When I arrived on campus as a first-year college student, I was excited and full of anticipation! I looked forward to so many things: choosing my first courses, meeting professors who were experts in their fields, and exploring career opportunities that I had never dreamed for myself before.
I was also anxious — about everything I didn’t know.
I knew college courses would be very different from the ones I had in high school — but I didn’t know how my study strategies would have to change. I’d heard that career success would require endorsements from professors — but I wasn’t sure how I would get to know my instructors that well. I’d been told about all sorts of special opportunities, like studying in another country or working on a research project — but I didn’t know where to start, whom to talk to, or what steps to follow.
All students encounter diverse challenges when adjusting to college life, and I was no exception. My parents wanted to help me thrive in college, but they didn’t have the experience and knowledge of college life that other students’ parents had. I envied my classmates, who knew what resources existed, how to ask for them, and how to use them. These things weren’t written down anywhere because most students just knew them already, and I often wished that I had their knowledge.
I did have one important asset: a network of friends who, like me, wanted to make the most of their college experience. We had learned to succeed in high school and been accepted to a selective college, so we were determined to discover strategies for success in college. Most importantly, we were willing to share our knowledge and support each other as we faced different challenges during college and afterward.
Kenyon offers a variety of programs that bring students together for this purpose. Students in KEEP get a head start with a 6-week academic experience the summer before they arrive on campus. The REACH mentoring program pairs first-year students with older, more-experienced students. For students studying math and science, the STEM program offers activities and events with a professional focus. Students in these programs enjoy not only special programming and advising, but also the fellowship of like-minded students. I encourage you to learn more about these opportunities.
Professors Simon G. Garcia and Thomas Hawks