The Crestiad

Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923

Helping Students Make Healthy Transitions

By Alexandra DiPace, Staff Writer

Marisa Deutsch, 19, of Powder Springs, GA, began her freshmen year of college at Cedar Crest College in fall of 2013. This was not her first choice of schools.

One closer to home had the perfect program, the Music Therapy Major. She was accepted, but then she suddenly found herself on the waitlist. Deutsch then decided to attend Cedar Crest only two weeks before orientation.

In the very beginning, it was extremely difficult. Because Cedar Crest wasn’t the perfect program, she felt lost in what she wanted to do. She did not get along well with her roommate. And being so far away from her family and her boyfriend was heartbreaking.

Deutsch found her niche in the college community, though; she is now a First Year Experience or FYE mentor to help out other first-year students. She says, “I do not want anyone to feel that they to have to go through the difficulties the first year alone.”

75 percent of college students feel lonely their first semester away at college, according to Assessing the Efficacy and Effectiveness of a Positive Psychology-based Self Help Book. This is very understandable. They have to adjust to a new environment, an increased academic load, as well as trying to juggle the social demands of college life.

Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, a new program will be introduced to the Cedar Crest community to help first-year students’ transition.

Erica D’Eramo, the director of New Student Programs wants to give students back the social support they lost and so desperately need.

Additionally, the College Life courses will no longer be segregated by major. This will help to make students who change majors feel more comfortable. College Life will break down “college” to the basics, like what is a credit and how to deal with the stress that comes along with this transition. The program will also get students connected with the Allentown community, not just the college community.

“Any time you make a transition you are vulnerable,” says Dr. Jane Ward, professor of psychology at Cedar Crest College. This transition is very difficult, freshman lose all their social support when first arriving at college. They don’t have the luxury of being able to come home to their parents every night, and high school friends are off to their own transitions. This leads to many freshman feeling home sick and, as Ward says, vulnerable.

“Know that we are there for you,” says D’Eramo. This program is meant to help new students make connections and relationships that will aid with the process of getting through college.

Many college students do not grasp the full concept of what college really is until they get there. Classes are more challenging, friends may be harder to come by, and getting involved with activities really clashes with a class schedule sometimes. But, these are the things that students expect when they arrive at school.

Soon, money becomes a major issue; they want to go out and have fun, but those textbooks do not pay for themselves! College freshmen find themselves exhausted from all the energy being put into class, homework, a job, friends and clubs activities. College is much more stressful and complicated than anyone could imagine.

Ward agrees; this is when college students begin to unravel, and start falling behind.

Cedar Crest hopes to prevent this unravelling by introducing changes to their FYE and College Life programs.

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2015 by in 2015, News and tagged , , , .
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