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Class of 2026 looks forward to the fall semester

First-year Rutgers students share their thoughts on Welcome Week events, potential extracurricular choices and what they are least excited about for the fall semester. – Photo by Amanda Stellwag

Through a series of Welcome Week programs including the new student convocation, Scarlet Carnivale on the Livingston campus, Scarlet Rec Fest and the Involvement Fair, Rutgers greeted first-year and transfer students from the Class of 2026. 

Aimee Gil, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said she attended several Welcome Week events as well as the Paul Robeson Success Institute, a four-day program held before the start of Welcome Week. 

"I was kind of scared of how I would adapt, but attending these welcome events allowed me to become more social and open my circle and allowed me to force (myself) out of my comfort zone,” she said. 

Aleena Cheriyan, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences first-year, who attended the convocation and the Involvement Fair, said she felt slightly overwhelmed by the large atmosphere. 

“It was a little overwhelming, but it was a nice welcome,” she said. “There were so many people. I didn't expect there to be full stands of (first-year students).”

In anticipation of her first Rutgers semester, Gil said while she experienced taking college classes in high school, she is still excited to see what kinds of study habits she will develop.

Speaking further on college courses, Cheriyan, who is studying architecture, said she looks forward to her junior and senior years of college because she will be able to take more classes that pertain to her major.

“I am (currently) taking one class that pertains to my major, and even though that is interesting, I am taking the most random classes,” Cheriyan said. 

In terms of extracurriculars, she said she is looking to get involved with some Christian groups, acapella groups and either the Voorhees Choir, University Choir or Deep Treble. 

Other students, such Sebastian Gonzales, a Rutgers Business School first-year, also have ideas of what extracurricular activities they might join.

“I think I am going to join the Filipino Student Association,” he said. “Coming from a small town with barely any Filipinos, I want to try and connect more with my culture and more of my people.”

Liam Reilly, also a Rutgers Business School first-year, said he is interested in sports broadcasting and business clubs and hopes to establish a social network and build connections through business at Rutgers.

At the University, he said he wants to be able to connect with students and companies on a professional level and receive guidance along the way. 

Nathan Do, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, also said he hopes to use Rutgers’ size and alumni resources to network.

“One of the big things about going to Rutgers was how big of a school it was and how strong the alumni connection was here,” he said. “I have just been wanting to know — especially because I want to go pre-med — how easy it is to make connections and network with people.”

In addition to networking, Do said he is looking forward to the clubs and opportunities he could do outside of school. As for aspects of college life that he does not look forward to, he said he is least excited about finals week due to all the horror stories he has heard.

Regardless, Do said he hopes to take advantage of University resources such as professors’ office hours and pre-professional programs. 

"I've only been here for a week, but I am loving Rutgers so far, and I am happy with my choice. Go RU!” said Do.

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