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Freshman Files: First year at a public flagship university

January 9th, 2017

We love this season, as last year’s high school graduates begin to share thoughts about their transition to college.  We’re especially interested when students tell us about ups and downs, as we know that every student experiences both.  Their reflections on what has been challenging and how they’re achieving success can be enormously helpful to students still contemplating college choices.

Although many Shrop Ed students strike out far from home for college studies, in some cases the best fit is right around the corner.  Our first college report of 2017 comes from Maya J., a first-year student at the University of Kentucky, who comments on the initiative required to make social connections in such a large community and the importance of strong study skills and a serious work ethic:

“I had a pretty good first semester at UK … ultimately, I ended up enjoying it very much and am eager to go back to campus. I think so far the most challenging thing for me has been meeting new people. On such a large campus, it’s unlikely you’ll see the same people again unless you really make an effort to, so that has been one of my biggest issues. Fortunately, I do have many friends from (high school), so I have still been having a good time.

My first semester classes were not too bad, but I definitely know how to do better for next semester. It is very easy to procrastinate and study less for things than you should, so I now know what I need to do to get the grades that I am wanting. I’d say that for anyone who is enrolling in a university, it is important that they realize how self-motivated you have to be. I could see it being very difficult for people who were not motivated in high school. The professors really want you to do well, so they give you many opportunities to boost your grade through extra credit, and even some retake exams.”

We asked a follow-up question, curious to know Maya’s favorite class, and received this reply:

“My favorite class was the Islamic Civilizations class that I took for my humanities credit. It was so interesting learning about the history of Islam and all of the beliefs that Muslims have. It made me feel much more knowledgeable … I will definitely try taking a class on Judaism and Christianity.”

There’s no better time than the undergraduate years for such exploration.  Given global events of our time, such studies are immensely helpful to students’ development as citizens. Thank you, Maya, for your willingness to share your analysis of both social and academic spheres.  Your resolve to apply what you’ve learned on a very large university campus is inspiring and, for younger students still contemplating their college choice, well worth noting.  We wish you great success in the years ahead!