Hey incoming freshman, you WILL survive at Baylor

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

I know how you feel; I was there just over eight months ago.

You’re nervous. You have questions and concerns flowing through your brain. You’re thinking the worst will happen in your first semester of college. But listen to me — I can’t stress this enough. Take a deep breath, kick back and hear me out: You will be just fine.

I just finished my first two semesters of college, so I’m not speaking with upperclassman experience, but I feel like my message may resonate with you on a better level since I was literally just in your shoes. I am only giving you a few points of advice to read, but I guarantee they’ll be helpful.

  • Jot down important due dates (exams, projects, etc.) when you receive your syllabi on the first day of classes.

This may seem obvious, but trust me: A lot of people don’t do it. This will pay major dividends deeper into the semester. Also, be sure to see if there are any extra credit opportunities that can be turned in at any time. Doing these earlier rather than later is crucial, because when finals week comes around, they’re the last thing you’ll want to be catching up on.

  • If you enjoy going to church and partaking in religious activities, sign up for in-person Chapel and seek out a church in Waco for Sunday or college night services.

I know not everyone at Baylor is religious; I didn’t grow up in a church either. However, if you are religious, I highly suggest you take this note seriously. I was told by an alumna that while Chapel is required, she often looked forward to it. I’m not sure if Chapel will be offered in the same way that it was for my class, but there seem to be various options for students to really find what interests them, so I really suggest you take it in person if possible. You’ll get so much more out of it and truly enjoy time with God away from classes. For me, it was a very laid-back hour-and-a-half service once a week where you pray and sing worship songs, and you won’t be put on the spot. Don’t worry, introverts; I’m one too, and I never felt uncomfortable at Chapel.

Regarding a church in Waco, I know you might not always want to wake up on a Sunday to go to church, but there are plenty of great options in the area if religion interests you. There is also Vertical worship every Monday night on campus, and several local churches offer midweek college services too. Do some research, and don’t be afraid to try more than one church.

  • Don’t feel pressured to join a fraternity/sorority.

Just because you’ll feel like everyone is rushing for the spring semester, don’t feel like you must as well. I highly suggest it as an option if you find Greek life to be your niche, but don’t do it unless you feel compelled to for a reason other than it being “the norm.” You’ll know deep down if it’s right, so go with your gut. I didn’t join a fraternity because it wasn’t for me, but I have lots of friends who either knew they’d rush the whole time or found a calling to it later in the fall.

  • If you ever feel like you’re struggling, SEEK HELP.

This one, I cannot call more attention to. Everyone is dealing with something, whether big or small. You aren’t alone, and Baylor has the resources to help you. I’d be lying if I said there were never moments of weakness as a college student. It’s inevitable. Things stack on top of each other, and it feels like too much. But believe me: You’ll get through it and make it to the brighter side.

I could ramble forever, but that’s all for now. Congratulations, you’re about to be a freshman at Baylor. We are so excited to welcome you into the Baylor Family. I hope you took something out of what I said, but in all reality, the main takeaway is that no matter what you face in your near future, you will persevere. That mountain of adversity will not be too steep to climb, and you’ll reach the top. I have ultimate faith in you.

And oh, did I say? Sic’ em Bears!

Michael Haag is a third year Journalism student from Floresville, a small town about 30 miles south of San Antonio. Haag is entering his third year at the Lariat and is hoping to continue developing his sports reporting skill set. After graduation, he plans to work on a Master’s degree in Journalism in order to one day teach at the college level. He does, however, plan on becoming a sports reporter for a publication after grad school.