Every student feels anxious adjusting to the new school year, but for in- coming freshmen, beginning school can be almost traumatic. New college students have many concerns occupying their mind: Are classes going to be difficult? Will professors be interesting? How will they find friends?Although everyone has insecurities, it can be very difficult for freshmen to let go of their insecurities.
In fact, making friends at college seems to be the greatest concern for in- coming freshmen. As a self-proclaimed people-person, Brenna Beluk, a fresh- men living in DaSilva, has made numerous attempts at finding friends in her dorm. Whether it’s knocking on each door in her hall to introduce herself or mischievously knocking on random suite windows to get attention, Beluk seizes every opportunity to socialize with other students.
“I was the only kid from my high school to go to St. John’s. I hope I can make friends, but if not, I have 6 million people in New York to make friends with,” said Beluk from Norwalk, Connecticut.
Even for commuter students or students from the local area who already have friends at St. John’s, making new friends is an important matter. Sammy Geffen already knows many students at St. John’s from his local Bayside High School. Yet, even he has been pro active in making new friends. “In every class, I talk to whoever I sit next to. I’m just that type of guy that is not afraid to talk to people,” said Geffen.
Another concern for the freshmen is adjusting from a high school to a college schedule. Instead of being in class all day, the freshmen must adjust to having breaks between classes.
Geffen has learned to use his downtime successfully. St. John’s offers many places for his friends to meet between classes.
Whether it’s sitting in the D’Angelo Center, eating in Marillac, or walking across the street to Barnes & Noble or Coldstone, Geffen will never get bored with the options around campus.
As a dormer, Beluk has a difficult time adjusting to her new schedule.
“I’m so used to having my 7:30 to 2:15 schedule,” said Beluk.
“My biggest problem right now is learning how to cope with freedom. I have to learn to do an assignment or some homework instead of just watching TV between downtimes.”
Joanna Tam, another freshman commuter at St. John’s, has been spending her downtime between classes by attending events on campus. She loves to play basketball with her friends during open- gym at Taffner Field House. She also joined the flag football team upon being recruited at the St. John’s Fest.
Beluk, Geffen, and Tam agreed that St. John’s has numerous events to keep them occupied throughout the day. How- ever, Beluk admits that her greatest battle is choosing which events are worth her time to attend.
“Sometimes the events will be a let- down. I had high expectations for the foam party. But now that I know that I enjoyed the volleyball games, I learned to put my expectations in the sporting events instead,” said Beluk.
Beluk, like many out-of-state students, is most interested in exploring the metropolitan area. Despite moving in less than a week ago, Beluk has already traveled to Manhattan three times and is enthusiastically planning her next visit to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“When I was applying for schools, it was about how close I can get to New York City,” said Beluk. “I have high expectations for New York City so I’ve had to calm down out of fantasy world and realize that this is still college.”
For students outside of the metropolitan area, the required Discover New York classes keep them entertained while giving the students valuable information about the city. The class, proclaimed as a “living textbook,” provides students with many fieldtrips to experience New York and encourages the student body to explore the city on their own.
“I really like the concept of the class,” said Beluk. “Any reason to go into the city is a good excuse for me.”
As for the other classes, Beluk, Geffen, and Tam agree that they are anxious for their new classes. Tam who is a pharmacy student admitted that her chemistry class is her biggest concern this semester.
“I just had my first chemistry class and it was very confusing to me,” admits Tam. “But then I had a recitation class after which helped.”
Geffen has tried to develop a personal relationship with his professors to help him with his classes this semester.
“I try to talk to my professors after class and ask them questions,” said Geffen. “All my professors are very friendly and they seem to really care.”
Whether it’s asking for a clarification on the syllabus or answering a simplequestion from the homework, Geffen advises other students to utilize their professors for help.
He also encourages freshmen to be- come proactive with their future and use organizations to help them prepare for their desired careers.
“I talked to Dr. Zimmerman over the summer about getting into medical school. He told me that I should take an advanced chemistry class and helped me take a placement test for the class,” said Geffen.
Whether it’s reaching out to professors, directors at the school, or even freshmen advisors, Beluk, Geffen, and Tam spoke highly of the support they had been given thus far.
“I always e-mail [my freshmen advisor] with whatever question and she points me in the right direction. It’s nice to have another person as a resource,” said Tam.
Although beginning a new school year can be difficult, by utilizing the resources given by the university, Beluk, Geffen, and Tam are confident they will succeed.