You’ve Got This! One UMKC Graduate’s Reflections and Recommendations to Students

Keyonna Evans, UMKC Graduate

By Keyonna Evans, UMKC Graduate, College of Arts and Sciences 

College is a weird place to navigate at first, especially if you’re a first-generation student, like myself. Being a first-generation student means learning how finical aid, dorm life, student life, and much more work on your own. For me, starting my college journey in the Fall of 2014, was a whirlwind. Being away from home for the first time plus learning how to do college was overwhelming. My first week of classes was difficult, I was so stressed about not knowing what I was doing that I cried daily. I felt lost, confused, and isolated at times, so I knew early on I needed to reframe how my college experience looked. At the rate I was going, I wasn’t going to make it through my four years of college. In the beginning, I found a mentor, met with my professors, and established relationships with the university administration. With all of that plus more, I got help and learned valuable lessons that assisted in me graduating.

Some advice to new and returning students:

  1. Go to class! I can’t stress this enough, I know at times we get tired or have no desire to go, but it is essential to your success. Even if the class seems meaningless, most classes have attendance policies, which will give your grade a little boost. Also pay attention in class, take notes, engage in the conversations, even if you don’t understand the material. Making an effort to understand will help you when seeking assistance from a tutor or professor later on.
  2. Go to office hours, get to know your professors. Even if you aren’t struggling with the class, it is great to establish a professor-student relationship. Not only are professors a great resource for the class material, they can also be a reference for an internship/job in the future. Most professors in your area of interest make beneficial mentors, which can lead to great opportunities for post-graduation career options.
  3. If you are struggling with classes, get help. Don’t be ashamed to go to the tutoring center, trust me more people go than you’d think. Your tuition pays for those people to be there, might as well benefit from it. If your class doesn’t offer Supplemental Instruction (SI) or tutors, talk to your professor. Try to find upperclassmen that have previously taken the course with success.
  4. Don’t procrastinate–Don’t let your due date, be your do date. Meaning, don’t start all your assignments are the day they are due. In all honesty, procrastinating makes everything more complicated than it needs to be. Get a planner/calendar, at the beginning of the semester to stay organized. New year, new you so make this school year count by starting off on the right foot.
  5. Make time for fun. College shouldn’t always be doing assignments, studying, and being stressed. Make new friends, join an organization, do volunteer work, it doesn’t matter what you do, but getting involved in some capacity is important. Not only does it establish relationships, but it can be a stress reliever from school work.

College is an amazing place, but it takes effort. To get your money’s worth, you have to put in the time and dedication. There are so many free resources on campus that will help you along the way, but you have to access them. Make the most of your time, you’ve got this!