Coming in to college, I was nervous about so many things. I like to think that I’m a pretty laid back person, I’m never super anxious or nervous, but going to college gets anyone nervous. I still remember the butterflies I had as my dad drove us to Shawnee from Midwest city.
My first semester was everything I expected, but also surprised me a lot as I went through my classes and being social. I learned a lot, not only academically, but also just learning more about myself.
One of the main things that I was nervous about was making friends. I was going from having a solid support system back home to knowing absolutely nobody where I was going; it terrified me. I’m not a super-outgoing person. I have enough manners and common sense to talk to people when they talk to me. As for starting conversations, I’m usually not going up to people and starting them, I wait for them to come to me. That’s just my nature as a person, so coming to college was daunting. I didn’t know if people would have cliques or if — because it was a small school — people already knew others that were going.
The first little bit I clung to my roommates. We were all doing this together for the first time and could talk about how weird college was. Slowly but surely, through welcome week groups and classes, I started to make a lot of friends. Most of my friends come from my hall; we all bonded super well at the beginning of the year and we’ve continued that friendship. Along the way, we’ve picked up people, and slowly but surely, a good group was formed. During J-Term we hung out almost every night, either watching movies or going to basketball games. There’s always something to do on campus.
Looking back I realize that I really should not have been worried about making friends. What I failed to realize is that everyone is lost. This whole college thing is new to everyone and you’ll find people that are just as lost as you, and you can build friendships that last a lifetime.
Something I’ve learned at OBU that surprised me is how available professors are. Every professor on campus cares about their students, is what I was told by the student who gave me a tour, but I thought she was just trying to really sell me on the school. Throughout my first semester, I came to realize that they actually do care about you and your performance in class very much. Office hours are there for a reason and you should utilize them as much as possible when it comes to questions, or even just wanting to talk. They’re always there to talk to you and guide you.
From personal experience, I can tell you that, yes they do value you as a student, but more importantly as a person. During the first semester, I struggled a lot with my major. I came in as a history major because that’s what I liked to do in high school so I figured it was a safe bet. As the semester went on and I thought about it and talked to my friends and family about it, I wasn’t sure if history was the right major for me.
My English professor, Dr. Noble, actually put the thought in my brain in the first place, telling me early in the semester to change my major upon seeing that I enjoyed writing and was pretty good at it. When it came to questions that really only a professor could answer, I turned to him; asking him what I could do with an English degree and I told him that this is what I like to do, what can I do with that? He worked with me and talked to me over several meetings, guiding me to think about doing a particular route that seemed to interest me.
Academically, I was prepared for college. My school district was large and I had a lot of opportunities to challenge myself while I was still in high school, so I was prepared for the fast pace and workload for the most part. Even with all the preparation from high school, I struggled a little bit. College is just a different atmosphere and has aspects that I wasn’t ready for. The weirdest part for me was out-of-class essays. Before college, every essay I wrote was in 45 minutes or less. With in-class essays, you write it and send it in, you don’t really have time to review it for the most part. I was surprised by how much I loved and preferred out-of-class essays, especially on some of the things we wrote. The Success Center was a blessing, an amazing place to get critiques and help when you’re struggling with an essay. I really enjoyed being able to go somewhere to get constructive criticism on my papers.
My first semester of freshman year was one of learning and creating friendships, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for me and my classmates.