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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

Making the college transition: Advice for first-year students at Saint Rose

Saint Rose students on the first day of a new semester.

Starting college is a wonderful accomplishment, but it can also be a frightening new challenge. You might feel unprepared to take on this new chapter in your life, fearful of what lies ahead.

Thankfully, the staff and students at The College of Saint Rose are here to offer new Golden Knights advice that will help you navigate this big transition. Saint Rose is here for you!

Adjusting to independence

The independence you will experience during your first year of college will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You’re away from home in an entirely new environment, having to rely on yourself to be responsible and mature. Tia Thompson, Associate Director of Housing Operations at Saint Rose, encourages everyone to embrace this newfound freedom, and use it as a tool to create a routine that is unique to their own lifestyle.

​“For most students, going away for college is the first time they’ve ever been away from home or their parents for an extended period of time,” Thompson says. “Although it can be overwhelming and maybe even a little scary at first, I encourage students to embrace their newfound independence! Get into a good routine that helps balance fun and a social life.”

Jen Richardson, Associate Vice President of Student Development, suggests that new college students need to learn the importance of balance when they first start school. “Students should be prepared for new expectations and responsibilities,” she says.

Maintaining your mental health can also be a challenge when you first start out in a new environment like college. Theresa Belfance, Coordinator of Student Engagement and Campus Activities, recommends that students utilize the Counseling Center when in need of some extra guidance. “Even if students don’t go for a session, a visit helps them know where the Counseling Center is, and it also helps them get acquainted with the space so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming,” Belfance explains.

Richardson and Thompson agree, and also encourage students to visit the Interfaith Sanctuary when in need of some peace and quiet. New college students should also have open communication with professors and advisors to gain as much support as possible from the start.

Living on campus

When you start at Saint Rose, you may find yourself wondering how to adjust to your new living situation. After all, you’re about to move in with someone you likely don’t know in a tiny dorm room for the year. While this might seem daunting at first, this experience is a wonderful opportunity to form new relationships that will last through college and adulthood.

To help you adapt to dorm life, Saint Rose has Resident Assistants, or RAs, who are assigned to all residence halls on campus. The best part? RAs are students just like you! Their job is to help you adjust to this new phase of life and answer any questions you may have about campus living.

Thompson says that getting to know your RA and becoming involved with their monthly programs can relieve some of the stress of living in this new environment. Forming a connection with your RA can also provide you with a much-needed outlet whenever you need someone to talk to or have a concern that needs addressing.

Students also have amazing insights into how dorm living gave them the gift of some of the closest friendships they have ever had. Maddy Burnett, a sophomore at Saint Rose, recalls that when she first moved into Lima Hall last year, she was very nervous. However, living on campus and interacting with others in the building led her to a group of friends that has continued to expand over time.

“The people I met during my first year on campus are some of the coolest people I know, and now they’re my roommates in our apartment [in Centennial Hall],” Burnett shares. “We keep in contact all year, even when school isn’t in session.”

The bonds you create with your peers will be one of the most fundamental factors in ensuring your continued success at Saint Rose. Your friends will grow to be like family, and as Burnett says, “They will help you find your home away from home”.

Exploring new surroundings

For some new Golden Knights, getting used to living in a different city – or even state – is another daunting challenge to face. Everett Carpenter is a current first-year student at Saint Rose coming all the way from Texas to pursue his dreams of a career in music. Carpenter explains that while being far from home has posed its share of obstacles, he’s very pleased with his decision to come to college in Albany, NY.

“Coming to Saint Rose has been like a big adventure,” Carpenter says. “I’ve made so many friends already. Whenever I need time to regenerate and decompress from my day, they are always there for me. I’ve made my own little family here and I can’t wait to see where this whole experience will take me as the years go by.”

He believes that despite sometimes being overwhelmed with projects and assignments, there is no place he would rather be.

By taking part in campus events, learning about the countless clubs at Saint Rose, or taking a class outside your major, you can rest assured that you will meet groups of like-minded people at Saint Rose who are welcoming and friendly.

For students like Carpenter who are coming from far away, there are several places to explore around New York’s capital. Here are a few recommendations for off-campus fun:
Uncommon Grounds or Stacks Espresso Bar for a cup of coffee or breakfast.
Stuyvesant Plaza for its variety of shopping outlets.
Washington Park for important outdoor time.
Madison Theater for movie night.
Madison’s Pizza for all your late-night munchies.

Final words of wisdom

Whatever your goals may be, there will always be a place for you at Saint Rose. College is meant for exploration, new experiences, and forging your own path. Expect the unexpected, trust the process, and make the most of the next few years as you navigate your college journey.

Welcome to Saint Rose, Golden Knights!

This blog is the second in our college transition series. Check out our first piece about making the college transition as a Saint Rose transfer student!


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