As 2020’s freshmen begin their journey at MSU, current upperclassmen reflect on their first day and offer advice on surviving freshman year of college.
“My first day was kinda crazy, because I didn’t know what class I was actually going to; this is my first time actually seeing everything. So I got lost, but I made it, so overall it was good,” Fynne Forde, finance senior, said.
MSU, a campus of 255 acres and 70 buildings, can be intimidating for first-time college students, especially on the first day of school. However, the campus attempts to create a welcoming environment through events such as Mustang Roundup and Stampede Week, that are filled with volunteers waiting to help the incoming class.
“[The atmosphere on campus] is friendly because you can always go around campus and expect a friendly face whether it is another student, professor, faculty or staff member. [The campus is] also very homey because it is very small and welcoming which creates a home-like environment. It’s a place where you can be safe and get a good education,” Guadalupe Gamiz, social work junior, said.
Being in a welcoming environment allows students to become involved within the campus by participating in organizations. MSU has over 100 organizations for students to join from academic to cultural. This includes Greek life organizations such as fraternities and paternities, cheerleading, student media, PRIDE organization for members of the LGBT+ community, Student Government Association and clubs that cover interests ranging from video games to math.
“My freshman year I was involved in RHA, which is one of the largest on-campus organizations, and I served on the executive board as a secretary. I was also on the executive board for Amnesty,” Gamiz said.
Not only can students participate in organizations but traditions as well. In the Clark Student Center, there is a seal that students must walk around; if a student steps on the seal they will not graduate on time. The only way to reverse this is by running to the Believers statue, which is located outside of D.L. Ligon Coliseum, and touching it. Other traditions are events such as Caribfest, which celebrates Caribbean culture on campus, and homecoming that consists of multiple activities like the cardboard boat race, lip-sync competition, the torchlight parade and a bonfire.
“I say homecoming week was pretty fun; the whole homecoming week was fun like the game and everything. The energy on campus that week was unmatched,” Katherine Kurylas, social work sophomore, said. “I was in the boat race that was a lot of fun, my boat made it back 95% of the way. It was fun.”
Through these events, students see many faces outside of the classroom and are able to create relationships. College is seen as a place to create long-lasting relationships and connections through events, organizations, classes or with a roommate.
“I made long time friends. I am so grateful one of my best friends ever was my roommate, and I met her at the school. I made super meaningful connections with people that still mean a lot to me,” Mitzi Lewis, associate professor of mass communication, said.
According to currently enrolled students, meeting new people and going to social events at college is a lot of the college experience, and it is easy to get caught up in them but it is important to remember to also keep up with the academic side of college. Keeping a balance of things is key to having the best college experience.
“Do not procrastinate, you’re gonna want to prioritize your social life over your studies. It is gonna come back; it’s gonna affect you later down the road even if you think you are staying on top of everything: no you’re probably not. Study! Learn how to study. [Place] lots of emphasis on study,” Kurylas said.
Many upcoming freshman find that balancing college life and personal life can be overwhelming. MSU has resources for freshman and upperclassmen alike, such as the counseling center to help students deal with the stress. More information on resources provided by MSU can be found at the MSU website.
“Reach out, ask for help if [you] need it; there is a huge support system to help. We don’t know if [you] need help unless [you] ask,” Lewis said.