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Shepherd welcomes back students

By Staff | Aug 20, 2010

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Shepherdstown got a lot busier this week as Shepherd University opened its doors for the 2010-2011 academic year.

All over Shepherdstown, one can glimpse commuting students desperately searching for parking near their classes, checking out their favorite stores and catching up with old friends. There are, of course, a considerable amount of new faces in the form of freshmen and transfer students struggling to adapt to a new school and a new town.

Incoming freshman Alicia Watts, of Martinsburg, said that she chose Shepherd for its proximity to her home and the presence of many friends from high school. She is starting a nursing program and said that Shepherd’s nursing program is well-respected.

It was approaching 2 p.m., and Watts had yet to have her first class. It was scheduled for later in the day.

“I like this school, it’s close and my older sister went here,” Watts said. “I’m a little nervous meeting new people, you know, first day jitters.”

One of her friends, fellow freshman computer science major Zach Roach, was seated across from Watts at the Ram’s Den, Shepherd University’s student center. Roach is from Inwood, and he also chose Shepherd for it’s proximity to his home. Shepherd was the only school he applied to. Unlike Watts, he had already been through a barrage of first day classes. By 2 p.m., Roach had already attended five classes.

“It’s the first day, we haven’t really covered much,” he said.

Both Roach and Watts commute to school. That means struggling to find parking either on or off campus.

“Parking is a killer,” Watts said.

“I’ve been parked in a no parking zone since 8:50 this morning,” Roach said, laughing.

When told of plans to construct a parking garage in the next few years, both Watts and Roach agreed that a parking garage would improve the situation.

Jenna Zelkowski, a 22-year-old graphic design major, was also settling back into the academic routine this week.

“It’s been hectic and little stressful, but it’s been fun to get back into the swing of things and be productive,” said Zelkowski.

How productive? Very productive, says Zelkowski: “It’s my last year.”

That means she has to prepare her senior portfolio, complete her internship, juggle 15 credits worth of class projects and manage the campus Information Center in the Ram’s Den. Oh, and graduating is high up on her list, also.

Her 15-credit class load is average, says Zelkowski.

“Others take more, but I do a lot on the side so it works for me,” she said.

Shepherd will not announce its official enrollment figures until Oct. 15, as required by the Higher Education Policy Commission, but Valerie Owens, executive director of Shepherd’s External Affairs office, says that preliminary numbers for the fall semester look as if Shepherd will once again experience a growing student body.