One of the most difficult tasks that many college students encounter when moving to a new city for the first time is learning how to successfully navigate unfamiliar surroundings. I have very vivid memories myself of getting lost during my freshman year at the University at Albany – both on the sprawling campus and in the City of Albany! I had moved here from Long Island and I had never lived in a city before. I also didn’t have my driver’s license when I first began college, so I struggled on my own to master CDTA, Albany’s public bus system. It was hard! There may have even been a few tearful phone calls to my mother…
When I was a freshman, I had to figure it out all on my own. It was nerve wracking! We know learning a new city and new form of transportation can be challenging, so to best prepare College Experience students for independence, all of our freshmen students enroll in a class called “Community Navigation.”
In Community Navigation, CEP students learn how to navigate their neighborhood and the City of Albany, both by foot and by public transportation. Students receive instruction on a number of travel related topics, including bus etiquette, personal safety, how to recognize landmarks and bus stops, how to read bus schedules, and how to problem solve and trouble-shoot in difficult situations.
By the completion of the course, students are able to independently ride on a number of routes. The routes that are learned enable students to get to major malls and shopping centers on their own, as well as a number of other attractions in the Capital Region.
Community Navigation can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating course for many students, but our freshmen this year are really giving it their all and are so excited to have the freedom to travel all on their own! Here are some photos of the students at work:
We all start out as newbie navigators, but these guys are on their way to becoming pros!