By Natalie Woods
Despite the late summer heatwave, the fall semester is back with classes in session, Taco Tuesday making a return and new first-years joining the Stonehill family.
“I love all my classes, I love all my professors, I just love everything. I haven’t found anything I’m like, ‘eh’ about yet,” first-year Natalie Montville said.
Being a first-year on campus is not all fun and games, though. Having to walk long distances to class can take getting used to.
“My classes have been good, a little bit of a struggle getting from the Sem all the way to Duffy or the Martin Institute,” Ridwaan Abubakar said, who lives in the Holy Cross Center.
The transition between the teaching style of high school and college educators can also be a learning experience for most.
“Teachers don’t press you on doing your homework…there’s not a reminder of ‘you have a quiz next week’. It’s kind of like ‘here’s the syllabus, this is what you have for the semester.’ It’s up to you to just do it,” Abubakar said.
“It’s definitely a lot more reading and homework than I’m used to, but it’s manageable,” Colleen Perry said.
“They [the professors] just seem really nice and friendly which I like. It’s hard to have a teacher who’s not that nice,” Cecelia Hartigan said.
Stonehill has become home to some first-years already. “I thought I’d get homesick but I haven’t, really,” Hartigan said.
“I went home last week just for the night and I kind of didn’t want to go home. I was like, why am I going home? I just want to stay at Stonehill and get to know campus a little bit better, get to know people,” Abubakar, who lives in Randolph, said.
“I was homesick the first day and now I’m not. Now I’m making friends…hanging out with everyone,” Montville said.
Most first-years said the tight knit community drew them to Stonehill.
“It’s just Stonehill. It’s just different from a lot of other schools. It’s a close community, it’s a close campus. Everyone’s kind of like a family, other than those big schools where you see a new face every day,” Abu-bakar said.
Montville shares his senti-ments. “I like the community feel of Stonehill. I like the small classes… I’m kind of a shy person so I didn’t want big lecture halls.”
Hartigan said her experience during the campus tour was what drew her to attend. “My tour guides were just really nice and easygoing and welcoming, which was definitely a good quality, so that was the biggest factor for me,” Hartigan said.
“I applied early decision to Stonehill, so I knew right away I was going to Stonehill and that was really exciting for me,” Hartigan said. In spite of social media being a big presence on campus, these first-years did not need to utilize it to make friends before move-in day.
“It hasn’t really made an impact on making friends,” Abubakar said. “It’s not like, ‘I added you on Instagram, now I know you.’ A lot of it has been personal interaction.”
“I tried not going on Facebook to look at people because I didn’t want to make judgments before,” Perry said.
“For me personally, I didn’t ever talk to anyone on Facebook, so it didn’t really affect me. If you’re sitting next to me in class I’ll talk to you,” Montville said.
Making friends as first-years appears to flow naturally since everyone is in the same boat and is willing to help a fellow first-year out.
“I think it’s easier for [first-years] because no one knows each other so you can just go up to someone and be like, ‘Hey, I’m a [first-year] too, what are your struggles? Let’s hang out’,” Montville said.
“I know a lot of people and a lot of faces and say hi to a lot of people so it hasn’t been that difficult [making friends],” Abubakar said.
“I leave my door open and just meet new people,” said Perry.
“I feel like I’ve made a lot of nice friends in my hallway and in my hall in general,” said Hartigan.
Peer mentor Love Boussiquot noticed how eager incoming first-years were to connect with each other.
“A lot of kids in my group were constantly asking, ‘when can we meet some more people?’”
Boussiquot could tell even the quieter students wanted to get involved.
“I think that there are some kids who are reserved, but overall they want to be there, so you see them do more to put themselves out there. They might not be the most outgoing ones but everyone seemed to make an effort to participate. No one was like, ‘no I’m not going to do this.’ Everyone did it even if they were uncomfortable because it’s the only time you’re with everyone in your grade.”