Becoming a Bear: Advice from a freshman

By Olivia Turner | Staff Writer

As a senior fresh out of high school, I was ready to leave my tiny hometown behind and start my next adventure as soon as I graduated. I’m sure many other high school seniors can empathize with my feelings at the time. To a young person about to experience total freedom for the first time, the idea of college seems like the promise of a perfect new life.

Don’t get me wrong: My college experience so far has been a time of freedom and fun. But it certainly isn’t everything I’d hoped it would be.

When I imagined my life as a college student outside the confines of high school, I was taking into consideration all of the best things that come with it. What I’ve learned is that it’s OK to envision your dream life, but don’t make the same mistake I did by ignoring some of the more unfavorable bits. For all you soon-to-be Bears, here are some things I suggest considering.

Amid the madness of Move2BU and Welcome Week, your first few days on campus will probably go by in a blur of fresh faces and free food. Once your normal schedule sinks in, so can loneliness. Especially as someone who came to Baylor not knowing anyone, it was difficult to make friends fast.

Keep in mind it’s normal to experience a little loneliness at first, even when surrounded by so many people. Pretty much every freshman is going through the same thing. Just be sure to reach out and take as many chances to meet new people as possible. You never know who might make a great friend.

A great way to meet people with similar interests is to join student clubs, activities and intramural sports. Plus, if there’s a hobby you’ve been wanting to try or an organization you’ve been interested in but never pursued, it gives you the chance to try it out. After all, there’s no better time than freshman year.

On a more gloomy note, another thing to beware of is homesickness. As someone who was ready to leave the nest as soon as I graduated high school, I was not expecting this kind of emotional tug to creep up on me. Being on my own made me realize how much I love my family and rely on them, and I always thought of myself as pretty independent.

For this, there’s not much of a cure other than to distract yourself with plenty to do. Your time at Baylor will go by faster than you expect, so appreciate it while you’re here.

The last bit of advice I can give is to ask for help if you need it. Whatever obstacles you run into — whether it’s trouble with keeping grades up, staying strong in your mental health or even finding your next meal — Baylor is bound to have a resource to help. Some useful places to seek assistance are the Learning Lab in the Center for Academic Success and Engagement, free counseling services at the Counseling Center and free food from The Store.

Even if it seems like everyone around you has their life together, it’s likely they don’t. Don’t feel shame in asking for help. You’re going to do so well and will make a wonderful addition to the Baylor family.