The first semester of college can be both exciting and nerve-wracking for most students, yet incoming freshman Julia Viola is optimistic and up to the challenge.
Viola, of Pitman, who finished second in her high school graduating class, secured a much-coveted seat in the Rowan College at Gloucester County Nursing program. To prepare for her first semester in college, she has already visited the campus and scheduled her fall classes — as well as indulged in "some fun in the sun" vacation time.
Attending the All College Day Orientation on Tuesday, Sept. 2, will wrap up her college-prep process. Faculty and staff will be available the day of the event to share need-to-know information in a stress-free environment as students enjoy campus tours, complimentary refreshments and recreational activities. This annual event provides new and returning students with a warm welcome as the campus community kicks off the academic year.
"I am excited to start classes and live the college experience for myself," said Viola. "All College Day sounds like it will be a lot of fun and enjoyable. It will be nice to meet my professors and classmates ahead of time. Right now, I do not know anyone else in the Nursing program."
Orientation begins in the Physical Education Center with a welcome by RCGC President Frederick Keating, general college information, rules and instructions for a new social media contest and a presentation by Dion Jordan, a motivational speaker who has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network and in USA Today. Known as "The Potentialist," Jordan offers tips and tricks for surviving the first year of college. His talk touches upon finding balance between work and play, landing jobs and internships, developing effective study habits and making extra money while still in school. Following the presentation, students head to orientation breakout sessions within the academic departments where they meet deans and professors to explore their programs of study.
New to All College Day this year is the #RowanCollege social media contest. The contest is part of a campaign to promote the College's name change and premier partnership with Rowan University. Students will have the opportunity to submit photos in five categories for a chance to win an Xbox One, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, $100 gas gift card and parking spot in the faculty lot, laptop or two VIP packages to the 2015 KotoriCon anime convention.
To participate, students must pick up a free #RowanCollege T-shirt during orientation and snap pictures of themselves based on five themes. The contest runs from Sept. 2 to Oct. 6, at which time winners receive their grand prizes at the Fall Open House on Oct. 16.
"The All College Day event is meant as an ice-breaker," said Cheryl McBride, director of Student Life. "Students can obtain valuable information pertinent to their college year at RCGC. Our hope is for the students to become engaged and feel connected to the campus."
In addition to exploring the campus, All College Day offers students the opportunity to socialize and acquaint themselves with fellow classmates. Beginning at 12 p.m., students can visit the College Center where a photo booth and activities provide entertainment and create a relaxing atmosphere. Students are invited to enjoy a complimentary lunch at GioFano's Bistro in the cafeteria.
Returning sophomore Leon Purvis, of Glassboro, noted that last year's All College Day provided him with vital insight into what higher education is all about.
"Orientation lets freshmen know what to expect their first semester of college. You get a vibe for what the college is like, how the professors are and what they require of their students," said Purvis. "A lot happens your first year. I now have a better idea of what I want to do with my life thanks to my internship."
Purvis, a communications major, interned with Clear Channel – Philadelphia this summer in the broadcast division. This department produces the Power 99, Radio 104.5, Q 102 and 106.1 radio stations. Nik the Web Chick, Ed Sheeran, Phillip Phillips and Kendall Smith were a few of the celebrities Purvis met while on the job through his RCGC-sponsored co-op.
"My advice to incoming freshmen is to get involved at the college. Keep you GPA up and listen to your professors," said Purvis. "Most importantly, just have fun. College is a blast."