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First-year Park Scholars share their experiences with the transition to collegiate life at IC
Friday, November 8, 2013
by Alexa Salvato '17
When I told people from my hometown that I was in a class of 11 fellow freshman Park Scholars- all of whom I would have a first-semester course with and interact with in various capacities through the semester- they were shocked to find out that we were also all living on the same floor of the same building. “Isn’t that too much?” they asked.
So far, I would say that it is absolutely not.
All freshman Park Scholars, as well as Martin Luther King Jr Scholars, live in the HOME Program, which stands for Housing Offering a Multicultural Experience. As a part of the HOME program, we are expected to attend six different workshops about leadership and diversity per semester. Examples include: faculty-led workshops hosted in the very lounge of our building; a lecture on the untold story of FDR and European Jews during World War II; an awesome and fun event like the One World Concert; or an entertaining and informative documentary presented by the LGBT Center. Clearly, the “mandatory” six events are quite often exceeded because of how many of these activities are simply fun and interesting to attend.
Because few of us have the exact same majors, living in the same space affords us the opportunity to get to know each other and help each other. Attending meals together allows endless opportunities to talk about our interests and pasts, and it’s always fun when a bunch of us gather in the lounge to watch a movie together too.
Most importantly, we are creating a community of both friends and scholars. Coupled with the MLKs, living in Terrace 3 allows us to have a genuine group of people who care about learning, and not just in terms of the perfect GPA. It’s a place that equally creates organic opportunities to talk about things from a unique perspective, to discuss things intellectually, and to learn so much from the people in this building who are from all around the country and the world.
Living in Terrace 3, and in the HOME Program, has turned out to be one of the best parts of my first semester of college. I’m learning about new concepts and cultures, seeing things from new perspectives, and becoming a part of a supportive community of peers- what could be better?
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