New video series follows 6 first-year students through fall semester

by | Nov 24, 2015

Alivia Brinker, Thomas Poon, Aleathea Williams, Robert O’Neill, Madaline Steffens and Emily White share their UMSL experience in the three-part series.
First-Year Experience video series

First-year UMSL students Alivia Brinker, Thomas Poon, Aleathea Williams, Robert O’Neill, Madaline Steffens and Emily White share their experience of the fall 2015 semester in a video series presented by New Student Programs. (Image courtesy Mike Diliberto)

A friendly community, vibrant campus life and approachable faculty are just a few characteristics of the University of Missouri–St. Louis that stand out in a fresh chronicle of the UMSL experience, as told by a handful of students new to the university.

“First-Year Experience,” a three-part video series produced by New Student Programs staff, highlights the perspectives of six students coming from many walks of life as they navigate their first semester at UMSL. They include biology major Alivia Brinker, mechanical engineering major Thomas Poon, nursing student Aleathea Williams, sociology transfer student Emily White, nursing major Madaline Steffens and U.S. Army veteran Robert O’Neill, who is pursuing civil engineering.

In part one, filmed just a few days into the fall 2015 semester, the positive impact of visiting campus and really getting a feel for the university looms large as a selling point for many students.

“I was worried about being alone, because I don’t know anyone in St. Louis,” admits Williams, who now lives on campus, “so I went to the overnight experience orientation and that made me comfortable with the campus and the people … that really helped.”

So does early involvement in campus activities and organizations. As Poon, already an active member of the Pierre Laclede Honors College student association, notes, he’s “really excited, because I feel like that’s one of the biggest ways I’m going to get involved here and how I can help out the community at UMSL.”

In part two of the series, where New Student Programs checks in with the students midway through the semester, they discuss the challenges and surprises they’ve encountered so far this fall. They also give their take on newfound independence and general time management.

“You are more in control of everything that’s happening, so you have to really think through your decisions,” says White, adding that she’s been making the most of her academic adviser as she creates a plan for her major course of study.

Brinker, a student-athlete, points to Student Retention Services, located in the Millennium Student Center, as a key resource.

“I’m actually supposed to use them for volleyball,” she says. “But I think I would go there anyway, just being a regular student.”

As the fall 2015 semester wraps up following the Thanksgiving holiday, UMSL staff will check in once more with the first-year students for some concluding insights on the college transition. Stay tuned for the third part in the video series, produced by UMSL staff member Mike Diliberto and colleagues in New Student Programs.

The UMSL Experience

Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill