When I was a Resident Assistant I primarily worked with First-Year Students. It was such a great experience! You could really see the students develop from high school students into (mostly) independent adults. I didn't know much about theory back then, but it was clear that their behavior and attitudes changed throughout the two semesters of living in the First-Year Residence Hall Program. Now that I look back, it was a great program and some-what ground breaking. I participated in a professional-level committee for piloting a campus-wide first-year residential experience. We utilized programs from around the country and it was great to see work at that level while I was still a student.
There was a blog post this morning about first-year programming and the needs of first year students. All of what she states is true, the transition from high school to college can be difficult and overwhelming. First-year programming generally tries to alleviate a lot of the stress and provides a safe, comfortable community in which to learn and grow. It is a great idea.
My friend Stephen, who was involved in student leadership, Greek life, and student housing while we were both undergrads, was working with Sophomore Programming. I read a posted opportunity about a position leading Sophomore Programming, and it brought back the conversations Stephen and I had when we were working with the two populations.
We talked about the need for a second year of programming, and what it meant for the following years involved. Should there be a third-year program? What about a fourth/final year? What about non-traditional, part-time students, do they not have a community in which to feel comfortable? And what about non-traditional first-year students, are we assuming they have the skills that traditional students do not? It poses a lot of questions that don't always seem to be realized (or answered), beyond the said need for first-year programs.