‘Homesick patrol’ stops freshmen from leaving

Going to college is by far one of the most exciting times in the lives of those privileged enough to have the opportunity. Sometimes the summer separating a student’s senior year of high school from the first semester as a college freshmen can seem like an eternity. Excitement builds; the shopping for college is finally done; mail registration for first semester courses is executed flawlessly; and new addresses, phone numbers and emails are exchanged among the old high school clique.

The first weeks on campus are a blur of Orientation, finding the right classrooms, navigating the bookstore, tying up loose ends in Financial Aid and Student Accounts, checking in with parents, making new friends and, yes, even the ceremonial first trip to the laundry room. Sometimes this blur is easier for some students to navigate than for others. Some students seem to be able to figure everything out, and find that they do not feel homesick for a moment.

For others the blur of the transition to college can last a semester- or longer.

“If a student finds that he or she is having a hard time adjusting to life at the University of Miami, to the point where he or she may be thing about going home, we are here to help,” said Catherine Long, a Retention Advisor in the Office of the Dean of Enrollments.

“Among our many duties, we work with students who encounter difficulties understanding the way things work at the University of Miami and do not know where to turn for help, to those who express a desire to leave. I guess you can consider us a resource for students who need help adjusting to life at UM, the ‘homesick patrol.'”

Mary June So, also a Retention Advisor agreed, “Not only do we try to help students one-on-one who are having difficulty making the transition to college life,” she said, “but we also spend a good amount of time bringing members of the University of Miami community together to put on programs for students such as Pathways to Achieving Student Success [PASS] Week, which occurs during the first semester for all students who wish to get assistance in specific areas they are having trouble with, from finances and writing a good paper, to selecting a major or finding an internship.”

“Not too long ago, I was a freshman on this campus,” said Long. “Wow, what a difference stuff like this would have made in helping me to make the transition to college life and understand this place that I absolutely love!”

“Students should know that our doors, inboxes and phone lines are always open,” said So.

Mary June So can be reached at (305)284-5456 or mso@miami.edu, and Catherine Long can be reached at (305)284-6804 or clong@miami.edu.