The transition from high school to college took many of the 137 first-year College of Liberal Arts students on a rollercoaster ride. Since entering this fall, these students encountered many new experiences and have a litany of stories to tell.
Liberal Smarts caught up with some first-year students to find out just what they have been up to in their rookie year of college.
Christine Longo, Economics
Like many students settling into college for their first time, Christine found that “it was hard having to meet new people and live away from my family, but it got easier as time went on.”
Her best move, she says, was joining the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, because “it introduced me to many new people and gave me plenty of events to go to or get involved in.” Indeed, Christine soon found herself immersed in a whirl of memberships and activities. Along with her sorority, Christine is part of the RIT Honors Program, an attendant at the Information Desk in the Student Alumni Union, and the editor of the alumni newsletter for the Economics Department.
Of her first-year memories, Christine says she relished
waking up at 5 a.m. to chalk the Quarter Mile with
her pledge sisters in the fall, playing in the dodgeball
tournament (“and losing horribly”), and road tripping to New York City to see Rent on Broadway—among others. “There are way too many to list them all,” she says.
In any case, chalking up the Quarter Mile was particularly exciting for her. “Not every[one] does that. It was pretty cool to walk to class the next morning thinking‘I did that.’”
Rachel Schulbaum, Psychology
Embracing the mix of deaf and hearing students at RIT can be challenging. Rachel says she experienced culture
shock when arriving on campus since she grew up in the hearing world. Even when Rachel went off-campus, she still faced this element of diversity. She once visited a restaurant where some waitresses knew sign language. “I wasn’t used to that, so I liked that experience,” she says.
Rachel notes that she also enjoyed the freedom of being independent and staying up into the early morning to chat with friends. “I thought that was exciting because back home, parents usually told me and my friends to go to bed,” she explains.
Like Christine, Rachel, too, joined a sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma. She celebrated her 18th birthday by going to a club. “It was a completely different environment than I thought,” she says. Her resolutions for next year are to become more involved in the deaf community and to develop better time-management skills to juggle schoolwork
and social events.
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Ted Connors, Professional & Technical
Ted describes his first year as “a challenge, but manageable.”
His escapes from the academic grind included going to hockey games, learning sign language, and making friends. He joined the Baha Race Team in the fall and participated in a discussion panel about a class he took—”Reality TV.”
One of Ted’s most vivid first-year memories was playing a prank with his friend on some girls. “We would ring the door bell across from us and splash water at each other...the girls did it to us first, so of course we had to get even.”
Ted says he matured this year because of “dealing with drama for about 24/7 every day.” One instance was the hard times he went through with his first roommate. Through such difficult experiences, Ted learned that it is
critical to make priorities to oneself rather than dwell too much on the problems of others.
For next year, he hopes to focus even more on his
studies, make more friends, and become fluent in sign language.
Justin Baum, Criminal Justice
Whether pushing himself ahead in military drills or studying for final exams, Justin applies a “Be All That You Can Be” attitude to his work. He has been training with the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and is a member of ROTC’s Marksmanship club, Drill Team, and Pershing Rifles Company. Despite these commitments, Justin has still managed to keep up stellar marks off the field—he has a 4.0 GPA.
“I loved my first year,” he says, “especially since I received the benefits of classes as well as Army ROTC training.”
Justin says one of his first-year highlights was flying to Pennsylvania in a Chinook helicopter. In addition, he enjoyed hanging out with peers on his dorm floor.