The care and keeping of pre-frosh: Student advises hosts for Previews

On Wednesday and Thursday, the College will be invaded by the most curious, ambitious and excitable type of creature known in the Purple Valley: the pre-frosh. Williams Previews invites admitted students of the Class of 2018 to the campus to begin their search for a home this fall. Some current first- years have already accepted the opportunity of hosting these pre-frosh in beds, cots, chairs and whatever other types of furniture they have decided are suitable for sleeping. Because we, as first- years, are often a lot more clueless than we would like to think, here is a guide of do’s and don’ts that should help you keep your pre-frosh alive and well.

This is likely your pre-frosh’s most immersive college experience to date, so it’s important to give them a positive view of academic life at the College. Do invite your pre-frosh to all of your classes. However, don’t prepare for class by waking up five minutes before it starts, spraying on some Axe and gnawing on a stick of gum while you sprint up Mission Hill. To be honest, your professor is probably annoyed by you hobbling into class looking disheveled and out-of-breath, and your pre-frosh will be too. Arrive early enough to introduce your new friend to your professor before class begins and you may be able to give your pre-frosh a cool classroom experience, while earning some much-needed brownie points in that class that you have been skipping.

If you are more of a Div. III person and your pre-frosh plans to major in art history, it’s best to ask your friends if they have any classes related to your pre-frosh’s interests. Don’t be disappointed if your pre-frosh is not into physics like you are – your job is to let him or her experience all the College has to offer, not to begin recruiting future tutorial partners and problem set buddies.

If your pre-frosh is the athletic type, do introduce him or her to friends on teams that your prefrosh may want to join. If he or she is interested in your own sport, you may ask the coaches if he or she is allowed to tag along, but don’t push it. You shouldn’t be trying to recruit your pre-frosh to come to the College just to add some much-needed strength or speed to your team (they’re not pieces of meat). Yes, everyone should walk-on to the men’s crew team, but save the recruiting spiel for First Days.

Once you have planned out your pre-frosh’s fun-filled day, you should put some effort into making a nice place for him or her to spend the night. Clean up your bedroom and your common areas – and by that I mean don’t just clear enough walking space for your guest to stand motionless in the middle of your room. If the floor is dirty, sticky or buried beneath empty bowls of ramen (and it definitely is), then muster up some elbow grease and take this opportunity to do a bit of spring cleaning. Your pre-frosh knows that college students aren’t the neatest of groups, but try to protect them from the harsh reality of your living space until they themselves are the ones with a month-old pile of laundry rotting in their room.

When it comes time to sleep, your pre-frosh’s options should not include your bed, your entrymate’s bed or any bed that is being used by another person. Seriously, don’t sleep with your pre-frosh, or anyone else’s pre-frosh, and don’t let anyone sleep with yours. It does not matter if a pre-frosh “totally gets you” or “is cute in a special and unique way.” You are wrong. It will be an awkward morning, and your pre-frosh may not come to the College just to avoid the weirdness of ever running into you again. If your pre-frosh does end up as a first-year next fall, you are setting yourself up for three years of avoided eye contact.

On the topic of poor decision-making, try to avoid any activities that you would not want your pre-frosh’s parents to walk in on. Many of the pre-frosh are accompanied by their parents, and the College will not be high on Mom and Dad’s list if their child is returned home in any state that is less tidy, sober or clothed than the one in which he or she arrived.

Hosting a pre-frosh is a big responsibility – this kid is going to see you as a representative of the College as a whole. Do your best to provide a fun and memorable experience, but don’t feel too much pressure. Remember that you were in their shoes once, and you chose the College for a set of reasons all your own, regardless of how your own Previews host made you sleep the night in a Mission bathtub. With your help, the College can welcome a first-year class that is not only excited to join our community but is also prepared to handle all the weirdness that undertaking inevitably entails.