By Victor Allison/reporter
Students had a lot to chew on the first day back at SE Campus.
Aug. 19 kicked off a new fall term, and new students and first-day jitters filled the busy corridors around the district, but for a few on the SE Campus, the stress of opening day was a little high.
Like many students, Ashley Sandovao said her issues came from the long lines for the Registrar.
“I thought it was going to be a five-minute thing like come drop the class and leave,” she said. “I’ve been here for over an hour.”
Sandovao, who was on campus because of an issue with Webadvisor, said she called the school beforehand, but wasn’t informed that the wait would be so long. The communications major, who is also a student at Tarleton, said she had to make a 45-minute trip from Midlothian with her 1-year-old son Witten to SE because she couldn’t make changes online.
“Whenever I called, I wished someone would have told me it is a longer wait so I could have better prepared myself,” she said. “At Tarleton, I could have walked in and dropped my class within five to 20 minutes.”
While Sandovao waited to be seen, student volunteers and staff around campus worked steadily to hedge anxiety for newcomers who feared getting lost.
Meghan Flynn, a volunteer at the Snag-a-Snack table in the Main Commons, said she had been helping some students learn the layout of the campus from as early as 6:30 a.m., by handing out maps.
“With the SE location I know it’s a whole lot different,” she said “[Classes have] the same room number, but they’re different sections. It took me a good several months to figure it out. I still kind of get confused”
Her co-volunteer Ahmad Sheikh agreed.
“It can be quite stressful,” he said. “It can even go horrible for some people. So we try to eliminate the anxiety.”
Things did go awry for some on opening day. “Registration rescue”, a one-stop shop in the library where advisers from different departments worked to fix registration issues, was set up for students with cancelled classes, or who’ve missed the registration deadline.
“All the problems that might keep someone from getting registered, they are all there in one place to rescue students,” Director of library services JoTisa Holladay Klemm said.
Klemm said much of the issues are understandable.
“Part of it is because it is online and they don’t have somebody there helping them,” she said. “Most of it is just because we’re humans and mistakes happen.”
It may be the normal flow of operations on opening day inside a campus with over 12,000 students, but it was far from normal for one student outside.
Around 4 p.m., SE student Sylvio Jiotsop said he was waiting for a ride at the edge of campus when he witnessed a two-car collision at the intersection of Southeast Parkway and New York Avenue that left him shaken.
“I heard a honk,” he said. “I overlooked it. Then out of nowhere I saw the white one come from the left side and smack the front of the grey van. The entire front got busted, oil started leaking. I ran out and saw smoke.”
Jiotsop ran out into the street to stop oncoming traffic and told passerby’s to call 911. A firetruck, ambulance and Arlington police arrived on the scene shortly after.
“I was scared for the white SUV Lexus because when it hit, it flipped and skidded in the air upside down, and it hit the ground hard,” he said. “I honestly thought they were gone or knocked out.”
Jiotsop was left in shock and awe. After getting back into a tough first week, this was the last thing he expected.
“It was too devastating. It was like a sudden shift from 0 to 100,” he said.