Newbies get help settling in college

Balancing academics with a new found freedom can be difficult for new college students.

“Unfortunately, many students leave college within the first year because they feel lonely and think no one cares,” said Dorothy Henderson, dean of General Studies.

No matter what your classification, every student on campus has had a unique experience. For some it has been disappointing, while others find that being a Rattler is very enjoyable.

For 18-year-old Brandon Bailey, a computer-engineering student from Ft. Washington, Md., being a freshman at Florida A&M University has been exciting.

“(FAMU) opened my eyes to a lot of things that I didn’t see at home,” Bailey said.

Prior to even laying a foot on campus, Bailey thought FAMU would resemble that of the universities in his hometown.

“I thought it would be more like the University of Maryland and better than FSU. But I think it’s fun and it’s great, but you can tell we’re lacking funds,” said Bailey.

Freshman Janay Barnes also wanted to experience an HBCU. Barnes describes her first semester at FAMU somewhat different from that of Bailey.

For Barnes, being a freshman at FAMU means dealing with being stereotyped.

“People think I’m young and naive. But you have to figure stuff out from people who have already been here,” said Barnes an 18-year-old nursing student from Pensacola.

The atmosphere at FAMU is also something freshmen have had to adjust to.

“The dudes here are more aggressive. It’s different from high school because you have more freedom. But it’s also superficial because of the females walking around campus with stilettos on when it’s raining,” Barnes said.

For Bailey and Barnes, being first-year college students has made them more aware of their life goals and goals they would like to achieve while at FAMU.

While it may have been hard to find ways to balance studying with partying during their first semester at FAMU, Bailey and Barnes have each made it a priority to change that for spring.

“I’m actually studying more this semester and I don’t have any holds on my account,” Barnes said.

Getting help with academics may be exactly what freshmen need to have a successful college career said Henderson.

This is why FAMU has implemented the Freshman/ Sophomore Year Experience Program, which began in the fall under the School of General Studies.

The two-year program is designed “keeps them on track and moving in a timely fashion,” said Henderson, supervisor of the program.

The FSYEP provides help to freshmen and sophomores not only with academics, but also helps them with etiquette, study skills and time management.

There are also programs on sexual violence prevention, creating the perfect image as a freshman, and career fair preparation.

Contact Shayla Cooper at