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Today@Sam Article


Freshman Victim Studies Major Shares Her 'First-Year Experience'

June 5, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Johnson sitting at a computer in the Reading Center
During sophomore Alexis Johnson's first-year at SHSU, she learned how much her professors care about their students, how important getting involved is to being a well-rounded person, and that SHSU offers great resources, such as the Reading Center (above), which helped her keep her GPA high. —Photo by Brian Blalock


Editor's note: To help welcome incoming students who will be visiting campus for orientation this summer, the First-Year Experience Office asked four now-sophomores to write letters sharing some of the things they learned during their first year at SHSU and offering advice to SHSU's newest crop of freshmen. Below, victim studies major Alexis Johnson, from Houston, helps kick off the series.


Dear Future Bearkat,

Alexis JohnsonWhen I first started college back in August of 2013, I admit I was on edge about a few things. The main concern that I had was if I had what it took to make the major transition from high school to college. So many people said that when I made it to college, instructors and professors would not care at all about me and I would be just a number. It was quite scary to think that I would be left on my own to figure out the whole college process. Of course, I was relieved to find out that people were predicting the worst-case scenario when they were telling me about how college would be, because I have yet to experience the gruesomeness of non-caring professors and instructors. In fact, during my first year of college, I received so much support and guidance from many people, including my professors, instructors, and other faculty and staff members. These people really helped during the transition period of my college experience and continue to coach me on how to be successful while I am in pursuit of accomplishing my goals.

During my first year, I realized that being so socially reserved could hinder the impact that I could have and the connections I could make with people. After I realized this, I started to work harder at conquering this major obstacle, and I am proud of my progress. Certainly it has not been an easy objective for me, but I have had plenty support from professors, instructors, and staff on campus. I am now getting more involved by running for two different officer positions in Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society, is an organization that specifically recognizes freshmen of high academic achievement. I am also joining positive movements around campus such as the Food Pantry Planning Committee, which is dedicated to starting an on-campus food pantry for college students. Becoming a part of the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshman Honor Society and the Food Pantry Planning Committee has really helped me achieve my goal of breaking away from being so socially reserved. I can honestly say that, along with achieving my set goal for my grade point average, becoming more socially involved on campus is also a great accomplishment that I will continue to build on.

In addition, I was able to learn the importance of seeking financial aid constantly and about so many valuable resources on campus. I would recommend a few things that could help you maximize your first-year experience and allow you to be successful in your transition to college. First, I recommend applying for scholarships, scholarships, and more scholarships! I say this because financial aid is not promised from the school and the scholarship process here at Sam Houston is very competitive. There is so much free money floating around from outside scholarships and I am a witness of that because outside scholarships paid the majority of tuition and fees my first year.

I also would highly recommend that while in the process of preparing for the first year that you research first-year student learning communities. A learning community is structured to help incoming freshmen successfully transition into their first year in college and provides students with resources that will help them throughout their academic career. From personal experience, I can honestly say that joining a Freshman Learning Community was one of my greatest decisions; through the Bearkat Learning Community, which is the learning community I joined, I was exposed to so much helpful information, including about resources such as the Writing, Reading, and Math Centers on campus. Being in a learning community allowed me to experience presentations on money management, health and wellness, career options, and multicultural diversity, just to name a few. I also was able to make connections with so many people.

I really encourage you to find a Freshman Learning Community here at Sam Houston that best suits you, because you have so much to gain. I believe it is just amazing how incoming students have access to so many resources that can help them adjust and be successful, and I feel like every incoming freshman should be aware of the amazing programs created for them. Overall, I really hope that by sharing my experience and the knowledge I have gained with you, I am able to make a difference in your college experience and encourage you to not be afraid of what is in store as you come closer to starting your college career. Remember that your college experience is what you make of it so make your mark, and Eat ‘Em Up, Kats!


Alexis Johnson
A Proud Bearkat




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