The first week: A freshman’s rite of passage

Post memes/ Flickr

Post memes/ Flickr

Emnit Bierga
 Staff Writer

Can you remember how afraid you were to be a freshman in college?

Every year, students start college with their own preconceived ideas about what college should be like for them.

So, what better way to understand how the new incoming freshmen at UNCG are feeling than to interview a couple of them?

The first interview was with a young man named Samuel Hanney, a music education major.

Before starting college, he was under the impression that everything would be all hard work and no play.

Hanney was worried that he would have so much work that he wouldn’t have time to do the things he enjoyed like practicing his instruments.

But even after the second day of school, he came to realize that there were plenty of activities to do, even for someone like him who lives off campus.

Many people believe that living off campus means missing out on things that people on campus have access to, but Hanney explained that if you are lucky enough to have professors that tell you about opportunities, being a commuter will not hold you back.

Hanney also described how having many other ways to find out about activities on campus, like the CAP website, is helpful.

Maryamawit Mulugeta, the second freshman interviewee, on the other hand, believes that living on campus gives you better accessibility to clubs and organizations.

Mulugeta fears that students who stay off campus are less likely to participate and miss out on some opportunities.

In fact, she found that living on campus is enjoyable and not as horrible as she initially thought on her first day.

“I thought that I would need a filter for the tap water and stuff,” said Mulugeta.

Another misconception she had before coming to college was that she had to know exactly what she wanted to major in because people told her that if she didn’t know her major coming in, she wouldn’t be able to graduate on time or accomplish what she wanted.

Hanney said he chose to come to UNCG because a lot of his high school teachers recommended the university to him, mainly because he is a music major and because he personally believes UNCG has the best music program in North Carolina. This and his general interest in UNCG is what gave him the last push of certainty to make his final decision on the school.

Mulugeta, on the other hand, explained that she chose UNCG because: “The tuition is good and it’s not too far from [my] home; also, the campus has a lot of history and it’s beautiful.”

Transitioning from a high school setting to a college classroom is a drastic change; however, Hanney explained that having larger classes are not as intimidating as he thought because he actually enjoys his classes and its mix of people, which allows classroom discussions to be more interesting.

Unlike high school, where you have to wait to get your next assignment, having a course syllabus in college is something Hanney enjoys as he has all of his assignments laid out and he is able to schedule out his time.

However, Hanney did say he found that scheduling, the add and drop process and finding buildings, are rather confusing. As the year goes on, he is confident that these challenges will fade.

In contrast, Mulugeta explained that she likes the schedule process because she can see what she needs in order to graduate up front and she has more options when it comes to the classes she needs to take.

She said she enjoys lecture classes provided she can connect to professors who are passionate about what they are teaching.

“Discussion could be harder because of the size of the classroom as well as the fact that a lot of people have that high school mentality where they’re afraid to raise their hand,” Mulugeta said, specifying that otherwise she didn’t find lecture settings to be limiting.

“You are expected to do the work if you care about your grade, and unlike high school, professors won’t be on your tail about it,” Mulugeta said.

She expressed that the workload in college is more manageable because classes are shorter, so you have more time outside of class to do work but you also have to balance your time.

She likes the extra time she has in between classes to study rather than staying up late at night to study.

By the end of freshman year, both Mulugeta and Hanney want to get involved on campus with different organizations and stick with them.

Hanney specifically would like to grow in his knowledge about the instruments he plays and learn about different cultures involving them—he wants to know how everyone around the world relates to the music he is most passionate about.

Categories: Emnit Birega, Features, Human Interest

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