First years share first impressions of Emerson


Jakob Menendez

The Little Building residence hall.

By Hannah Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief

No masks, no Zoom, no COVID-19 restrictions—the class of 2026’s first semester doesn’t look all that different from the beginning of high school. 

While the class had an educational experience that was far from normal throughout high school, many are optimistic about their future at Emerson. With loosened COVID policies, including a lift on mask and testing mandates, a sense of normalcy has returned to Emerson. The college introduced roughly 1,000 first-year and 185 transfer students representing 31 countries and 39 states (and the District of Columbia).

While touring colleges, theater and performance major Ariel Coleman said she felt more inspired at Emerson than at other schools.

“I just felt like I really connected with the other creatives that I met here,” Coleman said. “[Emerson is] the perfect place to be immersed [in] everything creative.”

Cheyenne Kminek, a writing, literature, and publishing major, said she committed to Emerson because the college values the arts, which Kminek appreciates as it provides plenty of opportunities for students.

“There’s a lot of great opportunities to move forward,” Kminek said. “Coming from a small town in the south, there’s not a lot of opportunities to expand on a career in the arts, so Emerson was the best choice for me career-wise.”

First-year international students and students of color moved in Aug. 26 and 27 for pre-orientation, while remaining first-year students moved in between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1. Despite the bustle of first-year move-in, many students said it went smoothly.

“The process was really speedy because the [move-in assistants] got all of my stuff out of the car and up to my room really fast,” visual and media arts major Khatima Bulmer said.

Many students also found orientation to be worthwhile, easing potential move-in week anxieties.

“[Orientation] gave me a lot of opportunities to meet new people, and it just showed me what Emerson is about,” VMA major Adeline Melillo said.

Kminek said she enjoyed attending orientation events, hearing from different clubs, and learning about resources on campus as they helped her feel more prepared and supported in what could be a very stressful transition.

Coleman moved in early for the students of color orientation and found it to be an opportunity to connect with students who shared her passions and life experiences. 

“I was the only Black female in my [high school] classes,” Coleman said. “I feel like pre-orientation really gave me the chance to see other students and talk to them and feel like Emerson is more of a home rather than just another PWI.”

During his first class on Tuesday, theater and performance major Sofonyas Alevachew noticed the minimal number of students—10 in total—in his class, a setting that allowed him to connect with peers and professors. 

“The teachers are actually going to notice me,” Alevachew said. “They’re going to know how I’m doing and what I’m doing.”

Kminek echoed this sentiment. “[This] is helpful in the educational environment to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to meet with a professor and kind of move forward in their own individual endeavors and goals.”

While many students had a positive first impression of the college, some found the new experience overwhelming.

“I honestly love [Emerson],” VMA major Nicole Vota said. “There are some things I’m not 100% used to, like the food and being away from home, but I’m slowly getting used to everything.”

For Coleman, being around other talented students is exciting, but adds the need to stand out. In high school, many students had talents that made them unique among their peers. At Emerson, most students find that they have shared passion with others.

“You have a lot of people who come here for the same passions as you and so that’s definitely a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it makes it fun, it makes everything new and interesting,” Coleman said.

Regardless of that pressure, many find that students of all different majors continue to work together and build a community.

“I love how dedicated everyone is to their major and what they love to do,” Alevachew said. “[All of the majors] are intertwined with each other. It [makes it] a more cohesive community… it allows us to come together as a community and create.”