At the beginning of this semester, freshmen were eager to settle into the last segment of their first year of college. Now that the academic year is coming to a close, they are eager to pack their bags and move out, preparing for an early start to summer. Before they go, many students find themselves reflecting on their time as freshmen.
First-year students have learned so much about themselves, especially about how they fair in the college academic environment. Mike Delano said that even when things don’t work out, you should not stress. Just recognize that you tried your best all the way through and be confident in the efforts that you have put in.
Another skill that first-year students have learned to pick up is time management, which most have realized is a critical part of completing work in college. Chris Ruppert acknowledged that students should not wait to do assignments at the last minute, but rather do them as they come.
Nick Polinsky also attested to the importance of the skill, saying, “It’s important to not get bogged down by the number of classes and number of clubs that you are in.”
Many freshmen acknowledged that friendships are a crucial part of surviving college. It might seem hard to make friends at first, but students encounter so many types of people in college that it makes sense that finding those you will become close to is an adjustment process. Angela Ferguson-Martins attests to making new friends not being a one-and-done action.
“The biggest takeaway from this year was definitely learning to cope with a lot of different personalities. We were all thrown into this situation at once, and we had to figure out what types of personalities worked for us and who would be best fit to be our friends,” she said.
Freshmen acknowledged that another huge learning experience they had to adjust to was living with other people in a dorm. For many students, this is the first time that they have lived with other people outside of those in their immediate families. It can be difficult to get along with people you live with at times, but Tommy DeMarco affirms that it is rewarding in the end. It may be easier to deal with those who you live with by making other friends in different settings, as you will then not have to spend all of your time with the same group of people.
Kaitlyn O’Connor said, “Make friends in your classes and who live in other dorms. You definitely want to make other friends besides the people that you live with.”
Forming new friendships definitely has its benefits, but trying to do so can be a scary experience. However, it is important to push through these fears and take the steps to bond with others anyway. Alyssa Grant clarified this, explaining that comfort is not always a guarantee at first.
“You need to be uncomfortable in social situations in order to get comfortable with the people around you,” she said.
This concept is always emphasized to students upon entering college, but freshmen can now really attest to the benefits of getting involved. RWU has many clubs and organizations available for students to join, each of which fosters a distinct community where students can share their passions and make new friends.
Devyn Smith said, “You make cool friends, and you get to meet cool people. CEN gave me the opportunity to meet A$AP Ferg, 3OH!3, and Pete Davidson during Spring Week, and that was incredible."
Discovering different aspects of Bristol is another learning experience that freshmen had this year. Emma Rasmussen described her newfound love for a venue that she did not know about previously; now that she has knowledge of it, she loves to visit while she is here at school.
“Colt State Park is beautiful. I had never heard of it but now that the weather is nice I love going there with my friends, and will definitely continue going next year,” she said.
Overall, many freshmen at RWU have experienced a first year full of new responsibilities and relationships that have made profound impacts on their lives. Looking forward, soon to be rising sophomores are excited to embark on their next step in college and to implement all of the knowledge that they have gained this year.