Fun, interesting, hard, rewarding, and challenging: these are the most frequent responses of 697 students from five institutions at the end of a first programming course. Student experience with introductory programming courses is of interest to the computing education community, especially due to continued decreases in enrollments in computing degree programs. In this study, we explore one direct approach to document students' initial attitudinal experiences with programming by asking them to complete an open-ended question at the end of a first programming course. Based on content-analysis of students' responses, we find that nearly 50% of responses were positive in nature, there is significant difference in the responses of majors and non-majors, and that response characteristics correlate to earned grade in the course. We present preliminary, but inconclusive evidence on the impact of context (e.g., gaming or media computation) in a first programming course. Finally, we propose a multiple-choice question based on the most common student responses for large-scale deployment in computing courses and identify key contextual information that will inform future analysis of that data.