By KATHERINE BARTLES
Now that the sixth week of college has come to a close and midterms are on the way, freshmen have truly experienced the hard work, stress and lack of sleep, which was stressed to them in high school.
Although all the new changes that the University of Mary Washington has been going through with the new University Center, payment plans and meal plans has affected every class of the university, it has effected freshmen more significantly.
Obviously, the freshman class cannot compare student life to a time prior to these changes, however, the first-year students have been very opinionated on how the changes have affected their year so far.
Being a college freshman myself, I was curious to see what my peers thought about their college experience.
A large majority of the students I interviewed had more negative comments of their first-year as a
UMW student rather than positive ones. By far, the most popular disadvantage seen by the freshman class has been the issue with meal plans.
Not only are we forced to purchase the most expensive package, but we can only use our meal swipes in the dining hall of the University Center.
Freshman Julia Wagner finds this simply unfair and said that, “The biggest disappointment and disadvantage that I have experienced so far is the mandatory any-time meal plan for freshmen. I am not saying that I don’t appreciate being able to eat whenever I want, but I don’t think it is fair that we pay the most for our meal plan when we can’t use meal swipes at other eating facilities on campus.”
As I talked with other freshmen in residence halls such as Willard, Virginia and Westmoreland, more and more freshmen agreed with the meal plan issue.
Moreover, another disadvantage that many freshmen agreed upon was the fact that registering for classes at orientation seemed rushed and unorganized. They believe that since we were just coming in to a new school system, they should have had more guidance with choosing classes.
“The advising time for classes was too short and the advisors weren’t given time to really go over requirements that students need to graduate from UMW,” said freshman psychology major Samantha
Lang. “Once I left my time slot for choosing classes, I probably changed my schedule five or six times afterwards. If they would have told me more about the requirements, then I would’ve chosen classes that would help me get both my General Education credits out of the way and knocked out some prerequisites for my intended major.”
Similarly, my peers and I were all in agreement that with ending high school and leaving home, coming to live on campus allows for people to have a fresh start.
Freshman Hannah Fleming said, “Although I miss my friends back home, I was so excited to meet new people in college. I feel like for freshmen it is more ‘acceptable’ for people to walk up to a random person on campus and in our residence halls and start talking to them and getting to know them and then ultimately making a friend.”
As a first-year student I do share the same opinions concerning the meal plan as well as class advising. Because I have practice for club volleyball that ends at 7:30, I cannot go over to the UC because most of the food stations are closed.
This means I have to go to Vocelli’s and use my flex dollars. As for classes, I changed my schedule around several times, even weeks after orientation to have a schedule that I was happy with.
Even now I wish there were some changes I could have made earlier.
As for the advantages of being a freshmen here at UMW, I feel that the requirement to take an FSEM is a great tool that helps transition from high school to college. It is also a great way to meet new people and make friends, which ultimately makes the college experience more fun.
However, despite these negative circumstances, UMW is our home now, and we are looking forward to seeing what the next semester brings for us.