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  • Eternal Flame

Light at the End of the Tunnel

College is a different experience for everyone, from the classes you take to the career you end up pursuing.

As a shy freshman on the very first night of college he remembers crying in his dorm room. James Hancock, a WT senior majoring in General Accounting and Finance experienced culture shock coming from Dallas to the Texas Panhandle for college. His main goal his freshman year was to go to class and focus his on studies, but he ended up getting more than that.

“College is a lot more than just books, and paper, pencils and scantrons, all that fun stuff,” Hancock said.

Coming to college he was expecting to learn how to make money and be his own person. As a senior he feels he has done that, but he has also learned how to be more comfortable as a person. Hancock is an RA at Gunther Hall and feels more comfortable talking to people building and creating a community with them. He sees himself as a completely different person now than he was as a college freshman.

“As an RA you are paid to branch out and build community. Can I see myself doing that as a freshman? Absolutely not,” Hancock said.

When asked what helped you most succeed in college Hancock jokingly said, “Lots of prayer, blood and tears.” Later he said, “Older people who have been there and seen it and done it,”

Some people know exactly what they want as they enter college, but that was not the case for Allison Hurst who started college at a different University. She went to college thinking it was something you needed to do. Similar to Hancock, Hurst found her expectations of college to be vastly different.

“In high school I was an extrovert, but I didn't know it because I was super nervous and shy and insecure. When I came to college, I learned so much more about myself and that’s what I think is really valuable about my college experience,” Hurst said.

Apart from learning about herself as a person Hurst has gained many skills in college that will help her in her future workplace as well as learning to value people and things that go beyond a paycheck or a job.

“I've gained so many marketable skills that are just going to help me so much and in the career world and it's just set me up for such success as someone entering the workforce,” Hurst said.

After college is the scary part that we all dread, being on our own with bills and real jobs. Our expectations end up becoming different than what you expect them to be. Shaina Hembree, a WT alumni, said that the real world is way different than she expected it to be, but because of her college experiences she felt she was prepared for it. Hembree believes that the StrengthFinder Assessment prepared her the most for the real world.

“I use my strengths daily and that is a specific thing that I learned to apply this to every aspect of my job. I learned how to deal with conflict as well as people management in the different organizations,” Hembree said.

Hembree works at the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership as the Assistant Director of Student Activities. In the professional world she continues to grow and utilize the skills she learned in college.

“I would say college is much more than you think it is, but in a good way, and you can develop yourself, I developed myself so much through college and am still continuing to do so,” Hembree said.

Looking back, Hembree wishes she knew that she could handle the real world with confidence knowing that it is not all as bad as everyone says it is and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Chloe Rikel

Staff Writer

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