“Student Says, Parent Says” - Advice from a sophomore…and her mom
We asked Morgan Ellis, and her mom, Diane, to answer some questions about the start of their Fisher family journey.
Q: Did you feel ready to come to Fisher by the time orientation came around?
A: By the time it came to leave my house where I have spent the last 18 years of my life and start the next chapter of my life at St. John Fisher College, I was a little excited and a little nervous. But I knew it was time to spread my wings and fly. I was as ready as I ever could have been, and I just had to see what was awaiting me.
Q: What happened your first weekend, once your parents left and orientation was underway? How did you feel?
A: I was expecting to be sad and have tears in my eyes when my family left me the first day of orientation, but surprisingly, neither of those happened. I was excited to be on my own and be the independent woman that I am. Orientation kept me busy and allowed me to learn a lot about Fisher in a short amount of time. It definitely was a stepping stone to my first year of college.
Q: Tell me about your first few weeks of classes. Did you enjoy them? Were you overwhelmed?
A: I had mixed feelings about the first few weeks of classes. Going into them I did not know any of the teachers and, for the most part, none of my classmates, which intimidated me a little. I went into classes for the first time with an open mind and that is all you can really do. After getting comfortable and getting to know my teachers, classmates, and even the classrooms, I was feeling more confident than overwhelmed. The key to the first few weeks of classes is time and accepting any kind of change that you may be faced with.
Q: Did you experience homesickness at all? What resources on campus did you use to help you through that time?
A: Homesickness was my biggest weakness. I live in a very small and close-knit community, and I was also very close to my immediate family as well as aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, so I knew this was going to be my biggest struggle. I did not go to any on-campus resources to help me through this time, but I knew there was a lot of support if I ever needed it. I learned that there was a counselor in the Wellness Center if I wanted professional advice, and I also was aware that my two RAs were willing to help us through any problem we might have.
Q: When would you say you finally felt settled, with a routine and a comfort level on campus?
A: It may have taken me a little longer than others to feel comfortable on campus, but I definitely did reach that point. The most comfortable I felt the first semester was probably a month after classes started. I felt even more confident and comfortable the second semester when I came back after Christmas/Winter break. I knew what I was coming into, knew my way around, knew the amount of work I would be getting, had a bigger circle of friends, and a stronger sense of time management, among other things. Making the transition from high school to college will probably be one of the biggest changes a person will experience - from the amount of responsibility you gain, the amount of homework you receive, and even the amount of freedom and independence you have. Some of the changes experienced may be easier to get comfortable with than others. But with enough time, confidence, and perseverance, anything can happen.
Q: Do you have any advice you'd give to incoming freshmen, who perhaps may feel a little nervous or apprehensive?
A: My biggest piece of advice is to always give everything a second chance and never lose confidence in yourself. The obstacles you face may not be easy. You may have to work hard, whether it is at making friends, on coursework, or getting used to being away from home. But in the end, it is worth it. I have never been so happy at Fisher and I have learned so much about myself through my experience as a freshman.
Q: Tell me a little about orientation weekend, setting up your student's room, and saying your goodbyes.
A: It was a little sad sending my first child off to college, but it was an organized process. Fisher was very helpful in having older students help the freshman get their rooms settled and being their guide for the weekend, answering any questions they might have.
Q: How did your student do the first few weeks at Fisher? Did he/she struggle? What kind of advice did you give to them?
A: The first week was the toughest on my daughter but it did not stop her from finding a solution to the problem. She did not struggle with the work or her classes, but mostly being away from home. I told her to hang in there and it would get better with time and patience. The most you can do for your child is to support them in any decision they make and let them learn on their own from the decision that they choose.
Q: What resources on campus do you think helped your student adjust the most during his/her transition from high school to college?
A: I think what helped my daughter the most was the friends she made. They were understanding of her situation, and she had two cousins that were in their second year at Fisher that welcomed her with open arms. With such a small school, it was easy for her to make a connection and relate with the small community aspect like she had at home.