Moving away to college can be tough. I mean c’mon, you are leaving the comfort of your hometown surrounded by your family and friends and moving to a different city with so many unknowns. Who will your new friends become? How challenging will your classes be? Will people accept you? Is college even for you? All of these questions ran through my head in what seemed like a never ending nightmare. I soon realized that this “imaginary nightmare” would turn into a dream-come-true the moment I stepped foot onto Missouri State University just four short years ago.
Over the last four years I have learned so much about myself, who I am and who I want to become, the possibilities and realities of the world I will soon be entering (the second part of the nightmare). I also realized the passion, motivation, and experiences that I have been equipped with all because of attending Missouri State University. I hope to share a couple of ways that I believe you can “Get The Most Out of MoState”. After all, you just have to know how to B.E.A.R.U.P!
Nobody knows yourself better than you. Embrace who you are and stand confident in that. Understand your skills and abilities and put those to use while at Missouri State. Expand on what you already know and have a hunger to learn more. Be true to yourself and take chances. Don’t be afraid to fail or ask for help because you are surrounded by resources. Seek opportunities that you wouldn’t expect to seek and let your true colors shine brightly. Be excited and feel valued because you are! You are part of an incredible community that needs you to be YOU.
Embrace your education
Going to class is the easy part (so make sure you do that) but having a passion for what you are learning can be challenging earlier on. Seek opportunities to apply what you are learning to keep the content relevant and exciting. Make a couple of friends in class to study with and to hold you accountable for your course work. Find connections between your classes and chat with your professors about the bigger picture and post-graduation opportunities. Taking the opportunity to embrace your education and to really piece it all together will make it fun to learn, not just a requirement to pass a course.
Your college experience is such a great time to meet people that are different than you, have different experiences from you, and that have different beliefs than you do.Take advantage of being in such a diverse community and initiate those tough conversations. Take time to listen to people share their stories, their heritage, their beliefs, and who they really are. Seek to better understand those things and be vulnerable with others about who you are. Encourage them and build them up and really strive to understand differences instead of using differences as a destruction tool.
Realize your potential
You are the next best ____________. The cool thing about Missouri State is that you get to fill in that blank. You have the opportunity to reach your goals and to live your dream(s). If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? Set the bar high, dream big, and then work to accomplish it. Once you understand your potential you are unstoppable.
Utilize your resources.
The opportunities are limitless at Missouri State! Start looking for these opportunities now, don’t wait. Get involved in a fraternity or sorority, campus ministry, community service organization, academic organization, or some of the other nearly 400 student organizations on campus. Getting involved in one organization will lead to meeting new people, learning about the organizations they are involved in, and ultimately getting yourself even more involved on campus. Though a lot of opportunities are related to organizational involvement, there are so many beyond organizations. Visit the Career Center and learn more about internships and the job hunt. Getting involved will unlock opportunities during your time at Missouri State and far beyond.
Pause and enjoy the moment
College goes by quick, believe me. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to decide how I would decorate my room in Blair-Shannon House. Amongst going to class, getting involved in organizations, volunteering, working, and the many other things college students experience, it can be hard to find time to “pause”. It’s important to think about who you are and to reflect upon your college experience in the moment. Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself. At the same time, don’t get so involved that you don’t have time to enjoy those little moments in life. Take a break and grab a donut from Hurts or play some mini-golf at Fun Acres. Do the things that make you happy and allow you to refuel.
As I begin thinking about graduation and what comes next in life, I am forever grateful of the home that Missouri State has created for me. The relationships I have built with faculty, staff, mentors and mentees, fraternity brothers, peers, administration, and so many others, have allowed me to achieve so many personal and professional goals. I’m confident that you will do the same. Then again, you just gotta #BearUp!
Blake Shepheard is a senior majoring in Public Relations. He is a marketing and community engagement intern for LeaderShape and is heavily involved on campus as a building manager in Plaster Student Union, a member of a social fraternity, and the VP of Membership Development for the Interfraternity Council. Read more from Blake at www.thoughtsfromBS.wordpress.com.