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Welcome to it

by Jazzy Gray

photo by Carina Lee

Winter is coming. And for a quarter of BU’s Undergraduate population, this winter marks a milestone. Yes, this winter will begin with the finish of nearly 3,200 students’ first semester of their freshman year of college.

For some, this transition has been significantly eased by the BU course FY101.

First-year experience student Angela Song (CAS ‘23) said, “I learned a lot [through FY101] like how everybody feels homesick, thinks about what to do in their future, and what classes to take.”

The First-Year Experience Program, or FY101, is a one-credit course designed to ease first-year students into their first semester of college at BU.

Each college has its own sections, allowing students to engage with their peers and classmates in a low-stress environment.

An instructor for one of the three COM-specific First-Year Experience courses, Emma Guillen, said, “The number one goal of FY101 is for students to walk away with the confidence, knowledge, and tools they need to successfully navigate life at BU.”

To accomplish this goal, each class focuses on helping students prepare to overcome potential challenges related to the “academic, social, and cultural aspects of college life,” said Guillen. Class content includes ways to maintain your health and wellness, find success in your individual academic pathway, and engage with the greater BU community, for example.

But Zach Fishman (CAS ‘23) warns against expecting too much from the class. “Looking back, I am glad in some ways that I took the class, but to the average person I don’t know if I’d recommend it.”

While the course is marketed as being a “continuation of the orientation process,” Fishman argued, “most of the information you have already” learned from a mandated module, Orientation, or your RA.

But there are some things that are entirely unique to the course. The activities, for example, just can’t be replicated. Each year, FY101 hosts a variety of activities to build community within the program. The trip to Salem during the Halloween season, discounted Red Sox tickets, and Duck Boat tours are only the beginning.

The course’s crown jewel, of course, is the Midnight Breakfast set to take place this year on December 11th. Although the Midnight Breakfast is open to all first-year students with a valid BU ID, the event is hosted by the FY101 Program.

Ultimately, Song and Fishman suggest future freshmen give the class a try.

“I’d recommend maybe signing up for it if it sounds interesting and then see if you like it. And if not, just drop the class in the first few weeks,” Fishman suggested for future freshmen who might be on the fence about whether or not to take the course.

“It’ll be a good time to just sit down and learn how you’re not alone in this big community. Everyone went through the same thing, so don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed,” said Song.

FY101 may be imperfect to some, but its community-building is unparalleled. Its shared community keeps drawing people to the course — students, peer mentors, and instructors.

Guillen stated, “It’s been such a privilege getting to know some of COM’s class of 2023 this fall. Every week I’m blown away by the brilliance, kindness, and character of my students — they’re the ones who will be shaping our future, and boy, will it be bright.”

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