As I look back at my time at State, I can truly say I’ve flourished. As the semester comes to a close, here’s how I navigated the last four years so you may flourish, too.
Just going outside of your dorm — OK residence hall — for an hour or so will boost your mood. You’re bound to meet someone out there. We hear there’s nothing to do. Or no one to meet. But are we too prideful to try something new or too shy to speak to someone?
That’s why there are icebreaker events when semesters start. Because we are social creatures, absolutely no social interaction can be detrimental to your mental health.
Set Your Pride Aside
This is not high school. You are semi-independent at the least, and fully independent at the most. Who you were in high school does not matter in college. You have the chance to reinvent yourself. Just don’t make yourself into someone who feels too good to interact.
Experience Your HBCU
“H-U! YOU KNOW”
“That’s the Tuskegee Way!”
“Welcome to the House!”
At other HBCUs, you’ll hear these proud phrases reflecting their culture. They represent well known “brands” in the world of HBCUs. State is a proud HBCU, too, if you take advantage of its culture and celebrate it. The opportunities are here.
Check your email
All student email is our primary mode of communication outside of flyers and info tables. You miss opportunities — like events or job fairs — ignoring your email. If you check it once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night, you’ll avoid FOMO. Most professors communicate through email, and are pretty good with getting back to you in a timely manner.
Keep an Open Mind
When starting a new job, a relationship or even new food, it takes openness. You were open to choosing West Virginia State University as your home for four years. To not be open to believing your time at State will be the best four years of your life is a contradiction. As cliche as it sounds… it is what you make it. So make it count.
To truly be a functional member of a society that can implement changes, you must participate. Board of Governors Meetings and SGA Forums are designed so you make change happen.
Care about what’s happening on campus (and you should, because you’re paying for it). Your voice carries weight (because you paid money for this).
Most of my blog posts are about the lack of involvement on campus due to students and faculty not speaking up. If just half of the students made an impact by going to student government forums and university town hall meetings (checking your emails), meeting student leaders and administrators (going outside), and not being complacent with things they don’t agree with (setting your pride aside), the campus will flourish.
And you will see change. And experience it.
If you’re an incoming student, I wish you the best and hope that this advice guides you in the right direction. If you’re a currently enrolled student, join the conversation and provide some tips as well. Comment below.