As the 2013-14 Keene State College catalog year comes to a close, it allows students time to reflect on the past nine months.
For seniors, time to reflect on their last year before entering the “real world.”
For freshmen, with their first year of higher education coming to a close, time to reflect on the major changes and challenges they’ve faced—the good, the bad and the learning experiences.
The transition period between home and college often proves difficult for many and for exercise science major Marissa Costello, this experience was no exception.
“I remember it was like the first week, I literally cried every night because I missed my parents so much, and my brothers,” Costello said.
Costello was joined at KSC by her twin, management major Rebecca Costello, both freshmen on the KSC women’s soccer team. They both noted that with the help of their teammates, their transition into college was made easier.
“My experience here coming in as a freshman…I was kind of nervous to join the soccer team because it seemed like they were already like a family and I was kind of like an outsider. But they were wicked nice, they took me and my sister in immediately; they made us feel right at home,” Marissa said.
Marissa and Rebecca, both students from Meriden, Connecticut, said that a large part in their enjoyable transition was the city of Keene itself.
“I love Keene. I really don’t want to go home. I love the people here, I love the friends I made, the memories and stuff. I can’t wait to go back and see my family — that’s the only thing…I miss my family because we’re two hours away. But here, I just love it. I love the school, I love the atmosphere, I love my teachers and everything,” Rebecca said.
Marissa added that she enjoys the home-like feel Keene provides.
“Downtown Keene is just so nice, like [during] Pumpkin Fest…the town is kind of a family. It’s a lot homier than a city or out on a farm,” said Marissa.
Aryanah Haydu, a freshman nursing major, spoke on behalf of freshmen as a whole and said, “Yeah, it’s definitely a big adjustment at first. A lot of people are not sure exactly what they want to do, so it’s difficult to decide I guess, until you’re actually in it and you’re taking the classes and figuring everything out.” Haydu continued, “I think by the end of the year you definitely figure out what you’re interested in and not.”
Haydu, however, was not as comfortable at KSC when she first started the year, saying she had originally planned on transferring. “I did apply to a few different schools, because I’m in the nursing program currently and I wasn’t positive about it here so I wanted to look at other options. But in the end I didn’t really want to have to start all over and I liked the people that are here so I decided to stay,” Haydu said.
Haydu stated that much of her unsettlement was due to her major, saying that her parents “kind of pushed me into it [nursing].”
“[KSC’s nursing program] is relatively new, so I was looking at kind of more-esteemed programs at bigger schools, but then I decided I liked the size of this school, I liked the people that I met; the campus. I got used to everything. So, I think I’m just going to switch my major instead,” Haydu said.
The transition into freshmen year was more difficult for Education major Erin Severns to bear.
“The transition for me was not as easy. Even though I’m only two hours away, being away from family was very hard at times,” Severns said.
She has since decided to transfer out of KSC, not due to academic dissatisfaction.
Severns added, “My classes were all very good and I had great professors, especially my first semester. I hated feeling so distant from my family.”
For other freshmen, KSC was just the right fit.
Heather Wittmer, education major, said her adjustment was easier than others, despite being seven hours away from her home in Long Island, N.Y.
“It was very easy for me to adjust. Me being seven hours from home I thought it would be a lot more difficult, but everyone was very welcoming and made me feel very comfortable here,” Wittmer said.
Wittmer continued to note that finding balance between academics and leisure time is key and said, “My course load wasn’t bad. As long as you keep up with your work and go to class it isn’t difficult to maintain.”
Wittmer continued, “Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean it’s one big party all the time. You need to take your academics seriously, or these next couple years are going to be challenging.”Satisfied, Wittmer, like many others at the college, plans on returning to KSC in the fall for the second 2014 semester. “My first year here was awesome. I made a lot of friends and met a lot of great people. The experience was more than I expected, in a good way of course. I couldn’t have asked for a better first year,” Wittmer said.
Alexa Ondreicka can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.