BY SHANNON WILEY
In 1997, Steve Jobs became the CEO of Apple Inc., Princess of Wales Diana Francis died in a fatal automobile accident, box office hit “Titanic” was released and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” had not made its way to America yet.
But also that year, the majority of Salisbury University’s class of 2019, this year’s incoming freshman class, was born.
As the first month of the 2015-2016 school year wraps up, many freshmen feel they have gotten a good grasp on college life. However, when students enter the four year school, especially if they are living on campus, there are many transitions they have to make, the hardest of which seems to be waking up in the morning.
“The only thing that’s hard now is not having my mom wake me up for class,” entrepreneurship major Max Boimov said.
Marketing major Connor Loughran agreed; “waking up in the morning, I have to set like four alarms.
Others have found the move from high school-level dependency to complete responsibility and freedom to be daunting.
“I have to do everything by myself,” communication arts major Jamie Tracy said. “I have to tell myself when to do homework, I have to tell myself when to get up, and make sure I eat and do all these adult things. It’s been a weird transition.”
For others, though, this freedom is the best part of coming to college.
“My favorite part has been having my own schedule and getting to do whatever I want,” environmental studies major Carly Sniffen said.
For some, the transition is made easier by getting involved on campus, by joining sports teams or immersing themselves in clubs.
“All of the girls and the boys on the team are really accepting of the freshmen and they guide us and help us learn the ropes,” women’s cross country runner Fiona Halloran said.
She said that even going from high school cross country to collegiate cross country has been a hard transition, but that she is getting the hang of it.
Men’s basketball team player Jack Ferguson said that being on the basketball team has really helped him this year because he had friends at school right away.
“All of the guys on the team are really great,” he said.
Another way many students get involved, more this year than any other year, is with the Bellavance Honors Program.
124 incoming freshmen joined the honors program this year and enrolled in an honors course this semester, which is record breaking for the history of BHP.
Last year, 118 incoming freshmen enrolled and the year before that, 88 did.
BHP Director James Buss owes this increase to their increased openness and flexibility.
“Over the past three years in particular, the honors program has really been working on making honors education accessible to students from every major, from all backgrounds, across campus,” he said. “The idea is to enrich your college experience, so we’re being very creative about how we can do that in a rigorous way… but at the same time be open enough to allow as many students as possible to enrich their college experience.
BHP offers Living Learning Communities to freshmen who wish to live in that academic setting, but this year to accommodate so many more students, the program had to increase the availability of dorms in the LLCs.
This year, all of Manokin Hall houses honors students, encompassing four LLCs where in the past, it has only housed 3 or less.
Even still, though, not all students were able to live in the honors LLC’s, but BHP found the few that were not able to be accommodated homes in their secondary choices.
Although the hall consists of four separate LLC’s, students from each all come together for group activities and trips, such as kayaking at Assateague Island or going to Washington D.C. to see the National History Museum and the National Zoo.
“We try to create this big, large community,” Buss said. “It’s about serving the students. We didn’t create four LLC’s because we wanted to, we did it because every year we were having more students that we had to turn away. We are meeting the needs of the students that want that experience.”
As the number of students joining the BHP grows, as does the average incoming grade point average and SAT score.
Also, the diversity in majors is growing. This year, the largest major in the program for incoming freshmen is biology with 46 students, followed by Communication Arts with 25.
SU general admissions does not have the statistics about the average GPA or SAT score of SU’s incoming freshmen, nor the numbers on incoming freshmen majors.
Overall, the majority of freshman at SU this year have enjoyed their experience at Salisbury, with many citing the size and/or the overall friendliness of the campus.
“When I visited I expected to like it a lot because it just felt like home,” business major Nick Hubbard said, “but now that I’m here I’m actually enjoying it a lot more than I originally thought I would.”