Sophomore Criminal Justice Major Shares His 'First-Year Experience'
July 18, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
|Despite plans to be a "lone wolf" his freshman year at SHSU, sophomore Alfredo Loredo got involved with the SH ELITE program and a freshman learning community, both of which provided him a fulfilling first year at SHSU and led to him "breaking out of his shell." Above, Loredo hangs out in the SAM Center, where it all began. —Photos 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, criminal justice major Alfredo Loredo, from Huntsville, shares his experiences.
Dear Future Bearkats,
Prior to coming to Sam Houston, I honestly had no idea how I was going to get accepted to college, or even where to start; I had no sense of direction as to where I was going. Luckily, I had a few friends who suggested I get advised so I could begin to register for my courses.
The morning that I made it to the SAM Center, I ran into Dr. Bernice Strauss, who was the head of ELITE—Establishing Leadership In and Through Education—an organization that enables young African American and Hispanic males to mentor and tutor each other, while promoting positive competition to strive for an overall greater GPA. She politely asked me what I was doing there so early. Since most of the offices open at 8 a.m., I had 30 minutes to spare. Dr. Strauss kindly invited me into her office. Little did I know that this would open up one of many doors for me and my career at Sam; it was the event that initiated a “domino effect” of great opportunities.
Dr. Strauss asked me why I was on campus so early, and I explained that I was trying to get advised so I could begin to register for classes. She was pleased to hear this, so she invited me to take a seat while waiting for the advising offices to open and gave me information on ELITE. She asked me to be a part of ELITE it because she liked the fact that I was making an effort to be early and take care of business. This was kind of a shock to hear, because I had not planned to join an organization so soon in the school year, or even at all. By the end of our conversation, the advising office had opened up and I strolled in there a little more confident than before.
Of course, my confidence went away when my adviser handed me my course suggestions, indicating the classes I should take, because I had no clue as to how I would even register. I quickly ran back to Dr. Strauss, who introduced me to Miguel Arrellano, lead assistant to ELITE, who assisted me in selecting the correct courses. It was funny because he, too, referred me to another organization, the FLC, or Freshman Learning Community, that made the transition from high school to college a whole lot easier by putting you in a schedule with 25 incoming students who were also in the FLC; those same people are in most of your classes. Soon, these little things started to add up and come together for me and for the betterment of my future.
Now I know it seems like all work and no play, but, trust me, the volunteering opportunities and events that are part of ELITE and FLC are pretty satisfying. Sometimes you get a free shirt or free food, and when you’re a broke college kid, these things make a difference. But most importantly, the networks you build also have a big influence in and add value to your life by connecting you to people who care and want to influence you in the best ways they can. When I started college, I was kind of a lone wolf and wanted to remain that way, but, thankfully, the people at Sam Houston helped create a few cracks in my shell that made me step out and explore college life, including Ms. Candice Wilson, who, through the FLC, gave way for me to meet my peers and interact; and a good professor for the University 1301 class, Kathryn Kuczaj, who required my class to take some assessments to better understand our EI (emotional intelligence) and also to help us see what kind of learners we were. The volunteering opportunities also made a difference because they kept me active.
If there is anything this first year taught me, it is that opportunities are infinite; you just have to believe, put forth effort, and strive to be the best at taking advantage of them. I hope you also learn these things in your first year.
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