The first year can be a vulnerable time for students. Since freshmen are encountering a new environment, new people, difficult academics, and a large and confusing campus, there can be countless problems. Janelle Fayette, dean of the First-Year Experience, is here to help out.
When asked what advice she wanted to share with first-year students, Fayette said that freshmen need to realize that college is totally different from high school. There is more freedom and more work; there are more dilemmas, and more people here to help. It is important to understand that freshmen are dealing with a hard transition. Additionally, freshmen are brilliant and should not be underestimated simply because they are unaware of their resources. Fayette offered other pieces of practical advice for the first year students.
Fayette advises freshmen to take advantage of the first week and get to know more people. This can be especially useful if you miss something in a class. If you are struggling academically and you need further assistance, utilize office hours and ask for help from faculty. Ask the professor for clarification; “suggested” homework might actually be required. What’s more, time management is crucial. Schedule your days to ensure that you are highly efficient, leaving time to enjoy college life and get plenty of sleep.
In addition to professors, learning assistants are amazing. Ask them for studying advice; you can get really helpful ideas and opinions. Finally, balance your clubs and make sure to study. These should not be seen as conflicting factors.
We then asked Fayette to explain her role as the Dean of the FYE. Fayette described herself as “a hub between freshmen and school resources such as Advising and Learning Assistance Center, residence halls, and other various departments.” Though it is widely known that FYE handles Student Orientation and Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond, FYE deals with a variety of other things. FYE will do everything to ensure that students have a smooth transition from high school to college life.
Fayette said that she could never get bored with her job. “It is never repetitive. I love the feeling of meeting new people, doing something to help them in one of their hardest periods, and trying to make things better. I like to work with new students.” FYE offers engaging orientation activities. To some extent, it provides assistance to the whole student body. “Sometimes, students may just need more time or just a push, not only freshmen but also juniors or seniors. I have been at RPI for ten years. I know students need passion and interest to work well. You have to find what you believe in, and what you are missing as a community, and then you can fulfill your dream.”
We are all obliged to make the world better. So gain something in this amazing and rich community. Why not change the world? Visit the FYE website at http://studentlife.rpi.edu/fye.