The move to college is considered one of life’s defining
moments, offering students exposure to new ideas, experiences and responsibilities. Every year college campuses
are buzzing with new students trying to adjust not only to a new school year, but also to a whole new lifestyle.
This year, Temple welcomed 6,710 new students, of which 4,059 were freshmen. “The Temple News” will capture
the experiences of the Class of 2010 as it navigates through the self-guided world of college.
Throughout the next four years, we will attempt to track the progression of four diverse Temple freshmen as they continue to acquaint themselves with college life.
“I am just getting a feel for everything,” said psychology
major Neteria Augcomfar of her first few weeks at Temple.
The 17-year-old Brooklyn native said that she did not have a hard time adjusting to Temple.
“Walking around Temple … it’s like 42d Street,” Augcomfar said. “There are so many people … and these people can’t walk.”
Augcomfar attributed her easy adjustment to the independence
she acquired from traveling to four different countries and being raised with a strong sense of identity.
“I’ve always been my own person,” Augcomfar said. “But [traveling] was when I started feeling more independent.”
Traveling inspired her to minor in French, which she studied for three years in high school.
“Having went to Senegal in West Africa where the main language is French and … being able to communicate in a language I was slowly learning … was totally mind-blowing for me,” Augcomfar said.
She is enrolled in a French course – her favorite class. However, Augcomfar already has plans to change her major.
“I’m interested in too many things,” Augcomfar said. “So I’m going to leave it as psychology for now.”
Augcomfar considered several other colleges, including
University of Maryland, before choosing Temple. However, the diversity, location and “just the feel of the campus” made Temple a good fit for her.
“I’m all about the vibe, the aura. If I don’t fit in, I am not going to stay there. I don’t try and force it,” Augcomfar said.
Fitting in at Temple has not been a problem so far, especially since Augcomfar made a few unexpected friends during orientation.
This semester, she said she hopes to join a poetry group and see “Philly for what it really is.”
Communications major Brandon Wilkins of Cheltenham, Pa., said he is glad he chose to come to Temple, although initially
he was not so sure.
“At first, I didn’t think the people were that friendly. I thought … that we were all just numbers walking around,” said Wilkins, who lives in Hardwick Hall. “Now that I am here and people are getting more comfortable, I don’t even feel like I’m a number.”
Wilkins originally wanted to attend a historically black college since both of his parents went to Cheyney University. He was set to go to Howard University in Washington, D.C., until he visited the campus and decided that it wasn’t what he wanted.
“The people weren’t as friendly as I thought they were going to be,” Wilkins said, adding that Howard’s communication courses were primarily geared toward radio broadcasting.
Although he was convinced in high school that he would become a radio DJ, after serving as his school’s morning announcer, Wilkins said he wanted to explore all forms of media and received positive feedback about the course variety at Temple’s School of Communications and Theater.
“I didn’t want to go to a college just for the experience. I wanted to go to college to get something out of it,” Wilkins said. “That’s when I wanted to go Temple.”
Wilkins likes that “you could never get bored” on campus since there is always something to do. This semester, he wants to get good grades and eventually learn to skateboard.
Hailing from Mount Pocono, Pa., Linda Yepez said she felt weird about living on campus, anticipating that it would be hard to get around and to get know a lot of people because of Temple’s size.
“I didn’t know I was going to meet a lot of people so fast,” said Yepez, an accounting major.
She added that everyone she has met was friendly and helpful, especially when she was navigating campus alone on the first day of class.
“There are so many ways to get to each building and I always end up taking the longest way,” Yepez said. “But someone is always there to show me where I am supposed to go.”
Yepez is getting used to Temple and has already joined the Accounting Professional Society on campus. Last week she went to her first group fitness session with a friend at the IBC, where she plans on “doing a lot of classes like Pilates.”
Linda also attended her first Temple football game where she said she was impressed by Temple’s school spirit.
“Even though Temple didn’t win, I feel like we have a lot of school pride,” said Yepez, who plans on trying out for Temple cheerleading team in her sophomore year.
Yepez likes to explore Philadelphia, where she said she always wants a cheese steak, adding that South Street has the best cheesesteaks. “I’ll go there if I’m bored,” she said.
Her goal this semester is to pass all of her classes without “slacking at all and maybe even get a part-time job,” although Yepez said she will remember her mother’s advice to not stress herself out too much.
Bernardo Castro, a business management major, had two options for college: school in England or in the United States.
“I heard England was boring and that there wasn’t much to do there,” explained the international student from Brazil. “The U.S. … has people from all over the world. I like that.”
So Castro chose come to America and, following the advice of his high school advisor, enrolled at Temple because of its ranking as a diverse university. Bernardo admitted he was “kind of scared” to study in the U.S. because he thought the work would be hard and the people would be “cold and unfriendly.”
“I thought I would want to go back to Brazil, but I don’t,” said Castro. “I want to stay here for as long as I can.”
Castro, who lives in 1300 with three other international students, is intrigued by Temple’s large size because “there are always people around campus.”
He said he wants to experience as much he can before his studies get harder and has already made frequent trips to Center City.
“It’s a lot bigger than the town I am from in Brazil,” said Castro, adding that he has also visited New York City twice in the last three weeks.
Before the end of the semester, Castro hopes to join a student organization, although he is not sure which one.
“But no frats. I don’t want to be in a fraternity,” Castro said, adding that he does enjoy their parties.
Malaika T. Carpenter can be reached at email@example.com.