How My College Helped Me Through the Transition From High School to College

Elizabeth Jacques / Gardner-Webb University »

Uncomfortable. An adjective used to describe what I thought would be my transition from high school into college. What began as a question of what color bedding I would choose for my new residence hall quickly escalated to who would be assigned as my roommate.  I chose classes, but how would I find them? My mind could only wrap around so much, and these kinds of questions began snowballing into a larger and larger source of discomfort. 

When I applied to Gardner-Webb University, I was assigned an admissions counselor to help guide me through the enrollment process. When I tell you she lead me step by step, I mean it with all my heart. My counselor went beyond her job to accept my embarrassing invitation that went a little like this: “Will you maybe eat lunch with me if I don’t find anyone to sit with?” 

Now I know that’s a little embarrassing, but it was her enthusiastic, “Yes, of course!” that made me feel confident I would have a lunch buddy for my first day at school. The one-on-one attention did not stop in the admission process but exceeded to the professors as well. As a member of Gardner-Webb University’s Honors Program and a student at the Hunt School of Nursing, I have met an abundance of professors who have poured their lives into their students with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Having professors welcome the class into their home to decorate sugar cookies or sit around a bonfire creates a true “home-away-from-home” experience. When you move away to school, it might feel like you no longer have a family right beside you cheering you on. At Gardner-Webb University, I found an entirely new support system has formed around me to help me ignite my future. 

At the beginning of each semester, the Gardner-Webb organizes the “Connect Fair” for new students to check out over 50 student-led clubs and organizations the university has to offer as well as banks, churches, and exercise facilities. This fair helped me investigate several different organizations and get a feel for what there was to be involved in. It was helpful for me to attend booths to learn more about what Gardner-Webb had to offer and what I could find in my new community. I encourage you to attend any kind of fair that may come to your school; it truly was the best way for me to engage in my new community!

Gardner-Webb University also offers University 101, a class that all freshmen have to take to help them adjust to the university. This class is led by “big brothers” and “big sisters” who are assigned to the class with one job: help guide freshmen around their new home! Additionally, the class has a Peer Leader and a faculty advisor who stay with the class all semester to ensure students have a smooth adjustment. Orientation consists of scavenger hunts, a gameshow-style trivia competition, “Bulldog Madness,” and so many more fun activities designed to get students out of their shell and build friendships. Take advantage of your University 101 class, ask questions, network, and take the opportunity to learn about the place you will quickly be calling home.

Counseling services, offered free of charge to students, became another essential component that helped me transition into school. College is so much more different than high school than I anticipated. Your time is truly yours, and it’s up to you to choose what to do with it. Counseling services helped me figure out how to best manage my time so that I would feel more comfortable with  my responsibilities as a student, Young Life Leader, and member of the Executive committee for the Honors Student Association. I also needed help in personal areas of my life, like my eating habits, exercise routines, and relationships. The counseling center was there to be a listening ear and offer assistance while helping me remain goal focused. I enjoyed having time to talk about my transition to the university and have challenges set for a healthier version of me! Check to see if your school offers counseling services, and don’t be afraid to step foot into the office. 

The transition from high school to college has truly been an amazing season of my life. Learning more about who I am, what I believe, and what I am passionate about has all been because of this transition. Immersing myself in the community has helped me to grow as an individual, network with others, and build my future. I encourage you to seek out professors who will help you grow, register for classes that will challenge you, and never be afraid to ask questions. Whatever institution you choose to attend, make sure that you go all in! 

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Learn More About Gardner-Webb University

Gardner-Webb University, located just 50 miles outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, fosters an all-inclusive campus community that values its Christian roots, diversity, and academic excellence. From the on-campus bell tower that overlooks Lake Hollifield to the surrounding community of Boiling Springs, Gardner-Webb surrounds students with a rich and abundant culture, all while providing a quality education and invaluable experiences.

Gardner-Webb is dedicated to higher education that engages scholarship in conjunction with Christian life, fostering intellectual development, critical reflection, and spiritual formation. Because GWU is concerned about the needs of others in order to grow in knowledge and wisdom, the University enthusiastically affirms active participation in influential and impactful initiatives.

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