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‘This is the life’: Students share excitement for new academic year

A grid of the students featured in the first day of classes story

Wednesday marked the official start of the fall semester. We asked students to share their thoughts on their first day of classes, the joys of campus life, and their plans for the upcoming academic year. As one student put it, “I want to find something that truly captivates my attention.”

Pranav Ahluwalia, CIS’22, poses for a portrait on Centennial Common on the first day of class on Sept. 6, 2017. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Pranav Ahluwalia

Ahluwalia, a first-year computer science major, could barely contain his excitement. He had just completed his first college class, held in the Behrakis Health Sciences Center, and was on his way to his second class when he stopped to reflect on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. “It was fantastic,” Ahluwalia said of his first class, the fundamentals of computer science. He was a little surprised by the pace of the initial lesson, but he was sure he’d end up doing well. “I went in confident,” he said, “but once I got there, I thought, ‘Holy crap, this is college.’”

Ahluwalia explained that he is goal-oriented, motivated to excel from the get-go. During his first semester on campus, he wants to “learn as much as possible,” find a “great group of friends,” and join a club sports team. He’s considering rugby or skeet shooting.

Myles Franklin,'22, poses for a portrait at Northeastern University on Sept. 6, 2017

Myles Franklin

Franklin, a first-year student on Northeastern’s basketball team, said he was “loving” his time at the university so far, noting that it had been a “great first day.”

He took classes during the Summer II session, so he was no stranger to the university on the first day of the fall semester. Still, he asked for directions to some of the buildings he hadn’t had classes in yet, like the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex.

Michaela Fanikos, ’22, poses for a portrait in ISEC on the first day of class on Sept. 6, 2017

Michaela Fanikos

Fanikos, a first-year student, arrived at ISEC at 10 a.m.—three-and-a-half hours before the start of her biology class there. She wasn’t planning on waiting around till then—she just wanted to make sure she knew where the course was being held.

Fanikos has yet to declare her major, so she’s taking a range of courses this semester, including Spanish and “Biological Psychology.” As she contemplated how she would spend the following three hours, before her first ever college class, she acknowledged her mix of emotions. I’m a little nervous,” she said. “But I’m also excited for classes because I’m kind of a nerd.”

Sonali Chawla, S'21, poses for a portrait outside of Shillman Hall on the first day of class on Sept. 6, 2017.

Sonali Chawla

Chawla, a second-year environmental studies major, and Sarah Binder, a second-year psychology major, were hanging out on a bench in Centennial Common. It was 10:45 a.m.—and Chawla had already completed her first two classes of the fall semester. “They went well,” said Chawla, referring to her differential equations and general chemistry courses. “I’m looking forward to getting back into the hard sciences.” The “intensity” of her freshman year courses had caught her slightly off guard. But she won’t allow that to happen again. This time around, she said, “everything’s going to click.”

Sarah Binder, S' 21, poses for a portrait on Centennial Common on the first day of class on Sept. 6, 2017.

Sarah Binder

Binder took a short break from chatting with Chawla to reflect on her first day of classes. She had already completed two—“Financial Accounting” and “The Moral Mind”—and “Developmental Psychology” was waiting in the wings. “I was undecided last year,” she said of her major, “so this year I’m looking to get more experience in psychology.”

Comparing her first day of classes in her freshman year to her first day of classes in her sophomore year would be like comparing apples to oranges. “I was much more nervous last year,” she explained. “Now I know what to expect.”

Laura Masnato, DMSB'21, poses for a portrait at Northeastern University on Sept. 6, 2017.

Laura Masnato

Masnato woke up bright and early for her first-ever 8 a.m. class. As a freshman, she spent her first semester abroad as part of the program. Now in her second year, Masnato said, “It’s been really cool to be here in Boston for the fall semester. There’s just an excitement in the air. And it’s nice to be able to sit outside between classes; when we came back in January last year, it was way too cold to spend any time outside.”

Catherine Hogan

Hogan said that her first day of classes had been going well. “There’s always that one assignment you’re not ready for, though,” she said, laughing. “This time it was just to tell the class about ourselves, but still, there’s always that moment where you’re like, ‘Oh no.’”

Harnish Marwadi, MS'20, poses for a portrait at Northeastern University on Sept. 6, 2017

Harnish Marwadi

Marwadi had a busy Tuesday: A graduate student, he moved into his new apartment and took full advantage of Fall Fest. “Fall Fest was amazing,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like that, with so many students.”

Marwadi, who moved to Boston from India at the end of August, said that he’d also been slowly finding his way around both the city and the campus.

Dev Patel, MS'20, poses for a portrait at Northeastern University on Sept. 6, 2017.

Dev Patel

Patel and Marwadi were taking advantage of the tables outside the Curry Student Center to get a jump on some classwork. Though the weather—just before a mid-morning rain shower—was “horribly muggy” for them both, Patel said, he was still excited for his first experience as a Northeastern student. “It’s been amazing so far,” he said. “The diversity I see here, the liveliness on campus, the awesome staff—it’s really been amazing. My first thought when I got here was, ‘This is the life.’”

Rose Alawami, DMSB'20, poses for a portrait at Northeastern University on Sept. 6, 2017

Rose Alawami

Alawami, a second-year student, experienced some pre-class jitters. But she quickly overcame them. “I was a little nervous before I walked in to the class, but I saw some familiar faces right away,” she said. “It was actually pretty fun.”

Edmon Berry, DMSB'19, poses for a portrait outside of ISEC on the first day of class on Sept. 6, 2017.

Edmon Berry

Berry, a third-year finance major, had just completed his second class of the morning when he stopped to chat outside of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. He was fresh out of a course on the fundamentals of computer science, the teacher of which, he said, was “really cool.”

This semester, he is looking forward to taking a few advanced finance courses to hone his understanding of the discipline while expanding his academic horizons. “I want to branch out,” said Berry, who’s considering law school. “I want to find something that truly captivates my attention.”

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