘19

Global Ambassador Coordinator

Ophir Gillad and Pietro Tardelli

My first semester at Macalester was intense. From orientation to the last day of classes, I don't think there was a single day where I didn't lay in bed thinking “Wow, I did a lot today”. Right from the start with PO4IS (Pre-Orientation For International Students) I felt welcomed. People were willing to talk to me, ask questions and actually tried to get to know me, independent of which year they were or where they came from. Many of the friendships I formed on those few awkward days are the ones I cherish almost a year later. Mac provided me the perfect academic environment, where I was (and still am) encouraged to discuss and reflect upon everything I learned. I was particularly excited about my First-Year Course, “Creatures and Curiosities”, where I not only got the chance to meet a professor extremely passionate and knowledgeable about her subject but also to explore a topic I was very interested in, which actually led me to choose my current major. Mac gave me all the tools and guidance I needed to have a smooth new start and I’m really looking forward to all the semesters to come!

Pietro Tardelli ‘19

Ceren, Yangdon, Tina, Abigail and Vergi
As an international first year at Macalester College, my first semester was challenging and filled with growth. Pre-orientation and orientation enabled the spark of new relationships, bound from all horizons, as well as a thorough introduction to the College’s mission and values. The environment I had chosen to be a part of is certainly fit for the vast development of my identity and person. In saying this, I do not exclude the academic rigor Macalester offers.

I arrived convinced that I would double-major in Neuroscience and Studio Arts, perhaps minor in Educational Studies and eventually add in a few languages. The array of departments that exist would have enabled me to do so, but the intensity of the courses helps me to focus my interests into a field that I am most passionate about. Having said this, I have discovered the art of ceramics, challenging myself as an artist; I have explored theatre within the Twin Cities, partaking in thorough discussions of issues within the region; I have come to understand the multitude of dimensions involved in education and its role in international development; and I have come in touch with the fundamentals of psychology, a field that has sparked my interest for the brain and the mind.

Finally, my first semester here has exposed me to the myriad of spaces available. Friends have made my ease into the community much more exciting and enjoyable. The open and liberal mindset has allowed me to question and become aware of surrounding issues and learn to be inclusive in my discussion about them. The experiences I have had, and the ones that are yet to come, have gone far beyond my expectations. It is slowly, but surely, becoming a new home!

Abigail de Rancourt ‘19