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My first year of college: A traditional student’s perspective


Editor’s note: Shane Hull is a sophomore at Missouri State University-West Plains who began his collegiate career as a traditional student — one who enrolls in college immediately following high school. These students have their own sets of challenges, from picking the college they want to attend to actually attending classes. In this column, Shane continues his story as a traditional college student by looking back at some of the highlights of his freshman year.

The first year of classes are always the most stressful. College is completely different from high school, and I didn’t know what to expect. I had met with my adviser to plan my classes earlier in the year, and in the fall semester of 2022, I would be taking psychology the first eight weeks of the semester and algebra during the second eight weeks. Those two classes were the scariest to me. I have never been the best at math, and psychology was interesting to me. But events such as Welcome Week and support from my new-found friends allowed me to excel!

Welcome Week

At MSU-WP, the Student Government Association puts on an event at the beginning of every fall semester – Welcome Week. Welcome Week is an amazing opportunity for first-year students to make new friends and learn about the different organizations and clubs our campus has to offer. I have Welcome Week to thank for nearly my entire friend group! I met amazing friends at events like the game night that the esports team held and the Block Party where I challenged myself to talk to new people! 


After Welcome Week came classes, and I soon found myself packing my bag to head to Melton Hall for my first psychology class. I entered the lecture hall and expected to see it filled with other students, but as I looked around, there were maybe 10 or 15 other students. I have a seat and Ms. Judy Carr enters the lecture hall. She takes attendance and then powders for a moment. She then says, “This room is too big for this many students and I don’t feel like yelling. Follow me.” All of us look at each other, grab our bags and follow our professor to a smaller room next door. Ms. Carr then gives one of the best lectures I had ever heard.

That being my first ever college class, I knew I would love it. The eight-week class flew by and before I knew it, I was taking my final for psychology. Ms. Carr continues to be one of my favorite professors, but with every professor on this campus being the most helpful and caring teachers I have ever had, it’s tough competition!


Math has always been something I struggled with. Numbers, letters, formulas, shapes, and exponents never made sense to me. That was until Mr. Jerry Trick came along! I had heard amazing things about him, and I was excited to take his class. Let’s just say — the rumors were true! Mr. Trick is the best math teacher I have ever had. Behind the dad jokes and math puns, there is a teacher who wants nothing more than for his students to learn everything they need to succeed. Though we may never love math as much as Mr. Trick does, everyone who left his room learned something that day and definitely shared a laugh or a chuckle under their breath when he let one of his legendary math jokes slip!

Major Changes

When I first arrived at MSU-WP, I was 100% positive I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted to obtain it. It had been my plan for years to attend Missouri State and obtain my degree to teach special education in preschool. That being said, I started on my AAT (Associate of Arts in Teaching) and I took a class where I would have to go to a local school, observe and help where needed. I enjoyed my time there; however, when I finished that semester, I decided that maybe education was not the path I wanted to take. I met with my adviser; we talked about me switching from an AAT to an AGS (Associate of Arts in General Studies). My advisor walked me through the process of how to change my major, what classes I would need to take, and after a short trip to Cass Hall where I filled out some paperwork and registered for the classes my adviser told me to, I was set to finish with my Associate of Arts in General Studies degree in the spring of 2024!

In his next column, Shane will discuss how getting involved on campus is enhancing his experience at Missouri State University-West Plains.