When I was awarded a spot in Seventeen Magazine’s Freshman 15 (a group 15 girls chosen from around the country to document their college experiences), I was ecstatic — but unsure how my participation would be received on campus. After all, I thought, Grinnell College students read The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Mother Earth News, not Seventeen. For Seventeen, I produce weekly written and video blogs, answer reader questions, and occasionally get featured in the magazine. When I first saw my name on the glossy pages, I figured no one would care. I was wrong. Classmates and even strangers tell me it’s “so cool!” to see me in the magazine. They are eager to hear more about my job, and they enthusiastically pose for pictures ... when I beg them to. Writing for Seventeen is hard work, but it’s never a chore because I’m never at a loss for an amazing story to tell about Grinnell.

Off the record, the Freshman 15 have a Facebook thread where we share personal stories about our lives at college. Many are having the “typical” college experience. They go to fraternity parties. They enroll in lectures they can easily skip because professors don’t know their names. They cheer for their schools in arenas packed with thousands of fans. But the truth is, they aren’t all happy. I, on the other hand, have climbed through a friendly stranger’s room to the rooftop to see the beautiful Iowa moon; I’ve discussed Frankenstein over Chinese takeout in my professor’s living room; and I’ve picnicked under the oak tree on Mac Field with my roommate, sharing my pretzels and my dreams. That’s my college experience, and I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

Samantha Schwartz '14 is a future Psychology Major from Lawrence, KS.

Samantha Schwartz '14...

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