Keeping Up with College Freshmen

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Going to college is a scary new experience, but when graduating from Wesleyan, alumni can have the confidence that there is always a community back home to rely on. Reminiscing on their high school experiences, recently graduated Wesleyan seniors Jordyn Shackford (’19), Ashwin Gidwani (’19) and Ella V. Cooper (’19) give advice and guidance to soon-to-be college freshmen.

When asked what her favorite part of college has been thus far, Wesleyan Evergreen and current freshman at Auburn University, Jordyn Shackford, said, “Definitely the freedom and having more time to get work done during the day. Also, meeting so many different people from different states and being part of a sorority has been so fun.” Shackford paints college at Auburn to be a dream, but there was also loads of important information she wished she had known during her transition from high school to college and hopes rising college freshmen don’t make the same mistakes. She said, “You need to take advantage of the time with your friends because you will all be going completely different ways next year, and also ask your teachers for their best advice for college because college professors have no idea who you are and won’t care, and the Wesleyan teachers know you and care about you so much. You can’t study like you did in high school, and you should do research on the free tutors and resources the college offers to help you in your classes.” Shackford hopes to be a help and a guide for graduated seniors who are looking for guidance and clarity in their preparation for college.

University of Georgia freshman Ashwin Gidwani gave his insight into the beginning of college and some of the highs and lows that come with it. When asked what the hardest part of freshman year has been for him, Gidwani said, “Something that has been very different is because I am in lecture halls, I don’t know any of my teachers at all and compared to Wesleyan where I knew everyone personally it’s been really hard and different.” Gidwani preaches to take advantage of Wesleyan’s teachers and resources because in the next stage of life that is one aid that will not be provided. Both Gidwani and Shackford were Evergreens, students who attended Wesleyan for all 13 years, and they both valued the opportunity to be exposed to new people from different places and backgrounds. Additionally, they value the freedom they have in college and, in the words of Gidwani, “being able to do whatever you want.” Georgia Tech freshman Ella V. Cooper also had a great deal of insight into the early beginnings of being a college freshman. When asked what her favorite part of freshman year has been, Cooper said, “The best part of college so far has been being able to make new friends in different areas of campus. Having friends in my sorority, cheer team and in my classes has made Georgia Tech feel so much bigger!”

As the freshmen have stated, leaving behind their old Wesleyan teachers and friends has been an adjustment that they were unprepared to make, but the transition hasn’t been easy for the ones they left behind either. Current Wesleyan junior and close friend of Gidwani, Joseph Hart, felt a significant shift in his life once his old childhood friend departed for college. When asked what the hardest part of Gidwani leaving for college was, Hart said, “Not being able to hang out with him every weekend. We’d just do the most random things.” Not having Gidwani at school has also been an adjustment for Hart who said, “Even though we have always been close, because our parents have always been friends, being at the same school as him brought us closer because I could see him every day. We still keep in touch a couple times a week though.” Wesleyan cultivates such strong relationships between grade levels that losing the graduated seniors is a tremendous change for younger students.

Wesleyan’s graduated seniors lead a perfect example of how to transition from Wesleyan to college without skipping a beat. Shackford, Gidwani and Cooper left a lasting legacy on Wesleyan and offer so much guidance to current Wesleyan seniors.


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