Incoming Students Get First Taste of College Life During Orientation

Incoming Students Get First Taste of College Life During Orientation

by Brandon T. Bisceglia ’14
Contributing Writer

Magnolia Gibson ’18 is coming to UNH this fall to major in criminal justice. She chose the major because of her mother's experience working in a methadone clinic. UNH's renowned criminal justice program will give her a leg up toward her goal of becoming an adult probation officer and her ultimate dream to work for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, she said. She also likes UNH's campus and its proximity to home.

A West Haven native, she had a chance this summer to get a sneak peek at just what it will be like to be a UNH student. She was one of 1,250 students who participated in Student Orientation Advising and Registration, or SOAR, a program for all incoming first-year and transfer students and their families to introduce them to the campus community.

Magnolia Gibson '18

The two-day sessions in June and July gave students a chance to learn about UNH's services, consult with advisers, and spend a night in the residence halls.

Johnson said her favorite part of her first experience on campus was the opportunity to meet some of her classmates.

Halfway through the first day, Johnson and her peers had split off from their parents and broken up into groups of 10 led by orientation leaders – upper-class students already familiar with the University. The groups then took over sundrenched Maxcy Quad to get to know one another.

One group was gathered into a tight bunch, told to hold hands, and then instructed to untangle themselves without letting go. It took a few minutes, but they cooperated and figured it out.

“All of the activities were relevant to getting to know each other and working together,” said Johnson.

Matt Alvarez, of Glastonbury, Conn., also enjoyed the icebreakers. “They're great,” he said. “It makes it easy to meet people.”

Alvarez will study science and medicine, subjects he said he has always loved. He said he toured the campus previously and found the professors very approachable. He also liked being so close to New Haven.

Katherine Esposito, a Kings Park, N.Y., native, picked UNH for its criminal justice program. She said a high school guidance counselor recommended the University.

“It's beautiful,” Esposito said of the campus. She couldn't pick a favorite activity from her time at SOAR, saying everything was “really fun.”

Deanna Delmonaco of East Haven, Conn., and Samantha Kuvin of Millburn, N.J., had already become friends by lunch.

Delmonaco said she came to UNH because her best friend is a student here and had encouraged her to check it out. Kuvin, meanwhile, said she made friends through Facebook before even stepping foot on campus.

Delmonaco plans to pursue a career in interior design and architecture, and Kuvin will major in graphic design.

Neither had any lingering questions about the University, but Kuvin was satisfied she could find out anything she needed from the leaders at SOAR. “We're making up questions as we go along,” she said.

Ultimately, the goal of the program, said Rebecca Johnson, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, is to ease the transition the students and their families will face when they arrive at the end of August to start their first academic year.

“We give students and families a lot of information,” she said. “We have some anxious people when they first arrive, and our goal is for students and families to make connections, learn about University resources and leave SOAR feeling they made a good decision by choosing UNH.”

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