Change is difficult. This is especially difficult when students move out of their homes and leave their parents with whom they have lived with for their whole life. When they go to college, they are expected to move in with a stranger.
Sometimes it is tough for new students to get accommodated to such change. Dean Violanti, or Dean V, is the head of the first stop, where many freshmen go for help for tutoring, general questions, or just someone to talk to.
“I think there are several different things that come up as challenges for new FY students in their first year of college,” Violanti said. “I think it’s different for every student but here are some of the things I have observed in my own experience and in the time I have worked with FY students.
- Academic integration: For some FY students, adjusting to the expectations of college level academic work can be challenging. The workload is typically higher and more demanding than what students may be used to from the high school level. Students sometimes find it difficult to manage the workload and work closely with faculty to meet goals.
- Time and workload management: The management of scheduling, time and day to day scheduling is challenging for some FY students. For most students, college is the first time they are managing their lives (personal, social and academic) independently. Because of these challenges, students may run into some hurdles in staying organized, staying focused and meeting their academic and personal goals.
- Maintaining Wellness and Balance: The first year of college can be a big adjustment so students can have challenges in maintaining a good level of wellness across the board. Wellness includes things such as getting enough sleep, exercise, making good nutritional choices, managing stress, and practicing positive self-care. If Wellness is affected in a negative way, that may also affect a student’s ability to perform academically.
- Connecting to support and resources on campus: Another big challenge in the first year is learning how to navigate a new community and culture. This can include building relationships with new people from diverse backgrounds and also connecting to support and resources to support a healthy transition to college. Students are not always aware of all the help and support on campus so may not know where to go or who to ask when they are feeling lost or overwhelmed. Some students also struggle with reaching out and asking for support, even if they do know where to go. It can be difficult to ask as they may feel like they can do it alone or are embarrassed to connect with a faculty or staff member on campus.
- Financial management: Being new to college may also present challenges to students in understanding the financial aid process and policies, managing personal budgets, finding ways to finance education and also identifying employment on or off campus. These pieces can be very overwhelming for students and can be very confusing.
There are additional challenges that come up for students, but these are some of the main ones I have seen in my time working in colleges.”
After getting some insight on what Dean Violanti thinks, the Free Press went and asked some freshman about some of the things that they would change about their school if they could.
“Most definitely, what I would change is have the dining hall and freshman dorms upgraded,” Corey Van Huff said.
“What I would change about the school is change the hours in Glar because I want to be able to eat later in the day, and I also would fix the leaks that the glass room in it has,” Imani Jackson said.
“I would love to have a new place to eat, because sometimes I just want more options than the Pub,” Sarah Kirk said.
“What I would change is that I want to have lunch be open on the weekends and fix the water quality here at the school,” Sarah Zaccaria said.