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Freshmen find adjusting to college life a challenge

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Freshmen find adjusting to college life a challenge

Dasia Daniels, general business freshman, and Ally Solete, special education freshman, eating lunch.

Dasia Daniels, general business freshman, and Ally Solete, special education freshman, eating lunch.

Karrington Bradley

Dasia Daniels, general business freshman, and Ally Solete, special education freshman, eating lunch.

Karrington Bradley

Karrington Bradley

Dasia Daniels, general business freshman, and Ally Solete, special education freshman, eating lunch.

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Freshmen students are met with new obstacles which require adjustment. First-time students face struggles with making grades, starting friendships, and adjusting to being away from home.

GETTING USED TO CLASS

Landon Parks, exercise physiology freshman, said, “It took me a couple weeks, maybe a month, to kind of get into the swing of things [and] realizing I need to be more aware of my time management.”

Freshmen didn’t feel prepared coming into college.

Dalton Drennan, pre-dental and biology freshman, said, “Coming into college, I had a bunch of people tell me, ‘Oh it’s easy all you have to do is take notes and pay attention,’ but the homework… there’s so much homework but I didn’t have any homework, compared to this now, in high school.”

First-time university students that came from smaller towns or high schools with smaller graduating class sizes took a while to get use to larger class attendance.

Ally Solete, special education freshman said, “It was a big adjustment. I didn’t think it would be this hard. The classes definitely were bigger from the high school I graduated from. I graduated with a class of 47 and so being in these class sizes, one of my classes is literally the size of my graduating class and so it was a big adjustment to get used to that.”

Incoming students who have been concurrently enrolled in college courses during high school still felt the transition into university classes was tougher than they expected.

Alyssa Vieth, general business freshman, in comparing dual credit to university level classes said, “It [dual credit] was a lot of easier. They didn’t really prepare me for this at all.”

So dual credit was like blow off classes, pretty much, and it did not prepare me for anything here.”

— Kerrington Biggers, dental hygiene freshman

Other students said Advanced Placement classes from high school were different compared to university classes.

Fatima Romo, radiology freshman, said, “In AP they [high school teachers] teach you based on what they think is on the test and they basically just want to teach you to pass the test but you don’t always learn the content as well.”

Some students struggled with adjusting their study habits to match the course load of college classes.

Tate Tomlan, radiology freshman, said, “I’ve had to study a lot more, pay attention a lot more and all that. It wasn’t anything like high school, no one is there to help you. It’s all on you.”

In response to the added difficulty of university classes, various students adapted their learning practices to keep up with their school workload.

Biggers said, “I got more organized. I actually use my planner. I have like a hourly schedule of what I am supposed to do and when I am supposed to do it and I actually look at the syllabus.”

Drennan said, “Last semester I kind of blew the ball so I’m trying to take better notes and pay a lot more attention than I did last semester.”

GETTING INVOLVED ON CAMPUS

As students were getting used to classes, they spent any free time going to events and utilizing campus facilities.

Dasia Daniels, general business freshman, said, “I go to the spin classes here at the wellness center and I go to sister-to-sister meetings just so I can interact with other girls and we can express ourselves.”

The student involvement staff make efforts for freshman students to get out of their dorms and attend events around campus.

Ruby Arriaga, activities coordinator, said, “We try and work with different areas on campus, so one of the huge things is resident life and housing. They [resident life and housing] try to do a lot of late-night weekend events. What we noticed is that incoming students that are minors can’t go out whether it’s because of transportation or they can’t drink or anything. So, they’re kind of stuck at home or stuck in their room not being able to do anything. We’re trying to have more late-night weekend programs whether its movie nights, bingo, pajama nights any of that.”

Freshmen are offered various events around campus.

Vieth said, “The hypnosis thing was really cool that they had a couple weeks ago.”

Darren Butler, computer science freshman, said, “I didn’t think that I would enjoy some of the social events as much as I did. The social events were my chance to try something new, something I’ve never experienced. Like the ice-skating rink, I’ve never been ice skating so it was an interesting experience that I didn’t expect to enjoy but I did enjoy it.”

The Office of Student Involvement staff members work with groups around campus, such as resident life, the Counseling Center, and the University Programming Board to provide different activities and events for students to attend.

Arriaga said, “We’ve been working with the wellness center as well to have programs, the Clark Student Center with the Counseling Center so it’s mostly Student Affairs that try and look in the calendars and see what weekends we have nothing going on and we try and put some programming in there.”

Besides the many events that go on around campus, there are various clubs and organizations that students are encouraged to get into.

Drennan said, “I‘m in Greek life. I just wanted to be involved in school. I didn’t want to go to class, go to work then go home every day, so it gave me something extra to do which is always nice.”

Ruby Arriaga , who is also the adviser to the University Programming Board, recommends new students to join the University Programming Board.

“UPB is really diverse. It’s a good stepping stool because by being in that program you can kind of see what other events are on campus and then you can work with different kind of students. If you’re in UPB and then you see other things that are going on, then you can find your fit.”

Despite the clubs and organizations offered to students, there are still some who haven’t joined anything.

Romo said, “I’ve been trying to get used to my classes first, then I want to join activities.”

Some commuters find it difficult to get involved.

Tomlan said, “I won’t be here to participate. I feel like I’ll miss out on a lot of interactions with people, but I feel like at the end its really about school.”

Parks said, “Living off campus has made it a little bit harder. I feel that because if you live in the dorms or on campus you’re going to lunch or dinner and all these things just together with the people that you’re close with in the dorms. I feel like you develop friendships a little quicker.”

Even still, students plan to make efforts to join groups and clubs while earning their degree.

Solete said, “There are some Christian clubs that I want to join and some study clubs I’ve heard of. I’m hoping to meet more friends and get more motivation. Definitely more friends because I love making friends.”

EXPECTATIONS OF FIRST-TIME UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

Freshmen that have never experienced university life started having expectations of college from various pop culture references and what they may have heard from friends and relatives.

Solete said, “I expected parties every night. I expected a lot of kids that don’t care and I also expected kids that would be skipping classes and hating to be here, but it’s been opposite. I’ve seen kids just enjoying going to class and kids love being everywhere. I expected kids to be in their dorms 24/7 but that hasn’t been the case.”

Romo felt that the experiences she heard about from her peers prior to coming to university gave the impression that it would be easier to make lasting connections.

Romo said, “Making friends is not that hard, but it’s not that easy either since everyone is kind of just doing their own thing.”

Daniels made the decision to become celibate after attending university.

Daniels said, “They said there would be a whole lot of sex. It was exactly how they portray it in movies about how there would be a whole lot of sex and not a lot of relationships.”

FRESHMEN DISCOVERING NEW THINGS ABOUT THEMSELVES

Freshmen learned new things about themselves once they got to campus.

Biggers said, “I don’t really put myself out there and I don’t really want to. Adjusting from high school to college, I’m okay with being by myself. But in high school I had so many friends and I was always at somebody’s house.”

Students became closer to their family even if they don’t see them as much or have moved hours away from home.

Daniels said, “Family and friends from Dallas are rooting for me and they want me to do great. I’ve actually gotten closer to them even though I’ve gotten farther from them. They’re proud of me and they’re rooting for me.”

Vieth said,” With my family were closer now because when I do go home we spend more time together than if I was home all the time.”

The roles of parents have changed with their oldest child moving out of the house and engaging in adulthood.

Solete, “I didn’t think I’d miss my family as much as I am right now. I know they miss me. I think my dad took it hard and my mom definitely took it hard. My mom calls me like four times a day.”

UPB and the Office of Student Involvement like to hear feedback from students about what they could do to promote participation on campus.

Daniels said, “They could have more prize-based events and bigger prizes as well.”

Vieth said, “I feel like when we first got here last semester in the fall that there weren’t that many activities to get involved really. Like there were a couple things but they didn’t have a lot of on-campus activities to get to know each other.”

Stampede Week includes activities for incoming freshman to learn about the University.

Solete said, “I think they should give freshman at least two weeks to adjust to like not living with their parents. I think we should have two weeks of Stampede Week.”

Other students are very happy with MSU and will continue pursuing their degree here.

Parks said, “So far so good. I’ve really enjoyed it. Once I came I here I realized it’s actually pretty awesome. It’s a lot more to this university than I thought even though I’ve lived in Wichita Falls all my life.”

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Freshmen find adjusting to college life a challenge