Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2008

New students take part in orientation at MC-Rockville

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Charles E. Shoemaker/The Gazette
Princess Walsh (center), 19, of Rockville, takes part in student orientation at Montgomery College in Rockville on Thursday. She hopes to be a sports journalist.

Princess Walsh wants to work in sports journalism.

The 19-year-old took advantage of a two-day student orientation last week at Montgomery College in Rockville to sign up to be on the staff of The Montgomery Advocate, the student newspaper, hoping that would offer her some opportunities.

Walsh, who is studying journalism, is from New York City and went to Bowie State University for her freshman year. She is now transitioning to Montgomery College, where she has lofty academic goals, too

"I want a 4.0 [grade point average]," said Walsh, who now lives in Rockville.

As the end of summer approaches, students feeling a twinge of apprehension about transitioning to Montgomery College had the chance to ease their nerves by attending the orientation sessions to learn what lies ahead.

Some are new to college altogether; others are transferring in from other schools.

Vice President and Provost Dr. Judy E. Ackerman, Interim Dean of Student Development Dr. Monica R.M. Brown and Javier Peła, a representative of the Student Senate, joined others in greeting three groups of 120 to 150 new students on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14 for a presentation in the Theatre Arts Auditorium.

"We want them to get ready," said Helen Brewer, assistant dean of student development. "They want to know what's the inside scoop in their first semester. We want them to know that this is [their] college."

The students then broke into groups of 40 and were shepherded off to classrooms where they learned some specifics of campus navigation and student life.

Among them was Dandan Ching, 17, who attended high school in the Philippines and now lives in Germantown.

He had done some homework and had some idea what to expect.

"I visited the campus already," said Ching, who plans to study nursing. "It's much better than the [colleges] in the Philippines."

Several campus organizations, including the Student Senate, Student Support Services, the library, campus athletics and the Career Transfer Center, set up tables around the perimeter of the room for students to explore.

Ching was impressed with more than the campus, he said. "There are a lot of very nice big buildings, but the people here have been very friendly."

He is planning to study for four years, and then stay in the area when he graduates.

Walsh, a hostess at restaurant in Rockville Town Center, had to slip out of the orientation a few minutes early to go to work. But the orientation had already done its job.

"My impressions have gotten better," she said on her way out. "I can't wait to get started."

The incoming class at the Montgomery College campus in Rockville is 800 students strong and composed of 300 full-time and 500 part-time students. The college serves 16,000 students altogether at its three campuses – Rockville, Germantown and Silver Spring-Takoma Park.

Classes for the fall semester begin the week of Sept. 3.