Local, foreign students face similar challenges in first week of school

Nizhoni Terronez

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Bethany Calloway, music education freshman, sits in one of the the Clark Student Center lounges after class and waits for marching practice to begin. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Bethany Calloway, music education freshman, sits in one of the Clark Student Center lounges after class and waits for marching practice to begin. Photo by Lauren Roberts

For college freshmen, the beginning of each new school year marks a period of adjustment. The transition from high school and living with mom and dad to the higher expectations of higher education can be a rigorous experience for students of any background.

“Lots of students coming in to college are underprepared because everyone has a unique background or history,” said SusAnn Key, supplemental instruction coordinator, assistant professor and academic advisor for the counseling center. “The experience is different for many people in different ways. It’s a different world.”

For business freshman Kudakwashe Bepswa this transition was especially challenging as he dealt with his new independence while also adjusting to life in the United States.

Bepswa is from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, and said he heard about Midwestern State University from his uncle.

“My uncle got his bachelor’s degree here and told me that it was a good university,” Bepswa said. “I chose MSU because I wanted to experience something different.”

Just like every new student here, Bepswa said he is trying to make friends, as well as adapting to a new culture and an intensely new climate.

“The first day here I was kind of bottled up and now I’m just getting to know people,” Bepswa said. “The heat is different here, it’s a lot hotter. I think this might be the hottest place on the Earth. Also the culture is different here. The people are a lot nicer, more outgoing and easier to talk to.”

Bepswa is a campus resident and said that the main difference between life here and in Zimbabwe is that life is “more fun” here, and that back home it can be “very monotonous and dull.”

“Like every other person who comes to a university I just want to graduate and get my degree,” Bepswa said. “On the other hand I want to learn more about Texas culture and try and see what other people do here.”

While her journey to MSU was much shorter than Bepswa’s, music education freshman Bethany Calloway must deal with higher-ed adjustments of her own.

Calloway still lives at home in Burkburnett meaning she has a 20-minute commute to school everyday. She said she experiences a newfound freedom by going to MSU, but she enjoys having the support of her family.

“I live at home where my mom makes homemade meals and I get my own bed,” Calloway said. “I get to be more independent but I can also have guidance from my family and have people help me out. I kind of like that I get that guidance so I don’t screw up.”

Calloway is a member of the marching band and plans to get involved in more student activities and organizations as the school year goes on.

Hearing about the fun activities there were going to be and the delicious food, Camillle Robertson, pre med sophomore, says she had to be there. Especially to play some volleyball, free food, and to meet new people. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Hearing about the fun activities there were going to be and the delicious food, Camillle Robertson, pre med sophomore, says she had to be there. Especially to play some volleyball, free food, and to meet new people. Photo by Rachel Johnson

“I hope that I grow more into adulthood and I go through that transition even more,” Calloway said. “I want to learn more about the thing that I love the most which is music, and have a better understanding of it. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Key said with new freedom comes new responsibility, but students should take advantage of the built-in support system that comes with college and get involved in school activities and organizations.

“One of the big issues is that students have a lot more free time, and you have to manage your life. You have to decide what to eat, to go to class, what to do with your spare time,” Keys said. “Connect with your advisor, professors, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Push yourself and go out and try something different. Your job in college is to go to class and graduate, but also to make connections and build communication skills and leadership skills. You’ll carry these skills for the rest of your life. Take advantage of it.”

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