Today@Sam Article

First Year Experience - The Key To Creating Goals As A Freshman

July 18, 2019
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” letter to new Bearkats, Madison Steen shares how the First-Year Experience program helped her to make a plan and stick to it.

Madison Steen2

Dear Future Bearkats,

College for me has been nothing less than a smooth transition. If I had chosen to go somehwere other than Sam Houston State University, I probably would have written that first sentence differently. There is no other school I’d rather be at. I truly believe I am in the right place for me.

Academics in college can be related to a quote “You reap what you sow.” Before starting college, peers who were older always advised me to learn to study. Often times, you hear a story of a new college student failing their very first test because in high school they “never had to study.” I used this knowledge to my benefit.

As a very goal-oriented individual and someone who loves a good challenge, I decided I was not going to make that same mistake. As a pre-nursing student, I knew there was no time for messing around. I needed to put myself in the best position to get accepted into nursing school and eventually get my dream job. I knew my grades were something I could control, so that’s exactly what I did. I pinned lots of study tips, read up on how to succeed your freshman year of college, and fortunately as a requirement I had to take University 1301.

Madison Steen500At first, I thought this class was not going to be beneficial to me whatsoever, but I was so wrong. My lecturer, David Yebra, took his job personally with my cohort of students. He truly wanted to see us succeed not only in school but in life and the work environment as well. The course material was helpful as far as studying, social networking, and more, but Mr. Yebra went beyond the book. He made us participate in several presentations to help us practice our public speaking skills. We also participated in a project where we pretended to be on the board of a hospital and had to make decisions that would result in life or death for some of the patients. He wanted to give us real life examples of what we’d be dealing with on a daily basis as a nurse. With the time span of a semester, he wanted to prepare us as much as he could to get a job and keep a job. I am thankful that through being in the Pre-Nursing Learning Community I was able to take this class.

Along with Mr. Yebra, I feel as though all of my professors want to see us succeed. They aren’t trying to weed students out. They are simply passionate about their subjects and want to give us as much knowledge as they can. I ended up with a 4.0 my first semester of college while taking 17 hours. It didn’t come easily, I worked for it. I put my studies as a top priority because I had a goal for myself and I intended on reaching it.

One study tip I followed was rewriting my notes right after my class, especially the most difficult ones. I also started studying a week in advance for my tests by making flashcards and taking practice tests until I knew the information forwards and backwards. My point is, you are in control of your grades. Not the professor, not your parents, not your friends. You can work for the grade you want.

Another important part of my freshman year was my support system: new and old. My family has been my No. 1 supporter my whole life. They continue to support my goals and aspirations every single day. Without their constant support and encouragement, I probably would have moved back home. Alongside my family is my friends and boyfriend. They encourage me when I doubt myself and remind me of the dreams and goals I have for myself. Without these people that have held significant influence on my life, I do not think my transition would be as easy. On the same note, I literally came to SHSU by myself. None of my closest friends were going here, just me. Thank goodness for the Pre-Nursing Learning Community because that is how I met my roommate and now she’s one of my closest friends. It is great to have a friend and roommate that has similar goals as me. We push each other to do our best, study and help each other when we can, and also lean on each other during the stressful times (because trust me there will be stress). I also met so many other friends through the organization known as Chi Alpha. It is a non-denominational Christian organization on campus. This group of people supported me spiritually. The weekly services and bible studies provided a light-hearted outlet in times of stress and whenever I needed to add some fun in my week.

My best advice to a future Bearkat is create goals for yourself, strive to meet them with all you are, and establish a good support system. I believe that has been the backbone of my fantastic freshman year.

Eat ‘Em Up Kats!

Madison Steen

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