By Ivan Del Val:
Recently at Amarillo College, students returned to their regular routine after summer vacation. For the freshmen, however, Aug. 21 was their first day of college, but the frustrations and confusion that come along with it started way before that.
“Taking my TSI was frustrating because I had to take all three in one day to be able to register on time,” Marissa Fraire, a physical therapy major, said.
After students are done with registration, however, there are several more steps that many may find confusing. “How to actually get registered, financial aid, advising, just not knowing the steps that they need to take once they get on campus,” Pamela Madden, FYS instructor, said.
Plenty of freshmen enroll straight out of high school, but others take semesters or even years off. “It was hard for me because I’ve been out of school for four years,” Fraire said.
AC officials say a lot of the incoming freshmen are used to a high school environment, and often have a hard time adjusting to a college setting.
“They’re used to other people doing a lot for them, so we kind of stress this is the time when you’re going to become a more independent student, a more independent person,” Joel delaFuente, AC advising associate, said.
Madden said there are many intiatives such as new student orientations, the Coaches and Champions Program, the First Year Seminar and success teams that help freshmen feel welcome.
One of the most successful programs the college has implemented to help students, especially freshmen, is the peer mentoring program.
This program is offered through the FYS class, which is a requirement for transferable degrees.
“I can tell them my study habits. I can relate to them through examples that I’ve gone through to maybe help them do better with their classes,” Bregan Hightower, a general studies major and peer mentor, said.
Hightower said that taking the FYS course on campus gives students more interaction with their peer mentors and professors, which in return may help them feel more comfortable.
“Find a support team, someone within the college that can help them navigate services and keep them motivated. You have to stay motivated to get to the end,” Madden said.
DelaFuente said communication is the key, and that there are clubs and organizations that help make the college environment a lot more enjoyable.
“The people you mingle with in these clubs, you have no idea if they’re long-term friendships. Some of them can lead to other areas in your life you had no idea about,” he said.