By Shelby Stegall
What I wish I would’ve known as a freshman. The months prior to attending St. Andrews University were filled with nervous excitement. While leaving home for the first time is exciting, it can also be a scary and nerve racking experience. If that’s you, it is okay, it’s normal. It’s okay to be nervous, your whole life is about to change. I was nervous for the same reasons many students heading into their freshman year of college are. I was nervous about making friends, becoming homesick, struggling in my classes and so much more but I am here to tell you; relax and enjoy every second of it.
Welcome to the Four Best Years of Your Life
When I first began St. Andrews all the nervous energy I had seemed to dissipate almost immediately, the staff, faculty and upperclassmen were all very kind and more than willing to lend a helping hand. Before I knew it St. Andrews felt like a home away from home. Looking back at my freshmen year there are several things I would encourage myself to do. I would tell myself not to be shy or afraid to try new things. This is the time to do just that. Another thing I would tell myself is to make the most of every moment spent here, the time goes by far too quickly and before you know it you’re a graduating senior. The most important thing I think I will take away from St. Andrews are the friends that became family. The friends you make in your next four years here will be the people you share everything with and spend the majority of your time with. They’ll become your family while you’re away from home.
I decided to ask a few St. Andrews students what were some things they wish they would have known as college freshman. The first person I asked was senior Katelyn Daggett. Katelyn has been at St. Andrews University all four years and is majoring in equine business management. She said that from an equestrian aspect she wishes she would’ve come in with more experience showing IEA in high school and catch riding horses because it would have prepared her better for riding on the IHSA team at St. Andrews. Katelyn said from an academic and social aspect she wishes she would have been better at managing her time and would have told herself to be more outgoing.
I also asked senior Emilie Peedin who has been here all four years and is majoring in equine business management as well. Her words of advice from an equestrian aspect were, “the more effort you put in, the more you will get out of it.”. She says she didn’t realize this until her junior and senior year here and missed out on so much fun during her first two years as a St. Andrews Equestrian because of it. She also said the friends you start out with here might not be the ones you leave with and that’s okay because you learn and grow from it.
Professors Are Not Intimidating
Next I asked sophomore Alissa Picard. Alissa has been here both her freshman and sophomore year and is majoring in therapeutic horsemanship. Her advice to college freshman is to not be intimidated by the professors because they’re here to help you. She also said she came to love the small school atmosphere because of the close relationships you build with the professors, they aren’t just our teachers but also a friend when you need them to be.
Speak Up – Your Opinion Counts
Senior Grace Matonis, who is also an equine business major, says she wishes she would’ve known that it’s okay to answer a question in class and be wrong, nobody cares. This is something that I think many students beginning college struggle with but you should not be nervous to raise your hand and talk in class, the professors here love class discussions and no one is going to judge you if you say the wrong thing. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Kerri Paschal is also a senior at St. Andrews. She is studying forensic chemistry with a minor in philosophy and religious studies. Her words of advice are to be involved in as many clubs and activities as you can. She says to get the most out of your experience you have to be involved. Senior Nina Havelka is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry and encourages freshman to put themselves out there and take every opportunity available.
It Will Be Over Before You Know It
Each of us agree that St. Andrews has given us an unforgettable college experience and awarded us with so many opportunities. This university has taught us many valuable life lessons. We will always cherish the time we have spent here. Our most important message to freshman is to make the most of it; it will all be over before you know it.