Loyola University Maryland

Messina

Coming Full-Circle: From First-Year Student to GRC


- Marin: Graduate Residence Coordinator

Regardless of how prepared you think you are, college is an experience that no one can truly prepare you for. You can do all the research and talk to all the right people, but the experiences you receive and live out will be different than what you had planned. I know first-hand that leaving home and making new friends may feel daunting. When starting a new path in your life, it is easy to feel alone. However, at Loyola, you are never truly alone! Loyola provides students with access to support networks from peers to administration. Everyone wants to help. Messina is the first community that Loyola immerses its students into. The first-year program provides immediate resources for students who need help, giving you the initial tools that you not only need as a foundation but also to succeed at Loyola. The support network begins with the upperclassmen mentors – evergreens, core advisors, and administrators. Additionally, Messina is a live and learn community, which not only allows you to become acclimated to your new home but also introduces first-year students to one another. First-years live near other students in their Messina group and take two courses together throughout the year.

My experience with Messina pushed me out of my comfort zone by challenging and encouraging me to try new things. With new friends by my side, I felt as though I could accomplish anything. My Messina went on a ghost tour through Fells Point, which is something I never saw myself being able to do! I learned to test the boundaries of my comfort zone. It was hard for me to step out of my comfort zone, but my evergreen really pushed me to get involved on campus. With that in mind, I found my place by the end of my first year! I fell in love with becoming a student leader. And when the time came, I thought it was strange, I was going into my second year… could I really be a student leader? YES!!

Loyola focuses on student development, and I wanted to be a part of that. Having just graduated from Loyola in May 2018 and now being part of the Masters of the Art in Teaching program, I wanted to stay involved with student development. I decided the best way for me to stay involved was to become a Graduate Residence Coordinator. I will be supervising Residence Assistances on Hillside. I want to serve as a source that the first-years can turn to, as I had in my first year. Through my experience, I have learned that it is easy to fall into traps where you feel like your voice is not loud enough. I want to encourage first-years to really think about the importance of their voices. Sometimes you will feel like you’re alone, but there is always someone there for you. Lean on your Evergreen and RA, and really think about holding leadership positions as you grow through your college experience – it is more rewarding than you would think!

Several students running with arms linked in a grassy field
Your first year

What, exactly, is Messina?

A closer look at Loyola University Maryland's first-year experience.

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