A semester full of new opportunities is just around the corner! In a few weeks, incoming students will be making their way to Pensacola, FL, and beginning their PCC journey. Between classes, campus events, and a variety of opportunities to serve, getting some “sage advice” from a few seniors could come in handy.
Having been homeschooled, senior Johnna Pinto (SC) remembers her first few weeks being full of nervous excitement as she met new people, learned different building locations, and registered for her classes. “I had never really experienced a classroom setting, much less having classmates or the camaraderie that accompanied that,” she said. “I took a few minutes to remind myself that I wasn’t the only one [new to class life] and to ask for help during the first few weeks.”
Eric Decker (Sr., IL) relates to Johnna’s experience. “The first few weeks were scary. I didn’t really know what I was doing,” he admitted. “Thankfully, I had great roommates that were able to set me straight and gave me plenty of advice on how to survive college life.”
As he studied criminal justice, Eric found resources readily available to help him reach his goals academically, including the MILO simulator, a firearms and use-of-force training system, and the student-led Criminal Justice Club. “Make friends early! Get to know your fellow CJ majors!” he advised. “Out of all the people I’ve met on campus, my longest lasting friends are people in my major. Also, take advantage of your instructors’ knowledge. Most of them were former law enforcement officers, and the advice they give may save your life in the future.”
For Carlee Gum (Sr., KS), adjusting to PCC’s campus life took some time, but it granted an environment to learn and grow. “I was excited to meet new friends and see who my teachers were, but PCC was also a whole new world for me. I had to get used to the culture of it all,” she said. “Be patient during this time. We are human, and humans make mistakes. All the more reason why we need Jesus. Our identity should be found only in Him.”
“The most difficult thing I adjusted to was managing my time,” said Paul Carman (Sr., FL). “College is a balancing act. You have to make sure you’re getting enough sleep so you can get up on time, but also that you’re studying enough to do well in your classes and leaving time in the day to spend time with friends. Finding the perfect balance is very difficult, and it took me years to get it right.”
As for what resource has helped him the most, Paul echoes an answer popular among seniors. “I cannot stress this enough—use the Library to study,” he said. “It’s quiet, you can wear earbuds, the Wi-Fi is good, and it’s easy to find a good place to focus. If you need to get stuff done, that’s the place to go.”
Looking back to her freshman year, Jennifer Prickett (Sr., FL) regrets not having the best perspective of her first classes—both general education as well as major core. “Your focus should be ‘How can I use what is being taught to prepare for life, my career, etc.?’” said Jennifer, who is studying chemistry. “Don’t just study for the grade. Study for the knowledge. Study to stretch yourself and prepare yourself to be what God wants you to be.”
Since she is more introverted, Jennifer has also appreciated the variety of events offered throughout each semester and hopes new students will take advantage of the experiences they offer. “The event is not as important as the memories you are making and the friendships you are building,” she said. “I would encourage you to attend things like Dramatic Productions, concerts, recitals, seminars, sports games, Student Outings, or whatever you are most interested in. Go with a small group of friends and focus on the time that you get to spend together to build your friendships.”
With campus events such as Eagle Mania and Greek Rush returning this year, Tessa Catuto (Sr., TX) is excited that students old and new will be able to jump in and experience them. “Many things are coming back this semester that allow students to get involved in different aspects. I would really encourage them to take advantage of all the things that are going to be offered by participating in them or helping out. The more you get involved, the better you can see what you enjoy and what fits best with you,” she said. “Christian Service was modified this past year, but I am looking forward to that being back in full swing and a chance for students to help out the community and share their testimonies with others.”
“I wish I would’ve done more freshman year,” said Isaac Ingles (TX), a senior double-majoring in vocal performance and choral conducting. “I didn’t get involved in H.M.S. Pinafore, a Fine Arts musical, because I had 16 credit hours already. When the performance happened, I saw they had a blast, and I vowed that the next time they did a musical, I would audition and join.”
Since that time, Isaac has also appreciated how growth in his personal and spiritual life has been readily encouraged on campus. “Roommates and RAs (resident hall assistants) were helpful to me when talking about problems I had in my personal life as well as for giving encouragement,” he said. “Don’t close yourself off to new possibilities. God might show you new things, like He did with me—I didn’t start off in both of my majors.”
Wondering what else might be in store in the weeks ahead? Learn more about Campus Life here!
Advice from Seniors
- Ask others for help.
- Connect with your roommates and classmates.
- Get enough rest.
- Have good study habits.
- Dive into learning.
- Rely on Jesus.
- Get involved.
- Find somewhere to serve.