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Stomping the Yard

Freshman Memoirs: Students Dish on College Life

Our resident college blogger shares tips for finding a quality mentor on campus.
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Calling all college students! Our new weekly column, Stomping the Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives. JETmag.com’s team of experts will show you how to get it done from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for The Yard via digitalpitches@ebony.com.

This summer, I’m featuring “The Freshman Memoirs” from current college students who want to share their experiences and advice with incoming freshmen.  This week’s memoir comes from two students from Cheyney University–Simone Pearson and Winston Wright–who have teamed up to provide an array of advice based on their personal experiences in their first year of college.

Last-Minute Scholarship Provides Honorable Future!

After four years of high school, graduation was supposed to be the highlight of it all. I can remember how all of my friends were excited to be going off to their respective universities in the fall. Personally, I was stuck between a place of anxiety and a loss of faith. My parents weren’t able to assist me financially, even with several scholarships I received from my accepted institutions. Until graduation, I was trying to figure out my future.

A couple of weeks before graduation, my mother had suggested I reach out to an old family friend who taught at Cheyney University–one of only two HBCUs in the state of Pennsylvania. He suggested that I apply to Cheyney’s honors program and see what they had to offer.

At first, I wasn’t open to the idea of attending Cheyney because it wasn’t what I had thought my college experience was “supposed” to be. But, reflecting on my freshmen year, I can ultimately say that without all of the steps taken prior to the fall of 2013, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.

The Keystone Honors Academy at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania has not only provided me with a full-tuition scholarship, but with the type of environment where I can truly challenge my intellect and personalize my education. Having earned a 3.9 GPA, participated in a summer externship with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and served as a member of the freshman class council, I am proud to be a Cheyney Wolf!

Although prior to graduation, I wasn’t sure of what the future held for me, it all turned out for the best. My advice for incoming freshmen is to always have an open mind–for no matter where you go, you determine your own path in life. -Winston Wright

winston cheyney

Unfortunately The Pool Party Won’t Get You An “A”

col·lege life  noun  \ˈkä-lij\ \ˈlīf\ :  The freedom to live as you wish in conjunction with the array of activities and excitement, at times, can seem insane and be overwhelming, possibly scary.

 The freedom that college offers can turn your world inside out and upside down–if you let it. It’s your job to find your footing and stand your ground. Each new experience should be assessed prior to action. The goal is to try to enjoy yourself, but avoid a negative impact on your education. A campus-wide pool party will not get you an “A” in physics, no matter how many ways you convince yourself that cannonballs and backflips are lessons in aerodynamics.  So, my tips for incoming freshmen include:

Maintaining focus and not cheating your time!

The biggest challenge for all students is time management.  There’s more than enough time for fun and achieving academic success.  But you have to build habits of managing your time effectively.  Don’t cheat yourself out of giving your greatest effort in your studies, and don’t settle for good if you can do better and achieve your best.  Otherwise, you will disappoint yourself, most importantly, and those that supported you during your journey to college.

Your personal interests are top priority!

Once you find the right combination of friends and balance your education with fun, everything will gradually fall into place.  Don’t be embarrassed or apologetic for caring about yourself and wanting to pave the best path possible to your future.  Stay true to your best self and all the sacrifices will be more than worthwhile.  -Simone Pearson

simone pearson

About Kelly Fair

Kelly Fair

Kelly Fair is the founder of the highly successful Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program that  has served more than 600 girls, aged 7 to 17 years old, to be effective communicators, and career and community conscious leaders! This work has been supported by a network of 300+ volunteers from the Chicagoland community and area businesses such as Bloomingdale’s, Microsoft, ThoughtWorks and many more. You can follow Kelly on her blogand on Twitter at @KFairtheMentor.