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OSLA's effort to ease first-year transitions shows

By Katelyn HarropSpecial to the Chronicle

For incoming freshmen, the first week of school is just as much about adjusting to doing laundry and sharing a room as it is about adapting to a new class schedule and workload. Summer orientation and Welcome Week eased the transition for many by offering new students the opportunity to acclimate to the campus and one another before upperclassmen arrived. Matt Passolino, a freshman at the University, found Welcome Week to be an excellent way to meet other first-years and really get to know the other students in his building. “Orientation really helped me to get adjusted to college and I thought that the move in process was well facilitated,” said Passolino. Although first year students may reside in any of the undergraduate halls throughout the campus, the majority live in Stuyvesant Hall or the Netherlands. And even though living in freshman-exclusive residence halls is slightly more expensive than standard dorm room living, it offers to new students a unique support system and a social community tailored to their needs and interests. Sophomore Keegan Bedinger is a Resident Assistant in Orange House in the all-freshman Netherlands complex. Bedinger works with other Netherlands resident staff members to plan events that foster a strong sense of community for first-years throughout the year. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else as a freshman,” Bedinger said. “There are 580 freshman living here and you can’t find that kind of community anywhere else.” The beginning of college is a time of adjustment for not only residents, but for commuters as well. Freshman Kevin Smith makes the 20-minute drive from his home each day to attend classes. Despite his geographic distance from the campus, he found that orientation and Welcome Week did an excellent job of incorporating him into the Hofstra community. “I feel like they’ve done a really good job making sure commuter students are involved with life here,” said Smith. Beyond adjusting to on-campus life, many freshman have chosen to focus their energy into getting involved in clubs and organizations during the first few weeks of school. New students, such as Lauren Curlett, visited the club fair last week to explore their latest extracurricular opportunities. “The club fair was really helpful and offered a lot of ways to get involved on campus,” said Curlett. Another freshman, Colin Adams, found the clarity of his instructors an important aspect in acclimating to a new course load. “It’s a lot different from high school,” Adams said. “The professors leave a lot of responsibility up to you. But so far the professors have been pretty helpful and are very clear about their expectations.” This all goes to show that although the Class of 2016’s transition into college life is just beginning, many of the University’s new students feel prepared to take on new challenges and are excited to become productive members of the campus community. Thanks to such actively guiding first-year organizers as OSLA’s orientation and Welcome Week leaders, many freshmen are entering their first semester of college without fear and hesitation.

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