Making Connections

Associate Director of First and Second Year Programs, Dr. Akai Smith speaks with a student during the “Making Connections on the Bluff” event held on Wednesday, January 22 inside the Royal Cotillion Ballroom. 

(Kaylah Ford/DIGEST)

First Year Experience (FYE) kicked off the spring semester with a bang as they held their first informal session in the Cotillion Ballroom with the goal of recruiting new members interested in what the student-led organization does. 

Out of all the organizations on campus, The First Year Experience is one of the few that specializes in helping  freshmen transition smoothly into college life. This includes giving experienced perspectives to younger students, which can be a helpful tool to first-year students trying to get through their first two semesters of college. 

“Ever since I was introduced to my mentor, it has been life changing [for me],”  said freshman English major Carlos Brister. According to Brister, the program helps lead new students to better position themselves as a part of the Jaguar Nation. 

Working with the organization are over forty student mentors stemming from multiple majors. According to Brister, this melting pot of backgrounds serves the purpose of giving students from all backgrounds the opportunity to find a mentor of their own. 

Some of the methods used by FYE to establish the building blocks of good habits includes attending Works Keys, which helps to give freshmen an idea of what their future in the workforce will be like. Similarly, there were also time management sessions that put an emphasis on not spreading yourself too thin with multiple commitments and making time for students to decompress from classes, clubs, etc. 

When asked what her favorite part about being able to play the role that she does in helping incoming freshmen adjust to the college lifestyle, the Assistant Director of First and Second Year Program,  Avis O’Bryant-Chaney said, “Being able to be in a situation where we are able to touch and change so many lives, and thought processes is beyond measure,”

“When you have a vision and dream of wanting to become something in life you have to go through struggles,” said senior marketing major Marlin Williams. For students like Williams, there are many struggles that must be dealt with coming from first generation college households. Through the help of organizations like FYE, rising above such circumstances has become a reality to students like Williams. 

“There are gaps that are preventing you from being great , so in order to become great you have to go through the fire.” Said by Williams.

Their informational during the event covered how FYE came about and what FYE mainly assists students with presentations being done by Dr. Akai Smith. The event saw a good turn out, which according to O’Bryant Chaney, “If you had to put a price on it, it would be priceless.”

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