First-year, first semester: new students offer insight to on-campus life for Fall 2022
A table of first-year students eating lunch in the Hamilton "Ham" Center, shortly after fall classes first began. Photo taken by Brynn Halpern.

First-year, first semester: new students offer insight to on-campus life for Fall 2022

First-year students have started their college experiences this academic year with a constant stream of tropical storms and at the tail-end of a pandemic. With the misaligned syllabi and stressful schedules, it seemed like the end of this semester wasn’t in sight for first-timers here at New College. However, these students are ready to come forward and share their experiences with the Catalyst detailing their struggles, achievements and words of affirmation to themselves and others. 

The time after fall break is always a stress-inducing experience for college students, with the cramming of content in the last three weeks of classes and the weight of responsibilities that comes with the impending final assignments. First-year Anna Lazzara offered her reaction to the Catalyst

“The storms caused some stress for me academically, because it felt like everything was pushed until the end of term which caused me to feel overwhelmed,” Lazzara said when asked about how the misaligned class schedule this semester affected her academic progress.

However, New College advertises an abundance of on-campus resources in order to support struggling students. Some examples include the center for Career Engagement & Opportunity (CEO), the Writing Resource Center (WRC) and the Student Success Center (SSC). First-year Amirah Harris discussed her experiences with the WRC and how this resource benefited her success.

“The WRC was so helpful when I had to write papers that were both very long and complicated to write,” Harris said. “They also were a great second set of eyes, just so I had someone else to read over my papers.” 

The ability to utilize this resource reportedly balanced out the stress of the semester with constructive criticism on papers, a cozy environment and snacks for students who may need a word of advice from staff. 

Even though college-level classes can be difficult, there are lots of talented professors and instructors who prompt students to learn new things and experiment with their personal interests. New College’s grade evaluation method allowed new students to go outside the box and take courses that may be a change of pace. First-year Nate Konuch and prospective Psychology Area of Concentration (AOC) spoke about the classes that surprised him this semester. 

“I loved the class Stories and Scripts with Glenn Schudel,” Konuch said. “I learned many things about the intricacies of writing I didn’t expect.”

First-year students have moved from all over the country to attend New College, and the adjustment to residential life can be frightening at first. Dorming away from friends and family tends to be an experience filled with doubt and misdirection for the first few weeks. First-year Emily McGoogan reminisced on these experiences and detailed the personal moments that she shared with her colleagues, neighbors and close friends. 

“My absolute favorite memory has to be the first time that I hung out with my new friends since moving on campus from Pennsylvania,” McGoogan said. “We were all on the balcony sharing vulnerable moments with each other and saying how glad we were to have found a community on campus. “I am still friends with them today!”

First years are one step closer to walking the graduation stage, and seem to be both resilient to change and optimistic. A new class schedule, an Independent Study Project (ISP) and new experiences await them after a restful winter break.

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