Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Eureka College's Student Magazine Since 1889

The Eureka College Pegasus

Freshman Excitement to Senior Wisdom: The Transformative College Experience

Dawn Tanksley

As the spring semester winds down, students are preparing to register for their next semester classes. As such, a wave of new faces will be joining the campus. 

Enrolling into higher education is not an easy step for some to take. The next four years will be a transformative experience that leads to newfound independence, academic challenges, and personal growth. 

Abigail Tanksley, an incoming freshman majoring in Pre-Law with a minor in Criminal Justice, heard about Eureka college from her sister and two cousins that attend. She is excited to begin her first year to experience college life and everything to do with the campus. 

As any first-year college student, she admits she is nervous.

“It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” Tanksley said.

The best advice she received from others about starting college was embracing the moment and making memories.

“Enjoy the four years, because you will never get them back, and they go by fast,” Tanksley said. 

As incoming freshmen anticipate their first year of higher education in the fall, they may have preconceived notions or assumptions as to what college is like. Adjusting to the transition from high school graduate to an enrolled student at Eureka College, students will recognize the shift in their coursework, gain new relationships with others, and grow their own personal development, all while gaining valuable perspectives from seasoned students along the way.

Breannyn Dixon, a current freshman double majoring in Exercise Science for Pre-Physical Therapy and Hispanic Studies, found Eureka College through a softball camp she attended. When she visited the institution in the fall of her senior year of high school, she sat in on a Nutrition class, talked to Professor Upson and “absolutely fell in love with the small campus.”

“It made me feel at home and I knew that I would be able to make a lot of connections with a lot of different people,” Dixon said.

As Breannyn wraps up her first year of college, she emphasized the fun and the significance of participating in Welcome Week and how it helped her when classes began.

“All of the events were really fun… looking back, it helped me to learn about people who I would see on a daily basis because of classes, and helped a lot when we did start classes because I already knew a few people,” Dixon said.

Her biggest tip for college is to ask questions in class, especially ones that are clarifying something about an assignment.

“Your classmates are probably wanting the same question answered. Be that voice,” Dixon said. 

Many can reminisce about their first year of college, the newness and excitement of it all. As students consider the perspective of freshmen on their campus, they can also get insight from upperclassmen; students who have experienced the full academic spectrum and their journey of personal growth. 

Macey Whisker, a graduating senior who majors in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, chose Eureka College because she is a legacy student. Both of her parents, her mom’s sisters and their husbands, and their best friends all attended Eureka. 

When Macey was a freshman, being on the dean’s list was a goal she wanted to achieve. However, at the time it seemed out of reach. Her first year of college was during Covid, and she struggled academically. As a student athlete, it can be hard to find a balance between athletics and course load. 

During her time at Eureka, not only did she accomplish her academic goal by making the dean’s list every semester, but she was also named defensive player of the year and third team All-Conference for softball in 2023. 

“Softball as a whole has been my most memorable experience. The ability to be #22 following my mom has been life changing,” Whisker said.

Macey’s best tip for incoming freshmen is to not stress too much about school.

“As long as you go to class and make good relationships with your professors, coursework is not as overwhelming! Find a balance that works for you and take care of your mental health. Burnout is serious and can take a huge toll academically and athletically,” Whisker said.

While the incoming freshmen are preparing for this next step in their lives, the graduating seniors are also getting ready for their new beginnings in the real world. Together, these differentiating knowledge and opinions embody the academic and personal growth through the college experience. 

With their perspectives, students are reminded of the importance of higher education, as freshmen are laying the groundwork for their future and graduating seniors are stepping into new challenges beyond the classroom.

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About the Contributor
Emily Virgil
Emily Virgil, Staff Contributor
Emily Virgil (Morton, Illinois) is a transfer student from Illinois Central College, majoring in Communication and Media Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies at Eureka Collee. In her spare time, she likes to create art. Whether that be through graphic design, canvas painting, or working with clay, Emily feels best being in a headspace for pure creation.