Austen’s Story

Facing College: Diverse Student Voices from Michigan State University

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Attending MSU always seemed like a good option for me due to my father attending school there and it’s close proximity to home. My family is very influential to me, so staying close to them was a major factor in my decision.

When I first came to school I faced more problems than I expected.  I struggled socially as I had a hard time finding like minded students. At the time i was overwhelmed with the huge campus and it’s vast diversity. I faced pressure from peers to drink and smoke which conflicted with my morals and values. These negative influences made me feel uncomfortable and had me questioning whether I could fit in at school.

In a time of so much uncertainty, I checked out Cru where I was able to join a community that I instantly felt accepted in.  Cru is a Christian organization made up of about 500 to 600 passionate students and open to any more willing to attend events and services.  Within weeks a school that once felt too large and overwhelming began to feel like the perfect fit for me.  I was able to build friendships with many people with the same Christian values as me It provided a place for me to talk about my faith and grow as a person.

One amazing aspect of Cru is that there are a variety of sections within the organization. There is one called “Fezda” where students can get counseling from professionals. As many students struggle early on in college as well as throughout, this counseling has impacted many students in a positive way.  It doesn’t matter what you are struggling with; they do not share any of your information or private thoughts with anyone, and they will help you figure out a way to fix your problem or move past whatever it is you’re facing.

Joining an organization, regardless of It’s religious affiliation, is very beneficial to students, especially freshman. Joining an organization can help students broaden their horizons and gain insight into the perspective of others.  Personally, it has allowed me to meet so many different people and create lifelong friendships.

Cru helped me fight through my struggles in college as I am now about to graduate with a major in human biology. I have already began applying to medical schools with the hope of attending one next year begin working towards a graduate degree. My dream is to take the things I have learned and use them on rescue missions, treating those in need overseas.

The biggest piece of advice I can give to new students facing college is to have fun and enjoy yourself.  Figure out who you want to be by finding what you value and creating standards in your life.  Try not to get irritated with others. This is a learning process for everyone. If you come across someone who is an instigator, just ignore them. Hate and negativity will only bring you down. Another piece of advice is to learn from your mistakes! Everyone makes them but not everyone learns from them. Learning from your mistakes and accepting constructive criticism will help you grow as a person.

This story originally appeared in Facing College: Diverse Student Voices, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan.

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