Today@Sam Article

Houston Native Overcomes Homesickness In First Year

July 12, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

Editor's note: Every summer, sophomores share some of their experiences and offer advice to SHSU's newest cohort of freshmen. In his "First-Year Series" discussion, Jacory Bellnamy shares how taking University 1301 helped him overcome homesickness and better prepare himself to become a successful first-generation college student.


Dear Future Bearkats,

Hello, my name is Jacory Bellnamy and I am the first person in my entire family to go to college.

I was born and raised on the southwest side of Houston. I have a stepfather who plays a very big role in my life, right along with my amazing mother. I developed study habits while I was in high school because I knew I needed to start early and not wait until I got to college.

I knew I wanted to go to college, but I did not know where because I had never been out of Houston before. Therefore, I did my research, applied to different universities, and then I saved up for a flight to Atlanta to visit Morehouse College.

I was so nervous because I was accepted, and I had never been in another city let alone another state by myself. My mom was freaking out. She called me literally almost every two hours. I decided I would not go that far off to college, at least not just yet as freshman.

A couple weeks later, I traveled to Sam Houston State University with three of my friends to visit—and we fell in love with it. SHSU is one hour away from Houston, which gives my mom and I the comfort that if anything happens, push 90 on the freeway, and be in Huntsville in 30 to 40 minutes.

On move-in day, which was emotional because my parents helped me, we moved my stuff in my dorm and we said our goodbyes. Then it hit me when they got in the car that I was not going with them. I told myself not to look back because I just wanted to scream “Mom do not leave me here!” but I had to realize that I am here to get a degree.

I needed to be “the solution not the pollution”— that phrase helped me throughout that week, because I needed to be the one to break the curse of not going to college or step out of my comfort zone. The pollution would be me sitting at home all day, eating all the food.

After two months, the homesickness was kicking my behind. I called my godmother and I just cried because I was overwhelmed. I did not have anyone to talk to in my family that could relate to what I was going through. So, we prayed on the phone and I had to take it day by day.

What was so ironic was that in my University 1301 class, we discussed homesickness and how to deal with it. I used what my professor Ms. Tipton taught me, “Go out and meet new friends, take a break from studying for couple of hours to let your brain rest, join organizations that you feel comfortable in, and stay connected to home, but not too connected.”

So, I did. I joined NAACP, I interned with the Exceptional Men of the Talented Tenth Inc., I became a member of E.L.I.T.E., and I joined Men of Honor in the fall semester of my freshman year. If I am feeling sad, I have so many people I can talk to and they’re willing to listen and give feedback.

That is something else my University 1301 class taught me, “Talk about your feelings and do not hold them inside. It may feel weird at first but after a while, you start to feel better.”

University 1301 also helped me with my time management, which is what I needed when I went through and completed my Membership Intake Process for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. in my spring semester as a freshman. Ms. Tipton even got each of us a planner, which helped a lot to plan my day, organizing meetings and financial spending. I ended up getting a checking and savings account to put money aside for personal spending, emergencies and school spending.

I also learned how to keep track of how much money I have and how much I am spending. University 1301 gave me lessons that I will take with me for the rest of my college career. I highly recommend taking it to any incoming freshman, especially if you’re a first-generation student. People in the Bearkat Learning Community and University 1301 are there to help you.

Everyone wants success, but do you have the drive and determination to put that plan into action? I leave you with a quote from William Ernest Henley, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” You have to go out and get the resources; they’re not going to come to you. You are now in control of your life.

Have a great semester.

Jacory Bellnamy

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