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Getting Oriented 

Welcome to UAlbany, new freshmen and transfers!  

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 17, 2017) – Matthew Martinez remembers the day his family dropped him off at UAlbany to begin his freshman year.

When it was time for them to leave, Matt turned around to see his little brother with his head down, crying.

“What’s the matter?” Matt asked.

“You’re leaving me,” said his brother.

It was a tough moment.

“I love my little brother more than anything in the whole world,” said Matt, a criminal justice and political science major from Brooklyn, N.Y. Matt reassured him that he would come home to visit, and that even though he was away at college, he would always be there for his brother.

It meant a lot to Matt that his family came to see him off and that they support him.

Matt, an Educational Opportunities Program student who is entering his sophomore year, told this story at a recent orientation session for families of incoming freshmen.

Speakers from various offices on campus covered topics including career development, keeping your laptop safe (lock your dorm room door when you’re not there) and homesickness. Matt and three other orientation leaders – Pam Mejia, Jaleen Fraser and Shelby Mack – talked about how they successfully made the transition from home to university life. 

Orientation leaders

From left, Shelby Mack, Pam Mejia, Matthew Martinez and Jaleen Fraser welcome incoming freshmen and their families to UAlbany.

Approximately 2,300 freshmen and 1,300 transfer students are attending Orientation sessions through July 31. The sessions are run by the Office of Orientation and Transition Programs.

Jaleen, who will be a junior in the fall, responded to a question about tutoring. “First semester I got a 3.0. The next semester, I went to tutoring for every class and I made the Dean’s List,” she said. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Jaleen is a human biology major who now resides in Queens, N.Y.

The group gave some tips for incoming freshmen. All four emphasized the importance of taking advantage of the many resources UAlbany has to offer.

From Shelby: “I knew college would be work (more work than high school), but I didn’t realize how much work it would be.” She mastered time management skills, and was able to handle the academic load.

Shelby, a double major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and sociology, is from Heuvelton, N.Y., and will be a junior in the fall.

From Pam: “Just bring what you need.” Email your roommate ahead of time and coordinate on who is bringing the TV and who is bringing the printer. Pam, who plays piano and volleyball, will be a sophomore in the fall.

From Matt: “Sit in the front row of your classes. Be organized and plan ahead.”

From Pam: “Take time to talk to others.” She didn’t know anyone when she arrived on campus, but made the effort to make new friends.

From Shelby: “Make a packing list.” Some items she found useful to bring to college were duct tape, a laptop and a fan.

They talked about the assistance they sought and received from the University Libraries, the Writing Center, getting an academic planner so as not to miss assignment deadlines, taking advantage of walk-in services at Financial Aid, and checking out the group exercise classes.

Finally, the talk turned to laundry.

The students suggested bringing a drying rack and laundry detergent. There are plenty of washers and dryers and there’s even an app that tells you which washers are in use, to save you a trip down to the basement.

“My mom always used to do my laundry,” said Matt. After about two weeks on campus, he noticed the pile of dirty clothes was growing. “I never did laundry in my whole life until I came here.” So he went out, bought some laundry detergent, learned where to put the soap, the fabric softener and the bleach. He found out it was easy. “And now I love to do laundry,” he said, smiling.

The students’ least favorite thing about UAlbany?

“There is so much to do, I can’t do everything,” Jaleen said.

From Matt: “Honestly, there is nothing I don’t like about UAlbany.”

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.