Born in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, Karon J. Green's experience with JWU’s First Year Program provided him with lasting memories and a friendship that feels just like family.
The college journey begins with one step through one application, among thousands, and when you’re finally selected it’s probably the best feeling in the world.
As the old saying goes, "you meet your lifelong friends in college." Really? Is that so? Let’s not let this common cliché lose its eminent value, but let’s understand that the college experience provides opportunities to make a lasting network of connections.
As a first year student, I started out in the First Year Experience (FYE) Program and it helped me to become knowledgeable about JWU’s offerings and developed great and long-lasting friendships with other first year students.
The FYE Program is weeklong, pre-college event led by faculty/staff and student leaders.The experience is designed to give first year students an intellectual and co-curricular journey at JWU that helps students to adjust to college life by providing a unique learning experience. Through an extensive application process, I became a student leader the following year. Since I was a previous participant, it allowed me to fit into the shoes of the first year students and truly understand the moments of uncertainty while entering this unknown week of events. The icebreakers and fun activities during those long days allowed time for great engagement and deep conversations. At first, I thought most of those friendships would dissolve after that week, but my assumption proved to be wrong.
The Icebreaker Activity Saves the Day
During an icebreaker activity, I met one of the quieter students.His name was Sinjin Zazzaro. At the time, Sinjin was sitting in the corner and as a trained and highly motivated FYE Leader, I quickly dashed over to introduce myself to bring him back to the larger group. It was funny to think that a 6’3 football player from Windsor, Connecticut would have so much in common with a 5’9 track star from the Caribbean. I could tell you that Sinjin would be living in the exact same room in McNulty Hall that I lived in during my freshman year. I could also tell you that we never made it back over to the larger group because of the laughter and intriguing conversations that we had over our simple commonality. It was a great start to a friendship that would have never been formed otherwise.
The final ceremony dinner at the Biltmore Hotel marked the close of a week of intensive bonding and entertaining activities that signified the end of the 2013 FYE Program. We said our goodbyes and exchanged numbers in hopes of remaining in contact as we ventured on our separate paths to begin the fall term. Throughout the year, we would meet up periodically at the dining hall or randomly bump into each other on campus. I was able to serve as a resource for Sinjin by helping him navigate through his first year. On the other hand, Sinjin’s humor and smooth personality helped to keep me grounded through a very hectic and transitional time in my sophomore year. We were both adjusting to this seemingly new stage in our lives and we both served as a brother’s keeper for one another.
A Friendship Formed in the FYE Program Lasts Many Years
Today, the brotherhood between us still goes strong like a wildfire and has definitely been great bond during our college experience. As I reflect on my time at JWU, I’m already starting to cherish the meaningful friendships made by valuing them highly. JWU provides a wealth of opportunities for growth and personal reflection through avenues like the FYE Program that serve as a catalyst in integrating students into the university community. Therefore, I encourage everyone to take advantage of all that JWU has to offer.