Making sense of the first week of College

When Justine Chester arrived at Malone University (just five blocks away from her home) she first imagined she would go to class, study, and leave campus to go to work or go home.  That was, until she became connected to the Office of Multicultural Services (OMS).  The vibrancy of the leadership team in the OMS office and the array of events and activities became a huge draw for Justine.

“My first day of college emotions were very much like the majority of first year students: excitement, uncertainty, nervousness, but overall fear. What if I get lost and miss my first class? What if I don’t make any friends? What if Malone wasn’t the best decision?

Questions like this stayed in the forefront of my mind. Being a commuter, I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t have friends. So, to protect myself from feelings of rejection, I planned to stay to myself, go to class, and go home.

Well, my plans of isolation didn’t last long at all. Just 48 hours into orientation, I was approached by the Director of MSU at the time, Corina Newsome, who introduced me to Multicultural Student Union. Her invitation to attend the annual multicultural student mixer shaped my entire Malone experience. I went from being afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted by students or involved on campus to gaining a family and eventually becoming the President of MSU for two years!

Overall, Malone University warmly welcomed me into the Pioneer family and the Office of Multicultural Services connected me to the campus and made me feel at home. “

For most freshman students, Orientation week can be a whirlwind week full of information and events from Camp Gideon to the Multicultural Student Mixer.

By the time classes have started you have met a number of fellow students and administrators, not to mention professors, many of whom you may or may not remember by name.

Like Justine, you may feel excitement mixed with fear.  As you make the transition from high school to college it is normal to feel slightly overwhelmed, everyone has had that feeling.  While the Orientation schedule is designed to introduce you to our Malone campus and the Canton community, we realize that you will not be able to learn it all at once so this is simply an introduction.

That is why we are reaching out to you at various intervals of your journey to remind you that OMS is always here to help navigate your journey and re-acquaint you with the faces and places you experienced during orientation week.

As Director of Multicultural Services at Malone, I have witnessed countless students as they have experienced their first week of classes.  Some are very sure of themselves and their abilities, some are apprehensive and nervous, and many are confident on the outside but very anxious on the inside. 

The sticker shock from the first purchase of your books to freedom and vast amounts of choices in the dining hall can all be overwhelming.  However, one of the biggest mistakes freshman students make is not making good use of all of the “free” time they think they have.  Managing your course load, your sport obligations (if you are an athlete) your study time, work, and your free time can be daunting.  Time management is the pitfall of most freshmen. 

The best advice we can give is to make plenty of time for studying.  I know, it sounds boring and you may think you are smart enough that you can bluff your way through.  Many students has had the same attitude and many are no longer here to tell their story.  Make time for reading all of your reading assignments!  It sounds easy but you will see, you will soon start to take short cuts because your time has been compressed by activities, outings, and fun things you would rather do instead of reading and studying.

Remember that whether you are struggling with time management, course load, or academic difficulty, you have a resource at the Center for Student Success.  At the Center for Student Success you find Cliff Schenck, Director of Retention to help you understand what success looks like at Malone and help you plot a plan for success.  There are also tutoring services for all classes.  Jen Vannest,  Director of Tutoring Services and Career Development, 330- 471-8321 will pair you with a tutor , you may also request a peer Tutor by clicking this link: https://www.malone.edu/academics/academic-resources/center-for-student-success/tutoring/peer-tutoring-request-form/.  Many of the best students have been successful because of a peer tutor.  This service is free to all students so please take advantage of this service. 

And please do not forget, that OMS is always here to guide and advise you along your journey towards a degree.  Enjoy the journey, make connections, and we will all celebrate your success at graduation!

Brenda Stevens, Director of Multicultural Services