New faces, new places and new discoveries come along with any first-year college experience. Although it can be a stressful time for incoming students, it’s also an exciting period of self-discovery.
“You learn a lot about yourself in the first year, both your capabilities and your weaknesses,” said senior 3D animation major Drake Thornton, a student leader during Edinboro University’s New Student Orientation. “My advice is to never hesitate to search for help.”
Nearly 780 incoming students are scheduled to visit campus in July to become acquainted with campus and learn about their majors. Seven incoming Fighting Scots and one parent shared what they look forward to the most this fall at Edinboro.
Growing through academic challenges
Both Karlin Hiles and Haley Stutzman searched for the perfect school for graphic design. The Clarion, Pa. natives and graduates of Clarion Area High School chose Edinboro because of the reputation of the faculty and the academic rigor.
“A lot of schools seem to have a start-up feel to them,” Stutzman said. “Edinboro is more established and has the background that many schools don’t have.”
Edinboro wasn’t Hiles’ first option. But after learning about the Applied Media Arts curriculum and the dynamic artist community at EU, it was his best option.
“Edinboro has a more prestigious program and was a better pick than the other schools I was considering,” he said.
This academic catalogue and potential for successful careers helps to calm Lori Hiles’ anxiety.
“While I’m not too excited about him leaving home for the first time, I know he’s going to be making something out of his life,” said Lori Hiles, Karlin’s mother.
Discovering a sense of community
Nico DeRobio graduated with about 90 students in his senior class. The McKees Rocks native and graduate of Sto-Rox High School has grown to appreciate small, friendly communities, which is what he found during his visit to Edinboro. He said he hopes to meet other Fighting Scots and make new friends.
“I consider myself to be social, and I get along well with most people,” said DeRobio, who expects to major in political science or economics. “I’m used to that tight-knit community that Edinboro offers. It’s an incredible setting and seems pretty chill.”
Emily Catalano’s senior class graduated 68 students in rural Ridgway, Pa., which is known as the front door to the Allegheny National Forest. When a friend told her about EU’s nursing program, Catalano had to check it out herself.
“I looked at three schools before deciding to come to Edinboro,” said Catalano, who also plans to major in nursing. “I really liked Edinboro’s campus, and I’m excited about the nursing program.”
Joining clubs to expand interests
Anna Farinelli plans to join Edinboro’s Clay Club as soon as classes begin this fall. The Peters Township native and incoming art student hopes this will provide her with more skills and personal connections in ceramics.
“I’m always looking to make new friends but also find people who like doing similar things,” she said. “I’m excited about meeting new people at Edinboro.”
EU offers more than 140 clubs and organizations to allow students to engage in community service, connect with peers and colleagues and expand their interest.
Learning about career options
During his college search, Nick Daniels spoke with a friend who suggested Edinboro University. The incoming animation major from Newfane, N.Y. – just outside of Niagara Falls – then considered EU because of the art course offerings. An Applied Media Arts major focuses on individual content area, such as animation, but can easily augment their career path to focus on drawing, TV production, photography, graphic design or other options.
“If I find out that animation isn’t for me, I can easily switch to another program because there are so many different art programs on campus,” Daniels said.
Finding personal independence
This fall, 506 new students are expected to find their new home in one of Edinboro University’s residence halls. As students pursue their degrees and meet new people, it can be a scary but exciting time for those living on their own for the first time.
Eric Tokarski, an incoming Studio Arts major, is looking forward to developing independence as a first-year student. He’s not completely alone, though, as his sister Casey Tokarski attends EU as well.
“It’s definitely going to be a different experience for me,” said Tokarski, a graduate of West Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh. “I’ve never lived on my own before.”
Edinboro University offers academic and personal support to help familiarize students with the EU experience. Visit www.edinboro.edu/fye for information about the First-Year Experience Program.
Photo caption: Karlin Hiles and Haley Stutzman – both graduates of Clarion Area High School and incoming graphic design students at EU – chose Edinboro because of the faculty and program reputation.