Seniors reflect on what they wish they had known as freshmen

BY CORIE LYNN

Students graduating this spring will receive degrees certifying that they know more about their chosen fields than when they first arrived at FHSU.

Though this applies to academics, students also learned outside the classroom during their collegiate careers. Their time in college has given them practical knowledge ranging from how to manage their time to how to create a successful work environment.

Looking back on their first year on campus, graduates reflect on what they wish they had known as they entered Fort Hays.

“I think I would’ve benefited more with just knowing how to manage my time as well as healthy study habits,” Bryson Homman said.

Homman, who is receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, saw the way his own procrastination frustrated him when he first began his studies.

As this year’s freshmen begin their studies, he suggests they also get involved in campus organizations where they will find their own friend groups.

“Make sure that you are taking time for yourself as well as making those bonds and memories with your friends during the years that you are in undergrad,” Homman said.

Olivia Zhang from Sias University in Xinzheng, China, is receiving her Master of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership.

She wishes she had known about the environmental differences before arriving on campus in America, regretting that she had not brought the right clothing for Kansas’s winters and summers.

In addition, she wished had brought more of her hometown food.

“First, just bring more summer and winter clothes and sunglasses,” Zhang said. “And for food, they would definitely miss their hometown food or something.”

She also found that the learning environment is different from that of China.

When Zhang attended Sias, students were not allowed to speak in class and connected with their professors through social media like WeChat. Now, she utilizes email and sits through classes that feel far more relaxed.

“If you have any questions [in China], ask them maybe after class or something,” she says. “Don’t challenge your professor. That’s not respectful. But here, people ask questions in time.”

Zhang wishes she had also known more about FHSU’s websites, like Blackboard, as international students such as her are not used to learning through such an online format.

“But I think it’s getting better because the new students, they said they know,” she said. “They know TigerLink very well, but when I came, I didn’t know.”

Many students also learn that their college experience will include highs and lows. Anthony Ventura, a pre-med major, learned this firsthand.

“One thing that I wish I had known is that college is one step forward, two steps backward and three steps forward,” he said.

Ventura found he could counter these highs and lows by creating an environment that leads to success. He refers to it as a blueprint method where he considers what other people have done to be successful.

“You have to look at the things that are not working, and you have to look at the things that are working,” Ventura said. “And you have to look at it in a blueprint perspective.”

He reminded students that their advisors will not have all of the answers and it is up to them to be successful. Part of this personal responsibility comes from utilizing tools, like email, and communicating early in their college careers to get a head start.

Ventura also encourages students to start going out of their comfort zone now, to not be afraid of what others think and to be helpful to those around them. He believes that actions always come back. You have to be careful what you put into the world.

“Kindness and love are the most wonderful things you can spread out from your environment,” Ventura said.

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