First-year Students Nurture Friendships


Roommates Maura Kranz (left) and Caitlin Doughton (right) in their dorm room.


SCRANTON, Pa – September 20, 2020

The University welcomed students to campus this fall, but there are limitations on how they gather outside of the classroom.

Scranton usually offers a wide variety of activities, clubs and events for students to take part in, but most of these have gone virtual to help stop the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

First-year students use these events to meet new people and make friends. Since these activities are virtual, first-year students are utilizing non-traditional ways to create friendships at Scranton.

Caitlin Doughton is a first-year student at Scranton. Doughton said she felt a little blind coming into her first year at the University but has managed to find ways to socialize and make connections with others on campus. Doughton loves nature and said that she enjoys going outside to spend some time out of her dorm room.

“I find it extremely beneficial to escape to the library or make a spontaneous stop at a picnic table on campus,” Doughton said.

Doughton said she also spends time outside with her friends exploring the surrounding area.

“My friends and I love hiking through Nay-Aug Park, strolling through campus and even doing our school work on the Dionne Green,” Doughton said.

Though the social scene is not as large as it usually is, Doughton said she has grown closer with her roommate, Maura Kranz, from the extended time they spend in their rooms.

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RA Spotlight: Colleen Boyle

Your RA: A Great Resource

By Kristen Gensinger

The resident assistants on campus are a great resource, especially for first-year students.  Marisa Guardino is a senior human resource studies major and a resident assistant to first-years.  As a resident assistant, Guardino has gotten to know and help new students as they are transitioning into college life.

 I enjoy just getting to know the residents – their interests and hobbies, their class issues, their living situations, etc.,” said Guardino. “I became so close with my residents last year that I have continued to get dinner with them this year, and they still continue to tell me about their lives.”  

 In addition to getting to know new students, the RA on each floor also creates the floor’s theme. During her first year as an RA, Guardino chose Ice Cream and Under the Sea themes.  During her second year, she decorated the hall in the spirit of the magical world of Harry Potter.  Themed floors are a great conversation starter especially for first-year students meeting new friends. 

The workload in college can be daunting, especially as a first-year student.  On top of moving away from home and making new friends, academics are another challenge for first-year students to overcome.  Resident assistants can offer great tips on adjusting to the new courses and coursework. 

“Classes are a LOT different than high school,” said Guardino. “If you don’t know how to study yet, it’s time to learn.”

“I like to think of an RA as a first-year’s support system. Kind of like a parent at school. It’s helpful in that they can tell their RA anything, and they can have faith that it stays between them,” she said. “I’ve found that residents sometimes just need to vent about their day, even if nothing of value happened. Although that doesn’t seem like a big thing, I’ve found that makes the biggest impact on the students because they know, just in that little encounter of talking about the day, that you are there for them.”