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A Freshman Dilema

In: Other Topics

Submitted By sam3marie
Words 1411
Pages 6
Samantha Perez
English 1B
5 February 2012
A Freshman Dilemma With Panda Express in my hand I looked around the Hub for a face that I recognized, but seeing no one I went off and sat at a table by myself, quietly eating my lunch. I tried to find something to do so I wouldn’t focus on the laughter and various other conversations going on around me. Pulling out my book and iPod, I kept to myself and counted down the minutes until my next class. I kept myself occupied until it finally came time to go to class and I gratefully picked up my stuff and left. The transition from high school to college is exciting, but can be very challenging. When you enter college you face new teachers, a new campus, new classes, and new friends. Most people enter a college knowing no one or few people and it can be difficult to create new friendships. For a freshman commuter, or a freshman who has difficulty meeting people, it’s even harder to develop relationships with fellow students because there is no opportunity. This is an important dilemma and changes should be made in order to benefit the school and make the transition to college for these freshman easier. I propose that, to help get these incoming students more involved and to give them an easier chance to meet people, a new “Freshman Club” should be created at UCR. It’s important for freshman to get involved with the university and to meet new people. If they don’t become involved they don’t feel connected to UCR, and end up not enjoying their life as a student that much . In an informal survey, other freshman commuters told me they have had trouble feeling part of the school and meeting people. Cailena Villa, a first-year commuter student said, “It’s harder to meet people as a commuter, especially since I can’t attend the club meetings I want to be a part of. Most the time, I just go to my classes and then go home.” By only going to classes and not attending campus activities held at UCR, these students don’t feel they belong to the school. In the future, they won’t be calling UCR their alma mater because there would be no connection to the school. Another concern if freshman don’t find a new social circle is they then get lonely. Loneliness can lead to stress and with it, many other problems. As stated in a psychology guide website, “loneliness can impact stress, heart health, and immunity” (Cherry). By being stressful from loneliness students may start to fail classes and loose confidence in themselves. There is also a loss of the “college experience” that so many freshman heard about before entering college when there is no opportunity to meet people. There are no parties, pulling all-nighters with friends, and “study-groups” in the library. When relatives ask, “how’s college going?”, these incoming freshman reply with short, unenthusiastic answers. It’s damaging for these new college students if they don’t develop friendships early and don’t attend outside-class events, that’s why it’s crucial to fix this. One solution to getting more freshmen involved and meeting more people is to lower the membership fees of fraternities and sororities, and to make less of their events mandatory, making it easier for people to join them. However, fraternities and sororities at UCR are not created by the school, they are nationwide. According to the UCR website, the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) is made of ten men's fraternities that belong to the North-American Inter-fraternity Conference (NIC) and the College Panhellenic Association (CPA) is comprised of six women's sororities that belong to the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) (Student). These organizations set nationally the fraternities and sororities rules for meetings and have to keep the prices that are already set. As a result, it remains difficult for freshman commuters and other “shy” freshman to join who can’t afford it or can’t attend every event. Another solution that may be considered is having clubs meet during the day instead of at night, which would make it easier for freshman commuters to attend the club meetings. However, the problem with this is that many clubs may not be able to move their meeting time or would be unwilling to. This is because most clubs want to be able to work with everyone’s schedule and have no conflicts, meaning holding meetings at night to avoid class time. Therefore, it makes it difficult for freshman commuters to join the club because it’s hard to stay late on campus. Unlike freshman who dorm, their home is usually not a five minute walk from main campus. As Isabelle Diep from Spoiled Minds says, “We would love to have freshman commuters involved, but we can’t move our meeting time to during the day because it would conflict with our class schedules.” So although many clubs want more members, they simply can’t change their meeting times. This comes to my final proposed solution, which will give more opportunities for these incoming students to meet people and to get more involved. I suggest that there should be a Freshman Club. This would be an “ involvement club”, and its primary purpose would be to get students involved with the school and give them a chance to meet other freshman. Although it would be run by upperclassmen, committed to helping freshman feel welcome at UCR, membership would be encouraged for either freshman or new transfer students. The Freshman Club members would go to school events together such as basketball games and Barn concerts, as well as other campus functions. Also, this club would introduce freshman to some of the other 300 student organizations available on campus. This would be done by having people from other clubs come talk about their student organization to the freshman club, or perhaps invite the Freshman Club members to participate in an outing. For example. the president of the Surf Club might come share what their club is all about, and then invite Freshman Club members to a surfing lesson. This would motivate the freshman to go to the club that was introduced, even if it meant attending a meeting at night. By having a club strictly for freshman, it would make freshman feel more comfortable with the school and be given the opportunity to meet people and join other clubs. Also, since this Freshman Club would be going to events together there would be no one feeling alone and could get involved with the all the fun events UCR has available, such as the Heat concert. Some may argue that this is just another club so it wouldn’t be any different than the other clubs. How would this club be easier for “shy” freshman and freshman commuters to join? For one thing, this club would be heavily pushed and advertised at the freshman orientation. Also, meeting times would switch to accommodate different schedules, switching between nights and days. This would make it easier for freshman commuters to attend. Some may also say that it might be difficult to get people to run this club. However, there are many students such as those in ASPB, which is a campus involvement club, who are already dedicated to UCR and increasing school spirit. These type of students might really like to be in charge of a this Freshman Club. UC Riverside is a great university and everyone who is accepted should be able to enjoy it as fully as they can. However, it can be difficult for freshman who have trouble making friendships and freshman commuters to get involved and meet people. These students tend to become disenfranchised with UCR and don’t love college as much as they should. The creation of the Freshman Club would be very beneficial to the school and would help many incoming freshman, including myself. With this club more might be excited to say they are an UCR student and could better enjoy their life as a Highlander.
Works Cited
Cherry, Kendra. “Loneliness. Causes, Effects, and Treatments for Loneliness” 5 February 2012
Diep, Isabelle. Email Interview. 05 February 2012
“Student Life-Fraternity and Sorority Life” University of California Riverside website. 05 February 2012
Villa, Cailena. Personal Interview. 04 February 2012

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