It is understandable that it can be intimidating to start a new chapter in one's life. No matter what the situation is, it is always refreshing to get advice from others.
There are many upperclassmen students like Nafisah Harley a 2017 graduate who studied psychology with a minor in American sign language, Justin Quaglieri a sophomore studying business administration, Daniel Alcoriza a junior studying English and education and Joy Ann Dimaculangan a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Health Education who explained how they felt during their first year at Kean University.
Harley: "My first year attending Kean University was such a great experience. I live close by, but my parents allowed me to dorm, so that was a huge plus. I was also a member of the Leadership Institute and started off in the Bronze Transition to Kean (T2K) course where we did leadership building activities in the summer. These two things allowed me to meet new people and build relationships with people who I am still very good friends with to this day. I don't think there's anything I wish I learned before starting my new journey at Kean because the adjustment itself and learning new things is exactly what helped shape my college experience."
Quaglieri: "My first year was exciting and I feel like I've learned many things about college. With this being said, before coming to Kean, I wish I knew that making time for oneself is imperative for relaxing purposes as well as social involvement."
Alcoriza: "My first year attending Kean was pleasant, if confusing. I wish I understood more about financial aid and where different departments on campus were located."
Dimaculangan: “My first year attending Kean was amazing. I felt like Kean was my open door to new possibilities and I was excited to explore a completely new world. I made some friends and did great in all my classes. Kean was and still is a very welcoming environment so I became comfortable quickly. Before Kean I wish I knew more about the minors that Kean offers. Being that I am a Psychology major with about 50 free electives, it would have been nice to get more information about a minor. But my T2K class filled in the gaps that I needed in order to declare my minor.”
All of these students shared advice that they thought was important for new students to learn in order to handle the new adventures of college. Speaking on the importance of getting a good education while experiencing fun outside of the classroom.
Harley: "My advice to new freshmen is to get involved and make connections! The college experience is 100% what you make of it. If you go to class, go to work and go home you may start to feel that Kean is boring. However, if you have the opportunity to live on campus, go to Kean events, join clubs and get on-campus jobs; I genuinely feel that you'd find Kean more enjoyable. I'd also encourage new students to take advantage of the resources that Kean has to offer. If you're struggling with classes you have to reach out to your professors for extra assistance or make an appointment with the tutoring center. We have a speech lab, study rooms in the library and career development services. All of these things are accessible to you so take advantage, but the number one tip I have is to maintain balance."
Quaglieri: "For freshmen, my advice would be that they get involved with their campus [through] clubs and activities, by doing this, it makes the student feel more connected to the university and it may even help with making friends."
Alcoriza: "I'd tell new students how to find the directory on kean.edu. I'd also say not to be afraid to fail because sometimes the lesson you need to learn can only be taught through failure. As for social advice, don't be afraid to be yourself. Kean is so diverse that you will definitely find people who share common interests with yourself.
Lastly, these students spoke in depth on how they have grown since they started at Kean. And it is essential for new students to understand that in the beginning, college may seem intimidating but one must experience new horizons in order to grow and to expand out of their shell.
Harley: "My involvement in student activities and my job as a General Education Mentor (GEM) gave me the necessary skills and experience to mature and grow throughout the years that I attended Kean. Thanks to that, I was able to land a job in higher education and will be applying to graduate school soon. When I first started as a freshman, I was a bit shy and pretty much kept to myself, but as I've grown, I've known to get out of my comfort zone and take more chances."
Quaglieri: "Since I started school, I already feel like I have changed. One thing that changed about me is that I became more extroverted and confident with myself as a person. I also have practiced ways that help me procrastinate less with my school work. In addition to school, I worked multiple part-time jobs and learned that prioritizing work, school and friends became a valuable skill throughout the year."
Alcoriza: "I feel I've changed quite a bit since I first came to Kean. I no longer feel like a deer in the headlights. I understand how to maneuver campus, who I need to talk to in order to remove holds and what to do with my free time. All in all, I'd call my experience just that: an experience.
Dimaculangan: “When I first started at Kean I was very shy and to myself. Once I started working as a GEM, I came out of my shell. I became more confident with who I am and found my calling. I love helping people and being able to do that for incoming freshman especially has made me more aware of my capabilities and strengths.”
Harley reminds students that it is important to dedicate one's time to their studies and their job, but it is also just as equally important to dedicate time to themselves.
Quaglieri also seconds that notion saying, "Another major component of college life is realizing that the workload requires time and effort to complete it. This is where the concept of time-management can aid or hinder your performance in school."
Harley adds, "Make sure you take that nap, or go to that homecoming game, or hang out with your friends in the student lounge."
Dimaculangan advises students to take advantage of all the opportunities offered by Kean, using the centers and services available like writing and tutoring.
Dimaculangan mentioned, "This is the time to really find yourself and figure out what you like and don't like. Make the most out of everything. Challenge yourself and be the best you, even if Kean is a commuter school we shouldn't forget about the college experience."
Have fun and have balance!