The Beatles said it best: “You say goodbye, and I say hello.” As college seniors prepare to say goodbye to the place and people they’ve grown to love, freshmen say hello to a whole new world (cue the “Aladdin” soundtrack). Here are eight momentous firsts and lasts for college freshmen and seniors, respectively.
Sounds of chatter and laughter fill the air as the college halls fill up for the first time since May. For freshmen, the first day of college brings a mix of emotions. Questions like, “Where do I park, how do I get to my classrooms and who will I talk to?” fill the heads of many college newcomers. But combined with all these anxieties are feelings of happiness and independence. For seniors, the last first day of fall semester brings emotions similar to those felt on the very first day of college classes. Many seniors feel both nervousness and excitement over the beginning of the end of their college experience. Whether entering as a freshmen or returning as a senior, don’t forget to enjoy this day – it only comes once.
Welcome Back Barbecue
As seniors enjoy their last Welcome Back Barbecue and devour all the free food while they still can, freshmen will be experiencing it for the first time. Seniors, take this time to mingle with old friends and reminisce, but don’t forget to take it all in. Freshmen, this is a great opportunity to meet new friends and create great memories, so get out there and have fun.
Meet New People
While most freshmen haven’t really had to make new friends at school since the first day of sixth grade, college is full of all new people (except for maybe a select few) to meet and befriend. This is the first chance to do so. Take this as a challenge: strike up a conversation with at least one person in each class. Seniors should embrace this final opportunity to talk to the people they’ve seen in the hallway, class or extracurricular activity that they’ve always wanted to talk to but never had the nerve.
College is about discovering one’s self, developing interests and getting involved. SJC’s club fair allows freshmen to familiarize themselves with the clubs and organizations available. Grab fliers and brochures for each one that sounds interesting. Attend first meetings to get a feel for the groups, and then decide which one(s) to join. As a senior, this is the final shot to get involved. Join a club or organization and make the most of this college experience while there’s still time.
France, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy and more. Freshmen are entering a world of possibilities for studying abroad, while this is the last chance for seniors to take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Students will enrich their education, enhance their resume and experience other cultures through a faculty-led study abroad program for the first or last time.
Mid-semester, seniors start applying to college classes for the last time, but freshmen will get to apply to their classes on their own for the first time. Seniors, enjoy the sense of pride felt in this moment for having the finish line in sight. Freshmen, if a core course is waitlisted already, it doesn’t hurt to sign up and see what happens – but always have at least one backup course.
Take a Class Outside Your Comfort Zone
Signing up for courses also means it’s either the first or last time to take an interesting class that’s outside of one’s major. Freshmen should try to find something that counts as a core requirement that sounds fascinating but they never got the chance to study in high school. Maybe it’s a course in music, film or psychology. It may even lead to the declaration of a new major or a minor. Seniors who have fulfilled all their required classes should consider taking a class outside of their major that sounds intriguing. For students at SJC Long Island, consider these new course offerings.
As the fall semester winds down, seniors and freshmen alike make plans for their winter break. Both groups can decide to take an alternative winter break, in which they spend their time performing community service. In the past, alternative winter breaks have included pairing with Habitat for Humanity and repairing homes damaged from Superstorm Sandy, volunteering in a soup kitchen and getting involved with the Nicaragua Project, which is celebrating 10 years of serving in the Subtiava area of Leon, Nicaragua. Seniors have one last chance to serve communities throughout their winter breaks, and freshmen will have the opportunity to experience happiness in knowing they did something productive, helpful and meaningful during their winter break.