Today@Sam Article

First-Year Experience - Discovering Campus Community

July 5, 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, Hannah Waltrip shares how joining the First-Year Experience organization helped her adjust to college life after graduating from a small-town high school. 


Dear Future Bearkat,

I knew college would be very different from the small town high school I attended, where everyone knew each other since kindergarten. While attending a session of “Saturday at Sam,” I heard about the learning communities. I took some time to research which one would best fit my personal interests and career goals and determined the Bearkat Learning Community (BLC) was the best fit for me.  

Joining BLC was a great opportunity for me I didn’t know my way around campus at all. Early on, I was so intimidated that I didn’t even want to go to the dining halls by myself. BLC gave me an opportunity to meet other students who were experiencing many of the same issues of feeling lost and overwhelmed. We worked as a team to help each other find our way around campus and support one another as we made our transition to college life.  We shared attending some of the same classes together and were able to form study groups to help support each other for test reviews and homework assistance.  It was a bit challenging for me to learn the study skills for college since they were more demanding than the level that was required at high school.  I learned quickly that it’s necessary to stay on top of assignments and not procrastinate.  

In the fall semester, BLC offered six classes to help students reflect on their college goals and visualize finishing graduating with the degree of your dreams. These classes offered an opportunity for self- examination and also to discuss some of the struggles first year students may face.  The BLC also offered some fun social events, bringing in a variety of speakers and sponsored a wonderful meal. These events gave me an opportunity to bond with my fellow students while hearing a good presentation from a speaker on valuable topics.

I also signed up for University 1301, which helps first year students with many different aspects of college. The class required me to attend certain events on campus for a grade. This gave me the chance to experience new events on campus that I might not otherwise have attended, such as the homecoming football parade, which was fun. I also learned about the great support systems the campus offers like the writing center and math tutors available for student use.   These academic centers have helped me out tremendously this year and are available to do the same for you.

I have made friends through BLC, and we will continue to remain study partners for future classes. I encourage all new students to join BLC for a wonderful first year learning experience and the opportunity to make life-long friends.


Hannah Waltrip


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