BUIES CREEK – When junior Clinical Research major Lindsey Stever first heard about the Campbell University Freshman Seminar coming to Campbell, she didn’t understand what all the hype was about.
To her, CUFS 100 seemed like another class. But when she was selected as a CUFS 100 peer mentor for the first-year students, she soon saw the impact the new program can have.
“I found myself learning from the students just as much as they were learning from me,” Stever said. “Through class discussion, on everything from problem-solving to study habits, I learned invaluable lessons from different points of view that I may not have been exposed to otherwise.”
The CUFS 100 course focuses on ensuring the success of a new student by focusing on important skills like good study habits or the ability to effectively manage their time . The classes encourage freshmen to be open and honest about their perceived challenges, a task Stever said they were a bit apprehensive about at first.
“It seemed like the freshmen, too, had thought CUFS was just another class they had to show up for,” said Stever. “But eventually, they discovered that the program provided them resources for dealing with all sorts of challenging circumstances nearly all college freshmen are faced with.”
Before long, Stever noticed the freshmen opening up and participating in more in-depth discussions ranging from dealing with academic advisers to adjusting to life away from home.
Tiffany Foster was one of those first-year students who took the CUFS course. In it, she completed a community service project at a local nursing home and experienced a range of activities that broadened her mindset and opened doors for her at Campbell.
“I went to the writing center and attended several sports events that I probably wouldn’t have gone to if I hadn’t had to for CUFS,” Foster said. “It forced us to get involved, which was a great experience; and I found many areas I was interested in because of the requirements for the class.”
Foster said CUFS is a great way for new students to explore the university and find their own niche.
Vice President for Student Life Dr. Dennis Bazemore said programs like the First Year Experience and CUFS 100 are important to have at Campbell because of the impact they can have on students, from aiding in the transition from high school into college to having positive effects on student’s academic success;
“Data has proven that entering freshmen who participate in some kind of directed freshman year experience will be retained at a higher rate than those who do not,” said Bazemore. “Data has also reported that students in a freshman year experience will usually have a higher GPA and continue to do well in the classroom after their freshmen year.”
Bazemore, who served as a course instructor, said he was eager to participate in the program from the start as he knew of these benefits that it could potentially have on the students. This was also his first time teaching students, which for him was a rewarding experience:
“I learned a lot about each student in my class,” Bazemore said. “I was able to share with them many different subjects that are so important in the transition from high school to college with the hope that this would be a helpful foundation that they would benefit from for the rest of their college experience.”
Along with other instructors, Bazemore had the assistance of a peer mentor who supplemented the classroom discussions each week. The peer mentor plays an integral role in the CUFS program, he said, as they keep their students updated with events on campus, serve as a positive role model and ultimately help new students adjust to college life.
Junior Rachel Canter said she became a mentor because she viewed it as an opportunity to make a difference.
“I wanted to invest in the lives of freshmen,” Canter said. “I wanted to be there for them when they need a friend, to help guide them in decisions their first year, to make a difference and to be a cheerful face that they recognized around campus and could talk to.”
CUFS will return in the fall as organizers expect to double the class enrollment to 400 students. Twenty sections will be offered with 10 classes on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and another 10 classes on Fridays at 10.
According to Dr. Jennifer Latino, director of the First Year Experience and coordinator for the CUFS program, a total of 73 students were interviewed in early March to be peer mentors for the fall 2012 term. From those students interviewed, 15 of them were selected to serve along with five returning mentors. These 20 student leaders will begin training and preparation to lead the next group of first year students in the fall semester of 2012.
“Enjoy your time in the class,” freshman Collin Pearce said, offering advice to next year’s CUFS students. “It serves as a good break in the middle of your day, and you receive an hour credit for it, which makes it even better. Bottom line: go to class, meet people and have fun.”
- by Jonathan Bridges, Campbell University Communications