Freshman perspective: First semester takeaways

A UMass Lowell student ponders the endless possibilities in her future while admiring the canal. (Courtesy of Navitas at UMass Lowell)

Nick Bramante
Connector Staff

With the dawn of the New Year comes the official end of the first semester for many freshmen attending UMass Lowell. The first semester experience is crucial in preparing freshmen for their remaining time at UMass Lowell, serving as a point of either successful or disastrous transition presenting challenges both academically and socially. The real question is, how did UMass Lowell’s freshmen fare last semester?

When it comes to academics, the first semester at UMass Lowell can either make or break a student, with experiences varying widely between peers. However, it would seem that one issue reigns above all: time management. As freshman Marino Dipietrantonio said, he experienced “so many all-nighters [without having] any sense of time management,” constantly battling the clock in attempt to “[motivate himself] to get the work done early and not the night before the entire thing was due.”

Freshman Emily Teague responded in the same spirit, saying she struggled with time management. “I just tended to underestimate how much time I would need for an assignment,” she said.

On the other hand, Freshman Kayla LaPan found difficulty in some of her professors, and said, “Sometimes you don’t click with a certain professor’s style of teaching and that can make the class exceedingly more difficult.” As a whole, it would seem that the academic content found in UMass Lowell’s classes is not the issue for many first semester freshmen, but rather the time required in order to master them is what stumps some.

On the other side of the metaphorical freshmen coin, social interactions can be both a very encouraging and demoralizing experience when it comes to that exciting first semester. Freshmen seemed to have quite a mixed experience with their first semester, with people like LePan who said, “[I] made friends quickly. Even if they didn’t stay close throughout the semester it was nice to see familiar faces around campus.” Others had a more difficult time with comfort zones, such as freshman Devin Lucey, who said she had “a bit of a struggle.”

Lucey said, “The hardest social challenge I faced was probably forcing myself to step outside of my comfort zone and be in situations I’d rather not be in.” On a lighter note, Dipietrantonio was relatively proud of his social accomplishments, and he said, “From last semester to this semester I changed as a person socially. If my freshman high school self saw me today, I’m pretty sure he would be proud of who he’ll become.”

Despite the setbacks some of this year’s freshmen have experienced, it seems a general consensus that they are going into next semester with their heads held high. As to be expected, some freshmen have more gracefully executed their leap into the college-dominated lifestyle than others, though it would seem that all are excited for the new opportunities for improvement the new semester promises.

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