July 16, 2014
"Your timing is perfect," President Erickson kidded the first students to attend orientation at the new Northampton Community College campus in Monroe County on July 15. "We built this campus just so you could come here this year!"
In fact, the new campus has been in the making for ten years. It was worth the wait.
When she got her first glimpse of the buildings and the surroundings, Madison Burke, a graduate of East Stroudsburg North High School, could not believe her eyes. "I was like, whoa," she said. "This is huge. Then I saw the solar panels, and I was like, woah. This is cool!" By the end of the day, after she took a campus tour, she decided that the bookstore was her favorite part. "It's like a regular store," she said.
Her soon-to-be classmate, Pleasant Valley High School grad Leah Hull, was also impressed. Leah had visited the old campus earlier in the year. That definitely didn't wow her. "This is a lot more open," she said looking out on the courtyard while enjoying a picnic at the end of orientation. "I feel like it's going to be easier to learn here. It's not so cramped. There's room to explore."
Exploring is something that faculty and staff hope students will do during their time at NCC - not just to learn their way around campus, but also to learn more about themselves, and to get the most out of their college experience.
"Pursue new interests. "Get to know people who are different from yourself." "Go to another country over spring break." These were messages students heard throughout the day.
They also got a lot of advice on how to succeed academically.
From college deans:
"College classes are structured differently than high school classes. You will have a lot more flexibility, but with that flexibility comes responsibility. "
Expect to put in 2-4 hours of study for each hour spent in class.
"Make academics a priority." Especially for the first year, don't work if you don't have to, and definitely don't work more than 15-20 hours per week.
Take advantage of the resources available to you. The Learning Center offers free tutoring in almost every subject. Use it!
"Front load" your GPA" (grade point average) in case you hit a course that is especially challenging. A high GPA can give you a "cushion" if you find yourself struggling to pass a class that is really difficult for you."
"Even before you set foot in your first class, set goals. Think about graduation and walking across that stage to receive your degree. Commit to complete!"
"You may encounter some bumps along the way. Ask for help. We're here to support you."
You will get a syllabus at the beginning of every course. Read it carefully! In most cases it includes detailed information about when assignments are due and how you will be graded. It can help you manage your time.
"It sounds basic, but read all the assigned readings!"
If you have to miss class, let the professor know. If you have a valid excuse, most will be understanding, but missing class puts you in a bind. Catching up can be challenging (or impossible in labs). And if you miss too many classes, you could get dropped from the course.
"A professor is not an oppositional force. We want to see students succeed. If students don't succeed, we don't succeed. Come for help during office hours. We'd rather meet with you than grade papers!"
From the student orientation leaders who were once new to NCC themselves:
"Take pride in being in the first class."
"You are in charge of what you make of your time here."
"It's time to become the adult you want to be."
"You will be just fine. I promise."
"Go for it!"
Orientation sessions will continue at the Monroe Campus through July 24. Fall classes begin on August 25. Students may continue to register for classes on either campus through then.
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