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Features

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

A Senior’s Guide Through Freshman Year

Upperclassmen Give Tips to Freshman for Their First Semester

guide_through_freshman_yearThe first week back to college: a week of reuniting with friends, catching a few more beach days, and relaxing before the semester's work begins.

For freshman, the first week can be a little different. In fact, it can be overwhelming, scary, and very, very confusing. They might not know their roommates, they definitely don't know where their classes are, and this is probably their first time living away from home.

Walking around campus, especially as a senior, I can spot freshman off the bat. They look a little more lost, confused and panicked than the rest of us. They also look much younger. Did I look that young three years ago? No. Definitely not. Probably.

For a moment I felt the nostalgia of high school, being the oldest on campus. Except being a senior in high school meant you were off to college soon. Being a senior in college means you are off to the real world soon. Not as cool of a feeling.

As a group of freshman walked past me, lanyards around their necks, frantically looking from schedule to building, I smiled. I remember being in that position. We were all, at one point, in that position. So fear not my freshman friends, it definitely gets easier. Just to help you out though, here are some things I wish people told me.

Go out of your way to meet new people. I know, this is obvious; of course you will meet new people. You have a new roommate, you have multiple classes full of new people, and you see new faces at parties. If you came to college with a group of friends, you might stick to them for comfort and think hey, I have my group of friends. Don't get me wrong, this is awesome and they will have your back when things are tough, especially in the beginning. But it definitely doesn't hurt to reach out and find new friends too.

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Not Your Typical American Girl

On April 17, 1975, as the Khmer Rouge seized the capital of Phnom Penh, the life of a six-year-old girl named Bopha Yonge was changed forever. Her family was driven out of their village of Bātdâmbâng and with millions of others, was forced straight into Hell. In a country that is less than half the size of CA, leader of Khmer Rouge and paramilitary dictator Pol Pot sought out to purify Cambodia and eliminate educated people in order to nationalize peasant farming. More than one million people died.

Now, 34 years later, Bopha reflects on the memories of living, experiencing, and escaping the hardships her and her family faced during the Khmer Rouge reign. Bopha Yonge was her original name before the Khmer Rouge clutched the capital. It was her name before hostility and greed stepped into control. It was her name before the word "lifeless" could be seen on the people of Cambodia, dead or alive. It was her name before the vivacious life of Cambodia was blown out; it was her name before Pol Pot announced that every birth certificate, passport, and other forms of identification were going to be burned.

"It's like you no exist no more—your past erased and no one knows," said Bopha as her eyes darted toward the floor. She sat silent for a few moments; breathing evenly, her breath was calm despite her panicked eyes.

Every civilian in Cambodia received a new name and burden. Bopha's father had passed away before she received her new name, Chrep. And eventually received a new last name when her mother married her stepfather. Bopha's new identity was Chrep Chhouth, pronounced as Shhrep Chtruth. Her new name did not hold the significance of her original, even though her new birth certificates and new forms of identification had her new name written on them.

"I'm Chrep to some and Bopha to others, like two people but one person," Bopha said. Her eyes lit up ever so slightly, as if she was smirking with them as she made a little joke.

Millions were forced to leave their cities and villages to live on farmland to work for Pot. People worked mandatory 16-18 hour days to help gain resources to benefit the regime. Some days would be hot, stifling breath without being able to enjoy the refreshing taste of water as it quenches thirst.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu