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    An Inside Look at Freshman Year

    Student leaders offer advice for making the most of your freshman year.

    Interviews by Ann Swindell

    Freshman Year You know college will be different from high school. But just how different? Will studies be as hard as you've heard they'll be? What is dorm life going to be like?

    To find out, Christian College Guide talked to five college seniors who have various leadership responsibilities on their respective campuses. It is our hope that their insights and advice will not only help you adjust to life on campus, but also help you get the most out of your college experience.

    In the weeks before you left for college, what did you expect college to be like?

    Paul: I wasn't at all sure what it was going to be like. I had visited Bryan only once before, so I felt more uncertainty than anything, but I was really excited about the school and felt like it would be a good fit for me.

    Abbie: I was really nervous leading up to leaving for college, because I didn't know anyone at the school I was going to. It was a mixture of apprehension and excitement about meeting new friends.

    Matt: Abilene Christian University has a program called the "Junior Scholars Program" that I participated in during the summer after my junior year of high school. I took classes on campus and lived in the dorms. There were only 30 of us, so it was different from actual college life, but I got a general feel for what the campus was like. So in a lot of ways, I just expected to unpack my bags for a little bit longer than I had before.

    Is there anything you wish you'd known or done before leaving for college that would have helped you better prepare?

    Sara: It would have been really good if I had taken some college courses at a community college before I actually came to school. I didn't have to study much during my high school years, and then I came to college and had to study for everything! Not only would it have been nice to have had credits to transfer in, but I would have had a better understanding of how intense college was before I got there.

    Abbie: For me, I wish I had known about the space in the dorms and about how much to take and how much not to take. I felt like I brought so much stuff and had no place to put it!

    Chelsea: Me too. I wish I would have packed differently. I overpacked and when I got to school, I was like, Not all of this is going to fit in my room!

    How was college different from high school?

    Abbie: I went to a public high school, so the second I walked onto a Christian campus it was a totally different world—night and day. The whole atmosphere is different. For instance, I had never heard a prayer in high school and my very first class in college my professor prayed. That was amazing.

    Matt: I went to a public high school, and what I noticed the most is that ACU is a predominantly white university and in my high school I had friends from all kinds of backgrounds. It helped when I got involved in a group on campus called LYNAY—"Love Your Neighbor As Yourself"—which encourages community service through promoting cultural diversity.

    Chelsea: For me, it was a size difference. Coming from a big city, I graduated from high school with almost 800 people in my class, and the entire student population at Central is under 400. The size of the school and the town was a lot smaller than where I grew up, so the environment was a big change.

    Sara: The switch to dorm life for me was a very big change. It took me awhile to get used to living with a roommate every day. We had completely different upbringings, but my RA (resident assistant) helped me realize that those differences can help me grow. And they did. During the year, we found our groove and figured out how to live together.

    With all of these differences to adjust to, who helped you make the transition into college?


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