By Zach Walker
I had a great first year at Truett McConnell University, and I also learned a lot. There are several lessons that I would like to share with students entering college this fall. My hope is that you will heed my advice and have an even greater year than I!
1. Attend student events. I loved going to the many different events on and off campus, like the Hoedown, Bob Ross paint night, and weekly Bible studies. Even though some events would feel a little awkward for me, especially in the first five minutes, I always found students to talk to, and eventually formed some great friendships. Attending student events is a great way to connect and make new friends.
2. The best friendships aren’t forced. The first week I was a little nervous about fitting in, but I ended up making so many good friends! I love the community atmosphere in the dorm and late-night conversations in the hallways. I had such a positive dorm experience. Homework sessions, movie nights, and playing Uno were some of my favorite activities. Dorm life helped me to meet friends and grow in my community.
3. Pace yourself and give yourself time to rest. Whenever I needed to decompress and relax, I would find somewhere quiet to think. I loved grabbing coffee and going to the cross or the fountain for devotions, but there were times when I visited Sweetwater, Jumpin’ Goat, and a few other local coffee shops in town.
4. Planning is key. School and work were easier to balance when I planned each week out and made a list of my goals for the week. One thing I wish I knew before I started my first year was to worry less. I spent a lot of energy worrying about things that didn’t come to pass. Remember to take life one day at a time and trust God. Everything will work out in His timing.
5. Get out of your comfort zone! Getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to grow as a person. Social situations can be scary to some, especially introverts, but I can assure you that leaping into the unknown is the best thing you can do! Abraham Maslow said, “You will either step forward into growth, or step back into safety. Our fears usually are built up in our heads but as soon as we take a step, they disappear.”
Michelle Poler did a 100 day project where she faced a different fear each day; she wrote, “When we plan experiences that we are comfortable with, and that are repetitious, chances are that they won’t be as memorable … but if we plan things that we’ve never done before … you will have a one-of-a-kind experience.” To me, we can be comfortable and complacent, or we can be adventurous and experience new memories!
Everyone’s freshman year is unique. As a transfer student, I thought I might be left out and struggle to fit in, but it was the opposite of what I presupposed in my mind. Try new things and don’t be afraid to branch out or feel awkward; life is all about putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and seeing what happens. I hope these tips help you to have a thriving first year experience at Truett McConnell University!
Zach Walker is a sophomore at Truett McConnell University, where he is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department.