Wednesday, August 20, 2014: the day incoming Keene State College first years had been looking forward to (or dreading) since putting down their deposits back in May. 

The day wouldn’t have been complete without a thousand or so over-packed cars, more than a few crying parents and siblings and traffic flooding the town from Franklin Pierce Highway through Winchester Street.

Freshmen Jess Vandevord and Avery Black both said that they were surprised by how friendly everyone on campus was.

“Everyone on campus says hi to you,” Black said, “I made three new friends on my way to the DC for dinner yesterday.”

Outgoing people are not only found walking down Appian Way ­— they’re found behind the closed-doors on campus as well.

“My roommate is lovely,” Vandevord said, stating she was pleased with how compatible the two of them are.

Vandevord continued, “It’s not exactly what I expected it to be but it’s wonderful, nonetheless.”

Katie Van Veen, a neighbor of Vandevord’s on the third floor of Fiske Hall, said she was surprised by the willingness people have to help those around them.

“Whether it’s students or faculty, everyone’s there for you,” Van Veen said, “Everyone is so approachable. There’s a really strong sense of community here.”

But the qualms of college life amongst first years were not confined to the social aspect of this new lifestyle.

Another freshman, Holly Geno, said she expected to be drowning in homework by the end of the second week. “It’s not too bad yet, but I do always have my nose in a textbook,” Geno said.

Geno also noted how easy she felt it was to make friends with the Open Door Policy, where students are encouraged by Residential Life to keep their doors open while they’re in the room, that her dorm enforces.

Jack Chase / Equinox Staff

Jack Chase / Equinox Staff

“It gives us the opportunity to meet and talk to pretty much everyone on our floor. Our RA had us paint doorstops at one of the floor meetings,” Geno said.

Geno continued, “With my door open, one person stopped by to compliment the music I had playing and we’ve been hanging out ever since.”

According to Geno, this upcoming year, as well as the three that will follow, are definitely going to be years to remember for her.

Sean Kiziltan, who said he made a strong group of friends the first night on campus with a volleyball game, noted that he can’t wait to spend his freshman year of college at KSC.

“I just knocked on everyone’s door the first night and invited them to come join the game. I connected with people I had a lot in common with. It just kind of clicked,” Kiziltan said, before mentioning his plans to join intramural sports.

Van Veen said that she is excited to try new things.

She said that college life calls for many adjustments, and she was enthusiastic about her new routines. “I’ve started going to the gym since I got here,” Van Veen said, “I’m excited to start a healthier lifestyle.”

Vandevord said that she can’t wait to become her own person and learn about herself in her time away at school.

“I can’t wait to learn more about myself in this environment. Everything’s so new and crazy,” Vandevord said.

“What am I excited for in the next four years?” Black said, “Well, hopefully I’ll get my degree.”


Jill Giambruno can be contacted at


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