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Belles Beginnings helps new College students acclimate

| Tuesday, August 21, 2018

This past weekend, Saint Mary’s class of 2022 took part in Belles Beginnings, the College’s orientation program where students began their transition into college life.

Peer mentors assisted in this transition by working alongside professors to help answer questions about college life. In addition to peer mentors helping students one-on-one, campus organizations hosted sessions about financial aid, study abroad, campus ministry and various other college programs.

Photo courtesy of Madeline Flynn

Saint Mary’s students welcome members of the Class of 2022 to campus over the College’s Belles Beginning weekend, when new students arrived to campus and were exposed to the school’s resources.

Senior and student body president Madeleine Corcoran said Belles Beginnings helps new Saint Mary’s students get situated prior to the start of the new year.

“It’s a very full weekend for the first year and transfer students,” Corcoran said. “It is a good mix of academic, social and resourceful information when first arriving to campus. This year we had more social events for the students and less trainings. It has become more of a student-led orientation, which makes sure the information and sessions are relevant and important to current students.”

Corcoran said Saint Mary’s is uniquely positioned to offer a personalized welcome to new students

“Saint Mary’s is a truly unique community and sisterhood,” Corcoran said. “I believe orientation welcomes the new Belles to their home for the next four years. Everyone on campus is so excited for the new class to arrive and can’t wait to personally greet them. This is not something every school can offer, but the size, pride and community of Saint Mary’s makes it possible.”

Other than the sessions offered by the college, first year students are placed in a first year common course that is a basic introduction into facets of the academic experience, according to Saint Mary’s course catalog. This class is accompanied by a peer mentor who can answer questions based on their own experiences.

“We serve as a guide, example and resource for incoming freshmen,” peer mentor and senior Maeve McMahon said. ”We’re also students, we offer to help new Saint Mary’s women with their adjustment into college through a perspective closer to their age.”

First year Shelby Franken said she enjoyed the variety of options offered at Belles Beginnings.

“I enjoyed how you didn’t have to go to everything,” Frenken said. “You could pick what was tailored to you and your needs. Study abroad and where I want to study abroad and that session just gave more information on it, and spirituality and history in our campus spaces helped see where everything was at and got me used to the campus.”

Alexis Fady, another first year, said she appreciates the close-knit nature of the Saint Mary’s community.

“I was worried,” Fady said. “If my family ever comes to campus I want [a student] to be able to know who I am. If you go to a school with thousands of students no one knows anyone. The sisterhood here is nice because everyone cares. Seeing sisterhood when I came to visit was what drew me here.”

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