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Senior Advice for New Students

Senior Advice

It’s almost here! The start of a brand-new semester at Pensacola Christian College, and one that’s celebrating a milestone year at that! Of course, as new students start arriving, there are many questions on their mind—questions that current seniors have already navigated.

What to Expect during the First Week of College

Once new students have completed check-in and found their residence hall room, some of the first students they’ll meet are their roommates. Together, they’ll answer questions about PCC, organize weekly room job assignments, and, at midsemester, team up for White Glove—a deep clean of the room that takes place twice a semester.

Men's Dorm room

Before even arriving in Pensacola, Florida, Jennifer Racite (Sr., NY) had met a few other PCC freshmen already. “I got to know my new roommates before we even got to campus through the freshman Facebook group,” she said. And like many other on-campus students, Jennifer and her roommates quickly developed friendships. “[During] our first semester, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other over coffee and Target runs in my roommate’s car.”

Current seniors like Jennifer had a very different freshman experience compared to other classes. When she first arrived in 2020, the student body was collectively navigating new precautions that mitigated the spread of Covid-19. Regardless, she and her roommates were thrilled about beginning their PCC journey. “My first few weeks at PCC were crazy and wonderful, and there was a lot to adjust to,” she shared. “I flew down to college by myself, and the hardest part was not having my family be there for such an important moment in my life. I look back now, and I am very glad for the way my freshman year was because I was pushed to be independent from the very start of the semester.”

“My first few weeks at PCC were crazy and wonderful.”

Emmerick Suttles (Sr., GA) experienced some homesickness during his first few weeks but took it in stride after realizing that “it’s a part of the journey.” It didn’t take him long to adjust to life as a college student. “I was a homeschooler K5 through 12th grade, but the transition was easy for me,” he explained. “I held a public job and was dual-enrolled in trade school while in high school, so I had already grasped the concept of time management, which is the key to success in college. The first time experiencing college life was intimidating, but it is entirely manageable.”

PCC girls in from of dorm

Before enrolling in their first set of classes and finalizing a class schedule, new students meet with their Student Success Advisor, a faculty member who provides ongoing advice and support to help students be successful at college. “My advisors are willing to work with me and tell me what needs to get done to prepare me for graduation,” said Emma Kemper (Sr., TX). “They work extra hard to prepare each student, and the connections I’ve been blessed with through these advisors have been amazing!” If needed, advisors monitor students’ academic progress and help connect students with other college departments that can meet their specific needs.

After settling in, new students start to learn the ins and outs of college life: finding classroom locations, jotting down studying tips from teachers, and learning that drinking coffee at 8 p.m. isn’t a phase—it’s a lifestyle. 

How to Succeed in College

When classes start, homework assignments will also begin, but students can find plenty of on-campus resources to confidently complete each one. Justin Rickard (Sr., KS) has been thankful to see how much help is readily available to all students. The Rebekah Horton Library offers books, magazines, online publications, interlibrary loans, and has a Circulation Desk that’s ready to assist. “The library is great,” he said. Justin also appreciates the helpful information faculty provide for students online. “The Quick Guide to Turabian, under Writing Guidelines and Resources, is possibly the single most underutilized resource on Eagle’s Nest. I’ve used it for every [college] paper.”

Class Room

“The stronger the bonds you forge with your peers, the better the learning experience.”

Upperclassmen can be great sources for additional advice about campus life and upcoming academic expectations. Christopher Yip (Sr., Canada), studying secondary education: history, encourages those entering the education program to get to know their classmates. “Most education courses require you to evaluate peer teachings, and it becomes much easier to teach when you are comfortable, especially if you are an introvert like me,” he explained. “This will in turn benefit your grade by allowing you to teach to the best of your ability. The stronger the bonds you forge with your peers, the better the learning experience.”

After mastering new schedules, room jobs, and the campus map, students start checking out what campus life has to offer. Music, athletic, and performance opportunities provide students with a variety of ways to try something new, better their skills, or participate in a favorite pastime that could include them in campus events.

How to Connect through Campus Life

The PCC campus offers more than just academics. In between classes, students interact and collaborate in a number of ways. Kent Griffin (Sr., NC), who is in the Work Assistance Program, has enjoyed the change of pace throughout the day. The combination of “the class environment, chapel, and on-campus work is refreshing. I’m around like-minded people who conduct themselves in a Christlike way not seen in public college,” he said. “Campus Church is huge compared to my small home church, but I found a regular place to sit and feel at home with the Campus Church members.”

Christian Service

Students have a variety of ways to meet others. Collegians offer competitive sports, plan special Members-Only Outings, and encourage serving others together on campus and in the local Pensacola community. “Get involved with collegian [activities]. It’s a super easy way to meet new people and participate in events, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” said Ashley Henley (Sr., TN). “Joining a Christian Service is great as well because not only do you meet new people, but you get to serve the Lord!”

Whether joining friends for lunch at one of the PCC dining facilities, scaling the Sports Center Rock Wall, or spending an afternoon at the “World’s Whitest Beaches,” there’s always something fun to do at PCC. And there’s so much more to look forward to!

Additional Tips from Seniors

Seniors have great advice, and there’s still lots to learn! Here are a few extra tips submitted by current PCC seniors:

  • Take a picture of your class schedule and make it your cell phone lock screen for the first month. —Josh East (Sr., FL)
  • Find the place where you focus best and go there at the same time every day to do your homework and study. —Emmerick Suttles
  • When working on paper assignments, always try to do your best on your rough drafts. If you do, your final drafts will look amazing. —Tatiana Handoko (Sr., Indonesia)
  • Find a few good friends who will push and encourage you to grow in your walk with God. —Kaitlin Schmidt (Sr., MI)
  • Always carry an umbrella. You never know when it will rain. —Justin Rickard
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zones and take leaps of faith. We can’t grow where we’re comfortable. —Jennifer Racite

Excited about starting your PCC journey? Make sure you’re prepared! Incoming students can find helpful information on Eagle’s Nest.