Editor’s note: Newman student Allison Schoeppner ’18, ’20 reflects on her time as an incoming freshman and how she prepared for her collegiate journey. She also spoke with students who were recently anticipating their own journey. She shares those thoughts here.
As another fall semester begins, a new class of incoming first-time students begins their college careers. Seeing all these new faces around campus brings back memories of my freshman year.
I remember the anticipation and excitement of beginning my first year of college. I did not know what to expect but I wanted to be prepared. I bought all my books, had all my supplies and knew which buildings my classes were in. I knew that college would be a big transition so I made sure to enroll in courses that I had taken in high school.
While all of these were helpful, the most beneficial thing came from the help of my advisor. She sat down with me to create a four-year plan that listed all the courses I would need to take each semester. Not only did it help me understand all the degree requirements, but it is also something I still refer to this day.
I talked to some of this year’s first-time students to find out how they prepared for college and their thoughts on starting the school year.
Many first-time students have found their own ways to prepare themselves for college life. Some students take college classes in high school like freshmen Nicholas Gold and Tejay Cleland.
Taking these classes early helped them transition into the curriculum while still remaining in a familiar environment.
Incoming freshman Rebecca Ortiz, a home-schooled student, traveled from South Carolina to come to Newman University.
“I’ve been preparing by just spending time with my friends and family, taking photos and packing things that remind me of home,” she said.
Ortiz also prepared for her Newman journey by taking some classes at a local technical college.
Another student, Jayla Stump, said preparing meant making two visits to Newman.
“I was really impressed right away,” said Stump. “I like how small it is just because I’m from a small town. Newman feels more like home and comfortable — everyone is very kind, nice and knowledgeable.”
Her preparation also included some advice from her older sister who has been attending a different college away from home for a couple of years. Stump said, “It was easy to learn from her experience, to know what she needed or didn’t need” in order to get her own list started.
Parents also helped many of the students get ready for college and even had some preparing of their own. Ortiz’s mother, Cristina, for example, helped by giving her daughter a lot of advice.
“The advice I have been giving her is just to take it all in and make good choices, to remember that it’s a once in a lifetime experience. There are going to be many memories for her to make while she’s here,” she said.
Erin Woolbright, mother of freshman Trevor Woolbright, explained how big of an adjustment this is for both of them.
She said, “I’ve been preparing mentally, just making sure I understand the school, what he’s getting ready to experience and prepare him for what’s to come. He’s my only child and It’s been me and him against the world for the past six years.”
Student Jennifer Thompson pointed out that faculty and staff can make an important difference by making sure the new students feel looked after. She said she hopes the professors will “let me know its okay to ask for help.”
Overall, the students I talked to had the same feeling of nervousness when it comes to entering the college classroom. But they also shared feelings of excitement and happy anticipation to see what their future at Newman University holds.