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Timely Issues


First-year students
The end of August and into September will mark one of the biggest changes many first-year students have ever experienced as they transition into life as an RIT student. They will be adjusting to new surroundings, a new lifestyle, new people, and new responsibilities. This much change at one time can create mixed emotions in students; their feelings may fluctuate quickly between loving everything about RIT and hating it. These strong emotions are normal; if your student is unhappy about something, give it time before you react, as the issue may be quickly resolved on its own. 

The first couple weeks on campus will be exciting for most first-year students. They will become familiar with campus and their class schedules and will begin to make friends; the newness of everything will lead to daily discoveries and excitements. Many students will be anxious to participate in as many campus events and activities as they can, and may get so wrapped up in the social activities that they initially neglect to focus on classes.

On the other hand, some first-year students will have a difficult time knowing how to make friends and how to get involved. It will be discouraging to see other students having an easy time with it, and may focus on studies to avoid uncomfortable social situations.

Within a few weeks, students will find balance, and the extreme feelings will moderate. The outgoing students will return focus to academics, and the shy students will learn that there are many ways to make friends at RIT. Your students will begin to fall into their campus routine.

First-year students will also struggle to find balance between maintaining connections with friends from home and building relationships on campus. This transition will occur throughout the first year and will fluctuate at different times, particularly around breaks.

Returning students
Returning students will see the beginning of the academic year as a fresh start, and perhaps an opportunity to recommit to academics or an organization. There is still newness, however, in new classes and perhaps a new living space. Students will be reunited with friends who have been out on co-op, or will be missing those who are away for the semester. The excitement of being back on campus and with RIT friends may drive students to have a socially active September, but similar to the extremes of the first year, returning students will find balance as the semester wears on.

Student experiences:

  • Sense of excitement, independence, and confidence
  • Testing of limits and boundaries
  • Experimentation in personal life (food; spirituality; friendships; activities)
  • Feelings of homesickness
  • Insecurity about coursework; feeling overwhelmed
  • Anxiety about first tests and papers
  • Doubts about choice of school, choice of classes