With the introduction to a new fall semester and a new freshman class, many upper-classmen share knowledge and advice to incoming students on how to make their college experience great. 

cover_imagePhoto by Steve O’Neal


College — An entirely different world from high school and a clean slate for many new students on campus.

For many students, fall 2016 is just the same as the year before, however, for incoming freshmen it is a whole new beginning.

How you approach this time will set the stage for how your college career will play out over the next few years, and that can be an intimidating prospect.

There are so many questions to ask and decisions to make every day, and it is often difficult to to know where to start.

Fortunately, some of Missouri Baptist University’s greatest resources are the people all around. Wherever you may be on campus, it is never difficult to find someone who is willing to aid and assist, or simply have a conversation.

With that in mind, here are some words of wisdom and encouragement from the experience of upperclassmen and graduates alike.

“Don’t make enemies. Don’t look to create quarrels and don’t encourage those who do. Look to give no offense nor receive any.”

     — Jacob Virtue, senior in the ministry program and special events employee.

“Go to class. Skipping and sleeping is so tempting, but come on, 12 credit hours? You have plenty of time to sleep.”

     — Justin Madden, 2012 graduate from the psychology program, counselor and basketball coach for Ritenour Middle School.

“My advice would be to spend some time figuring out who you are. Finding friends and plugging in is great. But being self aware will take you beyond college and into your future. Also, don’t forget mama. She has way more money than you, and she loves you.”

     — Matt Williams, junior in the communication program, student activities employee and non-profit owner.

“Do what you love.”

     — Guy Shaw, senior in the music program and special events employee.

“Don’t sit on the white swing in front of the Admin Building with your significant other. It is a nice swing. It is not a magic swing.”

     — Toni Stang, 2016 graduate from the counseling program.

“I would say my biggest piece of advice is learning to say no to things and not over-committing yourself. Take advantage of opportunities God gives you, but only if your heart can be fully in it.”

     — Melanie Laurence, junior in the ministry program.

“Prioritize making lasting friendships. Just make sure you pass your classes and you learn. As long as you get your degree it’s all good.”

     — Michael Cutler, 2016 graduate from the music ministry program and St. Louis County parks employee.

So welcome, once again, to Missouri Baptist University. Enjoy your time here and make the most of it.

Most importantly, remember this is only a small sampling of the wisdom and helpfulness you can find on this beautiful campus. Never stop learning, never stop working toward your goals, and trust the Lord in all things.

By Steve O'Neal

Steve O’Neal is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. He is a junior majoring in communication studies at Missouri Baptist University. Steve also actively uses what he is learning to do, freelance work for creative companies and individuals in the St. Louis area. Outside of school and work, he dedicates all of his free time to his band, Years Later, and his church family at SOS Church.