Today@Sam Article

First-Year Experience - Confronting Your Comfort Zone

July 19, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton

Editor’s note: Every summer, sophomores share some of their experiences and offer advice to SHSU’s newest cohort of freshman. In her “First-Year Series” discussion, Ilexus Williams shares how joining the First-Year Experience organization helped her get out of her comfort zone.


Dear future Bearkats,

Welcome to Sam Houston State University! My First-Year Experience is not your typical story, but it is a portion of my journey that has revealed my strength. I have more curves than most on my backside. No, I am not talking about my rear end; I am referring to my spine. I have scoliosis, which is the curvature and rotation of the spine. The summer before attending SHSU, I decided to have spinal fusion surgery to correct my curve and my surgery placed a few limitations to my mobility. I was unable to bend, twist or lift excessive weight, and my ability to complete daily tasks depended on someone else.

The condition of my mobility made me worry that I would not be able to fulfill my dream of attending Sam Houston State University. I felt the need to leave home to experience a different part of the world; I did not want to be comforted by my comfort zone. Attending Sam Houston State University was my chance to escape the security of home in order to promote self-growth and independence.

Fortunately, with the help of the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), at two months post operation, I was able to achieve my goal of becoming a Bearkat. SSD helps students with disabilities access equal education. They were able to provide me with additional time to get to class and arranged for me to be placed in a disability room with my sister. It made a university experience possible under my circumstances. The SSD played an essential role in my recovery and successful first year experience at SHSU.

Additionally, my involvement with the Pre-Law Cohort and the Freshmen Leadership Program aided in my successful first year. The Pre-Law Cohort exposed me to the various aspects of the legal field while providing me with information that will propel me in my college journey. I was able to gain valuable insight from practicing attorneys, and I was able to observe a homicide court case. The Pre-law Cohort taught me how to effectively set goals, manage stress, and study. This information will follow me not only in my college career, but also in life. Also, I was able to be surrounded by people who shared a mutual interest in law. We were able to gain valuable knowledge from each other while building camaraderie.

Furthermore, I cannot write this reflection without giving credit to the Freshmen Leadership Program. This program is a stepping stone for freshmen looking for future leadership roles at SHSU. The program helped me realize what it truly means to be an effective leader. Leaders must have vision, purpose, and a servant mentality. I will forever cherish the knowledge gained from both the Pre-Law Cohort and the Freshmen Leadership Program. My success at Sam would not be possible without these amazing programs.

Future Bearkats, as you embark on your new journey, you will face many challenges. How you respond to such adversity will reveal your true character. We will face many tribulations in life, but we can overcome them. You do not have to face these challenges alone; there are many resources at SHSU that help support students during tough times. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors at Sam Houston State University! 

Best wishes,

Ilexus Williams

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