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First-year Park Scholars share their experiences with the transition to collegiate life at IC
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
By Kelsey McKim '16
Before I took my first steps on campus this August, I knew that when I came to Ithaca College, I would be looking for a sense of community. I was the only student at my high school who chose to attend IC, and I am also, as far as I know, the only freshman at Ithaca from my home state of Kentucky. I had apprehensions about making the trek up to Ithaca, only to be lost in a sea of native New Yorkers.
It turns out that I had no reason at all to worry.
The student population of IC is very diverse and made up of people from all over New York, the United States, and the world.
Nowhere else is this diversity more apparent than in the first and second floors of the Terrace 3 residence hall, where the members of the H.O.M.E. (Housing Offering Multicultural Experience) Program live. I live in down the hall from students who are citizens of China, Canada, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, and Zimbabwe, among others.
H.O.M.E. participants include all of the first-year Park and Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars, many of the first-year international students, and other freshmen who are interested in learning about different cultures. Everyone in the H.O.M.E. Program participates in a variety of different activities and workshops designed to educate students about different cultures and demographics. The programming covers topics as plentiful as the majors offered in the Park School. So far, I’ve listened to a lecture by author Maura Cullen; watched I Stand Corrected, a film screened by the Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Education, Outreach & Services; and attended the workshop “Why Asian-American Studies Matters,” all three of which I’ve found to be quite interesting and engaging.
I’ve noticed that the atmosphere in Terrace 3 is very open and seems friendlier than some of the other dorms that I’ve visited, partially because many H.O.M.E. members have similar interests. For instance, I and the other politically active students have made a habit of watching the presidential debates together in the Terrace 3 lounge. We stock up on snacks and heckle the candidates in a good-natured way, then discuss our own takes on the issues.
In the H.O.M.E. Program, I’ve found a community in which I feel comfortable and supported. I highly recommend the program to any prospective IC student, regardless of whether he or she becomes a Park Scholar.
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