In the Midst of Uncertainty, First-Years Brittany Mclarty and Charles Reisner Look Forward with Optimism

By Ruby Van Dyk || Editor-in-Chief

First-years Brittany Mclarty (left) and Charles Reisner (right). Photo courtesy of the subjects.

Incoming first-years Brittany Mclarty and Charles Reisner have different backgrounds and interests, but when I asked them what they were looking forward to they both discussed the chance for a new start filled with new possibilities. For Brittany, who is originally from Jamaica but now lives in Brooklyn, New York, the fresh start is more focused on community. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, listening to new opinions, and learning about their experiences,” said Brittany. Charles is from Ellicott City Maryland and said he was most excited about the individuality of college  “I’m looking forward to being independent. To find out more about who I am.” 

Brittany was drawn to the small campus community aspect of Franklin and Marshall. “I like the fact that each person helps each other and the community is close.” A valedictorian, Brittany attended a large high school, and decided she was looking for a small college where interactions with professors were prioritized. Because of COVID-19, she was unable to visit campus, but feels confident that she’ll like it. “I’m good at adapting to my surroundings.” Brittany is interested in bringing her leadership skills to campus, and is planning on joining the African Caribbean Association. 

Charles was able to visit campus three times. He first heard about F&M from his Dad, who thought it’d be a good fit. He liked what F&M had to offer in terms of a liberal arts education, and was able to speak to Professor Crawford in the Astronomy Department about his interest in studying astronomy. Charles plans on joining the orchestra, in which he will play violin. 

Both Brittany and Charles have an interest in athletics. Brittany grew up playing netball, a sport similar to basketball but with no dribbling and backboard. “I grew up playing it. When I came to America I joined a club.” Both her mom and grandma used to play as well. Charles is a runner, and is planning on joining the Cross Country team this fall. He’ll participate in training even though the team won’t be competing within it’s usual conference. 

Both students discussed the difficult nature of graduating high school and starting college during a pandemic. “It’s been really weird” said Charles “It’s obviously been different, and it’s what our class will be known for, which is surreal.” Brittany said she is nervous about what campus will be like amidst the pandemic. “I’m nervous about wearing a mask 24/7 and remote learning.” She said.

But in the midst of uncertainty, I was struck by Brittany and Charles optimism. Both students are determined to make the best of their first-year in the midst of obstacles. Brittany’s aunt who she lived with passed away this past spring. “It’s been a bit tough. But, I’m really looking forward to being at F&M.” 

Charles acknowledged the fact that many freshmen across the country won’t be going back to school in person at all: “I’m really grateful that I’m going to get an in person experience for at least part of it. I’m grateful for F&M.”

Senior Ruby Van Dyk is Editor-in-Chief. Her email is rvandyk@fandm.edu.

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