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Adelphi’s First-Year Students Revisit Their First Semester of College

By Hussein Ali Rifath

The university’s Class of 2027  have completed their first semester of college. Beginning college has required them to move beyond their four years of high school and find belonging in a new, unfamiliar place. This past semester, they have been able to do just that.

The Class of 2027 came to Adelphi distinguished by their academic credentials and diversity. During their Matriculation ceremony last August, University President Christine Riordan praised them for their 3.7 average GPA and for being one of the most diverse classes in Adelphi history. The first-year class represents over 40 states and over 70 countries. Each student has a unique story to tell. The Delphian shares some with you here. 

Last August, first-year criminal justice major Damian McGhie arrived at Adelphi after the hours-long drive from the Washington D.C. suburb he called home. For him, starting college meant starting from scratch: he has had to make new friends, adapt to living on campus after commuting to high school, and balance schoolwork with numerous extracurricular activities such as work, and his commitments to our track and field team. 

First-year Damian McGhie, pictured third from left, with the new friends he’s made at Adelphi.

It was all smooth sailing after he found a group of friends who could help make the journey easier for him. “It [Adelphi] has been a very welcoming community and I’ve enjoyed my time [here] with my friends,” he said. The group can be seen all across campus, all full of smiles, happy to share each other’s company.

First-year Asma Mohamed studying at the UC’s Multicultural Center.

For some students, the start of the semester has brought with it renewed academic pressure. First-year Peter Valentine, for example, was surprised by his workload. “It was something of a shock of having had many sleepless nights because I've stayed up and worked on my work: planning for essays, making presentations,” he said.

Asma Mohamed, a nursing major, can relate. “I’m trying not to slack off. I did really well the first semester: I got a 4.0 and everything. I don't want to lose that.” 

Mohamed, like many students at Adelphi, uses competition as a source of motivation and inspiration. “How do I keep myself going? Just pressure, you know? I got a brother who's in Stony Brook, and he's really smart, Masha'Allah. I need to perform so that I don't fall under his shadow again because that happened while we were in high school […] I don't feel content unless I get good grades, so that's how I keep myself going,” she said. 

Putting such pressure on oneself can be quite exhausting. “I definitely feel a bit more tired than last [semester], even though I did have a month-long break,” said Mohamed.

First-year Alex Gaeta (left) with a friend.

For the most part, there haven’t been any drastic changes to campus. That’s been a source of discontentment for some. Alex Gaeta, a first-year acting major, uses a wheelchair. She continues to find it difficult to navigate the campus.

“I used crutches all of last semester and I've come back and I'm in a wheelchair and I've had extreme difficulty navigating the campus,” she said. “I, in my wheelchair, keep getting stuck in potholes on my way to Post Hall. I can barely get up the ramps, and I'm having joint dislocations trying to get up them. The school has thus far not been responsive to my concerns at all. It's been very difficult to get anything addressed.”

The lack of accessibility makes everyday activities difficult for her. She said she spoke to the Student Access Office about the ramps and the potholes. “They said that that's kind of the facilities department and they can't really help me with that beyond moving my classes out of buildings that have steep ramps,” she said. “That doesn't change the fact that I still can't get into Post Hall easily, and I still can't get into the UC easily. I can't even get into my dorm hall easily. It's terrible.” 

Fortunately, her experience hasn’t been all bad. “I’ve been happy to see my friends again. And I have some really good professors this semester […] They've been really accommodating. I really like the Theater Department staff.”

The first-year students interviewed have learned from their experiences last semester. They offer some advice for their fellow students.

“I could use some advice myself, but don't slack off–that's the main thing. And also, utilize your professors and go to office hours,” said Mohamed.

Valentine said, “Don't ever forget to take your medications. Get to wherever you want to eat at least 30 minutes before your class, because you don't know how busy they are. Finally, get to sleep no later than 10, if possible.” 

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