Some Advice and Encouragement for the Incoming Class

ACES First Year Student Reflections

Everybody, upon finishing their freshman year at college, encounters a range of academic and social experiences and challenges that can be reflected on. The initial plan for this article was to ask a number of students about their first year experience at St. Joseph’s, being a part of ACES, and any advice they might have to the incoming freshmen. To have the questions that were created for the interview answered, a survey was given out to randomly selected ACES students in late April. To get even more feedback, the questions were also sent to about 18 ACES students via Facebook. The responses from the students who replied turned out to be similar with regards to the specific challenges facing an incoming freshman, but each response also has its own unique expression and answer to it that makes these responses worthwhile to read. Their reflections and advice to future students are definitely important and helpful. Hopefully these responses make your years as a college student a little easier!

 

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Ali Noori

Probably Philosophy Major

Please describe yourself in one word!

Ambitious

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.

It was hectic with all the getting-used-to’s, but it was fun. And it did not feel like a year, more like a week.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

It has transformed my writing, something I really needed since I’ve been living and studying in English-language countries for only about three years now. 

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

Time management, as cliché as it sounds.

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

Do stuff on campus, whatever it is. Join random clubs. Participate in all the contests. Apply for whatever position that is available. Those activities where you have no idea what the hell you’re doing are the best and most rewarding.

What are your plans for this summer?

Trying to land an internship at a non-profit and of course studying for LSAT.

 

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Bernick Occidas

Biology Major

Please describe yourself in one word!

Sarcastic

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.

It was a good experience. Even though there was a lot of work, I still got a lot of assistance that I needed. The activities offered helped me grow and become a stronger person.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

Being an ACES student has considerably helped my English. I feel more comfortable and confident to talk in public. My writing has also improved. I get better grades on my papers and have less grammar errors. I've also learned a lot about different religions and cultures by meeting students with different cultural backgrounds.

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

My English got a lot better and I feel more comfortable talking to others. My writing has also improved. I have better strategies for writing essays.

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!!!!! NEVER EVER THINK ABOUT IT!! YOU'LL REGRET IT!! Respect others and their opinions. Always participate in the school activities. Hand your work in on time and be respectful of your teachers. Remember that they are the ones in control of your grade. And please make sure you manage your time properly. Otherwise you won't be able to survive. If you need help don't be afraid to ask. Make some friends that will encourage you to do your best and HAVE FUN!! Enjoy your freshman year while still doing what you have to do!

What are your plans for this summer?

Work, study for the MCAT, sleep, read, eat a lot, have fun, go to concerts, go rave, and catch up with some friends.

 

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Cristobal Cano

Undecided for major, but Math as a minor 

Please describe yourself in one word!

I am Confident

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.
My freshman year was wonderful. I really like St. Joseph's because I learned a lot of things, like to be persistent. St. Joseph’s gave me the first steps on a path to a successful future.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

Being a student of ACES has helped me to have better communication, and progress my English as a second language.

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

My greatest challenge in transitioning from HS to college was having to write a lot of essays.

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

I hope the new freshman students prepare for class, manage their time, and never leave their papers or other homework until the last minute because it is very important to finish everything on time, so they can get good grades. As far as social life goes, I hope they make a lot of friends and share their ideas with each other.

What are your plans for this summer?

My plan for summer is to work, and spend some time with friends.

 

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Glenda Ascencio

Math Major

Please describe yourself in one word!

I am persistent.

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.

My freshmen year in college was difficult and exciting. I felt that I learned a diverse range of subjects in a short amount of time. Now I feel that I really love being at St. Joseph’s College.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

Being an ACES student has helped me improve my writing and my reading skills.

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

My greatest challenge from becoming a college student was learning how to study, how to be prepared for a test, and how to do a lot of homework in a small amount of time.

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

Freshman, never give up! Be persistent. Always ask for help at SJC. There is always someone willing and able to help you

What are your plans for this summer?

My plans for this summer are to get a job, read the Bible in English so I can improve my reading skills, play soccer and help my family at home.

 

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Maria Sedrak

Biology Major

Please describe yourself in one word!

Perseverant 

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.

It was surprising how fast I made friends that helped me get through school every day.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

It helped me to communicate with people who have the same issues as me, and it made me feel at home 

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

I don’t really think it was a big transition for me, but I would say all the papers and the assignments that took me time to get used to.

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

Try to be open and friendly. You never know, you might end up best friends with people you never imagined you would be friends with.

What are your plans for this summer?

To get a job and have fun.

 

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Jannatul Rahman

Biology Major

Please describe yourself in one word!

Mature

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.

It was awesome. I had a very fascinating first year at college. I heard people complaining about their first year, but I think I did pretty well. I made awesome friends, have great professors and a good GPA.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

It helped me to improve my writing style and to pay close attention to details. It helped me to develop my paragraphs and transition from one to another. It helped me not only in English, but also with staying on top of my other classes. The advisors in ACES helped me to understand my courses and understand how hard I have to work in order to go where I want to go.

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

I would say my greatest challenge was trying to manage my time. Senior year in high school was just an easy-pass. I did study but not as hard as I did in my first semester of college. I had to manage my time carefully because I had to study harder in college than in high school.

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

Do not stress it. You will be fine as long as you are doing what you should be doing. There will be times when you will feel depressed and stressed but trust me; it will all work out fine in the end.

What are your plans for this summer?

I am doing an internship at SUNY Downstate Medical Center called Exploring Health Career (EHC).

 

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Tenzin Yingsal

Biology Major

Please describe yourself in one word! 

Organized!

Describe your freshmen year at St. Joseph’s College in general.

My freshmen year at St. Joe’s was a whole new experience.  It was a great learning experience. I met amazing people! I have learned to use my time wisely and accordingly. I have acquired some effective learning skills that I really needed, but did not know I needed when I started college. Also, I feel like I have become a more perceptive person in general in terms of thinking thoroughly and attentively.

How do you think being a student of ACES has helped you?

Being part of the ACES has made me feel extra welcome at St. Joe’s. I have learned to be a more direct and confident writer. I have enhanced my writing on many levels in terms of structure, getting my ideas across clearly and moreover, I have learned to be a better thinker. I learned something new all the time.  The writers and historical events I explored with my classmates were entertaining and interesting subjects such as the 20th century playwrights, Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett, as well as the countercultural movement of The Weathermen/Underground.

What has been your greatest challenge in transitioning from high school to college?

There were several challenges in terms of the transition, but the primary ones for me were managing my time cleverly and figuring out the appropriate study habits-always read everything ahead before the lecture! And also go over your notes regularly. Overall, read, practice problems and study as much as you can. 

Can you give some advice to the incoming freshmen in terms of academics and social life?

In terms of academics, again, read everything ahead of time. Prepare for quizzes and exams beforehand. Put school before everything! Always ask questions and visit your professors during their common hours. In terms of social life, I remember a saying from His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV, “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” Basically, open up and explore the distinct opportunities you have out there and you will meet amazing people, who you might end up building great friendships with; however, always be perceptive and remember where you came from.

What are your plans for this summer?

I am planning to volunteer at a hospital. I am hoping to have an adventurous, worthwhile and fun summer.