“I am pleased to welcome you to the St. John’s community.” It is a phrase freshmen have heard time and time again since they dropped the $100 registration fee. But do all of these welcome letters really prepare incoming students for the transition challenges that they are destined to face in the opening fall semester?
Unfortunately, that is hardly so. From navigation throughout the campus to dining, every new day poses another predicament for the greenhorn students.
One problem for freshmen living on campus, is the newfound challenge of living in close quarters with complete strangers. For most, this is a new experience and one that many have taken with hostility. While Residence Life does its best to match up roommates and suitemates, sometimes bad combinations slip through the cracks and you will see the results if you take a stroll through the residence halls.
Despite popular belief, getting around campus as a freshman isn’t as difficult as one may assume, as evidenced by freshman Sarah Armaghan.
“The buildings around campus aren’t really that hard to find,” she said, “and even if you get lost, the people here are nice enough that they will point you in the right direction.” It’s not so much that the campus size is manageable as it is that there are only so many buildings where classes are held; the indicative landmarks are also a helpful hint to get you on the right road. The campus really is not overwhelmingly large.
Another major transition hurdle is the workload that comes with the desire for higher learning. Some new students may be used to the exorbitant amount of coursework, but for the vast majority, this daunting amount of homework and in-class assignments hits you like a brick wall.
However, this particular problem is easily alleviated by the many academic support services that exist on campus.
The coursework blues also tie into something very closely related: time management. Prior to classes starting, freshman residents were brought to the St. Thomas Moore Church to be told the same message over and over again: get involved. They are absolutely right! However, the real task is balancing the schoolwork and extra-curricular activities that freshmen are so regularly urged to participate in.
Freshmen who find existing at the bottom of the totem pole absolutely unbearable can find solace in the University Freshman Center.
This message goes out to all those who have just begun their “career” here at St. John’s; the University Freshman Center is there for your benefit.
According to the school’s website, the advisors are there “to mentor and guide first-year students through their transition from high school to college.”
The first year is undoubtedly the most difficult. Freshmen have to work extra hard to adapt to the new environment. But that task is much easier to tackle if you take advantage of the resources presented to you. Why take the rocky road when you don’t have to?