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Quadcast transcript: A student’s guide for back to school

August 15, 2017


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You are now listening to the QuadCast, the University of Rochester’s official podcast.

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You’ve packed and planned, picked your courses, and said your goodbyes. Now it’s time to start college. You’re full of questions, but try to relax. You’re not alone.

Katie Emmons: I would tell the class of 2021 to just take a breath. It’s okay to be nervous. Everyone else is nervous. I was really nervous. You’re in the same boat as everybody else.

That’s Katie Emmons, who graduated from the University in May. New students soon will head to Rochester, and orientation director Eleanor Oi says they should travel light.

Eleanor Oi: I’ll say my first tip for students and parents is pack less than you think you should and get stuff later on. Talk to your roommates. Figure out with them what you’re going to share and what you’re not. You don’t both need refrigerators in the room and also from there you can just kind of figure that all out.

Once on campus, Oi says it’s vital for first-year students to get involved.

Eleanor Oi: I believe it’s incredibly important to join the community. You’re going to be here for four years which will fly by, so get involved early and then make your decisions in to what you like and don’t like.

One way to get involved is to join a club. There are 282 student organizations on campus, and more than 90 percent of students are involved in at least one. Associate dean of students Anne-Marie Algier says joining is part of the adventure.

Anne-Marie Algier: College should be a place of exploration. Try something new, try something you’ve never done before. Something I love about our students is the clubs are open, they are willing to take you at any level, you’ve never had to do something before.

Katie Emmons speaks from experience: Try it. You may like it.

Emmons: My biggest advice about student life is try everything. You can at any point, you can say please remove me from this email list but otherwise you might miss out on a great club like I’d never thought I would join Sihir Belly Dance Ensemble, and then I joined that my junior year and I wish I had done it sooner.

There also are more than 40 sports clubs to consider. Soccer, ultimate Frisbee, and rugby are popular, but club sports advisor Griffin LaDew says there are some hidden gems students may not be aware of.

Griffin LaDew: We have a club of about 15 kids who participate in alpine ski. Quidditch club, so all you Harry Potter fans out there can play and they’re pretty competitive as well. We have a rock climbing club and we also have a wrestling club.

Tom Hogrefe, Class of 2019, says first-year students should explore their new surroundings before school starts.

Tom Hogrefe: I think the first week at the University the best thing you can do is to just get comfortable, and learn the campus, learn the people you’re going to be around, and try to reach out and explore as many different clubs, activities, locations as you can. Just really do, take the initiative to make the University feel like a home.

Alex Copperman from the Class of 2020 says it’s important to know your fellow students as well.

Alex Copperman: Meet as many people as possible. There’s a special type of person that applies to this school and decides to go here, and there are a couple of thousand of them so that you can meet with. Do it! You will find people that are going to be your best friends as my past year has gone, the entire year and hopefully for life.

Liz Priore, Class of 2019, says students should get out of their dorms and become part of the University community.

Liz Priore: I think it’s super important for everyone to find their niche on campus. You always have a good connection with the people you live with but that’s a very small percentage of your class in the University as a whole so being able to be involved in other clubs really helps you branch out and meet other people and a lot of times helps you get into the city as well, get out of the campus bubble and really just helps you find yourself on campus.

It’s a new world, full of first-time experiences. Laura Gavigan, the associate director of the College Center for Advising Services, says students should soak it all in.

Laura Gavigan: You’re going to be coming to a place where you’re going to be experiencing things that you may not of ever have known that existed, you know, different kinds of people, different kinds of food, different kinds of classes and climate maybe, I mean for some of our students they’ve never seen snow before and embrace that, you know. Embrace all of the things that you may not immediately see as exciting or positive.

And if you need help deciding on a major, or whether you should take a course, Gavigan and her staff are right in Lattimore Hall.

Laura Gavigan: You can come in and schedule an appointment or you can just come in during walk-ins and meet with any advisor. My office is the first door as you walk in the building on the right so come say hi. Introduce yourself. If you need a hug or a cup of coffee or whatever, that’s what we’re all here for.

Eleanor Oi offers one final tip for incoming students: Learn about the place you’ll call home for the next four years.

Eleanor Oi: I believe you’re joining a University that is deep with traditions and community. Learn about those traditions. Learn about why the University of Rochester is what it is today, and all of the many men and women that it has created and sent off into the world to do wonderful and amazing things.



For the University’s QuadCast, I’m Caitlin Davie, Class of 2019



Category: Quadcast