Today@Sam Article

Education Major Reflects On Making SHSU 'Home'

June 17, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

Mara Barnette

Editor's note: Every summer, sophomores share some of their experiences and offer advice to SHSU's newest cohort of freshmen. In her “First-Year Series” discussion, Mara Barnette, an interdisciplinary studies major from Tyler, shares how she made SHSU a home-away-from-home by finding comfort in her Freshman Learning Community friends and her sorority sisters. You also can read about Destiny Caldwell’s experience here.


Dear newest Bearkats,

In just a few months, you will be in my position and starting this crazy adventure of college.

For some people, the transition to college life is easy and exciting. For others, like me, it’s a little more of a challenge. I’m the type of person who feels most comfortable in my own space, and I would definitely call myself a homebody. It may not be cool to admit to being close with your parents, but I am, so leaving them was difficult. It’s also not easy for me to put myself out there because I am a little shy.

When I decided that I wanted to attend SHSU, I knew it would be risky for me since my hometown is almost three hours away from Huntsville. Even though I was scared to leave my comfort zone, I knew that I would make friends and meet so many different people. But the day I moved into my dorm, I honestly just wanted to pack up my stuff and go home. The tiny room I would be living in just didn’t feel like home.

Fortunately, here at SHSU, there are several opportunities for new students to get “plugged in” with other freshmen, as well as with upper-level students on campus. For me, I signed up for a Freshman Learning Community, which is basically a group of freshmen who all have the same major and take some of the same classes together. The big benefit for me was to always have familiar faces in class. It just put me at ease to have friends in class with whom I can routinely work on assignments or study; if I didn’t understand a lecture from class, the other members of my FLC were a great resource for clarification.

Another opportunity that helped me get involved was Greek life. Before coming to college, I was against being in a sorority because of the way it’s portrayed in the media. The first week of school was rush week and despite my previous thoughts about it, I decided to rush. I’m glad I did, because Greek life was not at all what I had expected. All of the girls that I met from each sorority were nice and made me feel welcome. While all of the sororities were great, Alpha Chi Omega was the one for me. Since joining Alpha Chi Omega, I have made some of the best friends I have ever had. I know that if I am having a bad day or just need to talk to someone, I can go to the Alpha Chi house and feel better after seeing my sisters. My sorority was a big contributor in helping me to make it through my freshman year.

SHSU has so many organizations and opportunities; there is something for everyone here! Whatever yours is, I hope you find your home away from home and have a fantastic first year!

Good luck!

Mara Barnette

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