Students reflect on freshman year experiences

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Football games at LaVell Edwards Stadium, dorm life and study sessions in the Harold B. Lee Library are all part of the typical freshman experience at BYU.

But the college experience is different than what’s portrayed in the media, especially at BYU, according to BYU students.

Freshman psychology student Elijah Glissmeyer said he recognized how different BYU is from what is depicted in the media. He said he noticed how movies and television show college as being carefree and fun all of the time, but he said freshman year requires hard work.

“I’ve learned it’s important to work hard, so that you can play as hard as you want after all the work is done,” Glissmeyer said. “You can have fun but you need to keep your priorities straight.”

Elijah Glissmeyer, green jacket, and his friends have learned how to balance school and personal life during freshman year. (@elijahgliss/Instagram)

Sarah Hansen, a BYU psychology alumna, said college was similar to what she expected, but the school work was more intense.

“I knew I would have to be independent and get used to being by myself sometimes,” Hansen said. “It wasn’t a difficult transition from high school classes as much as teachers said it would be. There were more hours put into studying than I expected, though.”

Hansen said the media shows college as a giant party, with the emphasis on joining sororities and fraternities and going crazy right after your parents drop you off. She said her advice to freshman is to remember who they are when they first start school.

“As a freshman, I think it is important to remember that even though your parents aren’t around, to keep your values, work hard and be responsible. Go into school with a motivated attitude to keep you going through hard classes or tests,” Hansen said.

Corbin Dunn attended Utah State University before leaving on his LDS mission and transferred to BYU when he returned home. He said he quickly experienced BYU’s competitive nature once admitted, especially the level of competition to get into the Marriott School of Management.

“BYU holds its prestige by being challenging both in general studies and studies that are associated with your major,” Dunn said. “The biggest transition for me was learning how to lay out a structured schedule. Even as a returned missionary, having developed a strong work ethic and dedication, it can be hard to stay motivated in school.”

Dunn said he has put in countless hours studying for tests to achieve the grades he wanted, which was different than studying for tests in high school. Dunn is the oldest child in his family. He said as he experienced his first semester at BYU, he began learning lessons he wished someone told him before he started school.

Corbin Dunn
Corbin Dunn says becoming involved with school activities and getting to know professors is beneficial in college. (Corbin Dunn)

“Get involved! I didn’t really start getting involved until my sophomore year,” Dunn said. “There are so many service and club opportunities that can make school so much more enjoyable and can even help you find your career pathway quicker.”

Dunn said becoming friends with professors has helped him do better in his classes, and they are great sources for future connections and recommendations.

Maura Bochte currently studies at the J. Reuben Clark Law School but received her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama. She said her time at Alabama was different than her experience coming to BYU.

“College was pretty much the same as I expected,” Bochte said. “Alabama was a big party school, so the frat parties were a huge part of campus culture. I feel like media is somewhat accurately related to my experience there. However, it’s been a different experience being at BYU.”

Bochte said she experienced a big transition going from high school to college.

“The biggest transition was mostly the fact that I was completely on my own,” Bochte said. “I didn’t have any family or friends in the state of Utah or Alabama when I first moved. I had to make all new friends, and that really pushed me out of my comfort zone in a good way.”

Bochte said trying new things has helped make her college experience more enjoyable, and she learned new things she never planned on.

“Keep an open mind and try new things. I took some classes in areas that I never thought I would be interested in, but they ended up being some of my favorite classes,” Bochte said. “Try new things socially as well. Hang out with a variety of people with different interests, because you never know what new hobbies or interests you will find.”

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