Experienced UM students offer incoming freshmen advice

Lydazja Turner
Oxford Stories

As a graduating high school senior, the thought of being a freshman in college can be exciting. Every high-schooler dreams of having freedom and being far away from home, but no one realizes how different the change can be and how hard it is to transform from a high school student into a college student.

Soon, this semester will be over, summer vacation will disappear, and new incoming freshman will appear at the University of Mississippi. This is an exciting time for freshman to claim their independence and begin a new chapter in their lives. We asked current UM freshmen what advice they would offer incoming freshmen.


Michael Lewis. Photo by Lydazja Turner.

Michael Lewis is a criminal justice major from Yazoo, who aspires to become a criminal defense attorney. He came to UM because he attended the Mississippi Outreach to Scholastic Talent Conference on campus during the summer before his senior year of high school. The MOST Conference is an exclusive leadership and recruitment conference for rising African-American seniors from Mississippi. Lewis said he loved the campus and how involved the black community was at UM.

He is now involved in UM’s NAACP and Baptist Student Union. Even though he participates in many activities, his first semester was challenging. He said he had horrible study habits and didn’t manage his time or money well, but didn’t have any problems making good grades. He struggled with friendships and doesn’t feel he remained true to himself.

“Just because they are cool in group chats does not mean they are friend material,” Lewis said, adding that friendships and your mental state is vital to your college experience.


Kamiko Farris. Photo By Lydazja Turner.

Yahoo native Kamiko Farris is a psychology major who wants to become a psychiatrist. She came to UM after a couple of college visits, and said she loved the school’s family dynamic. 

She is now involved in the BSU, UM NAACP, the UM Gospel Choir and ESTEEM, an organization focused on social, academic and professional development for minority women. She also volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club.

If she could give her younger self advice about college, she would improve her study habits. Her first semester was challenging because she had old habits from high school. She believes it is important for incoming freshman to know how to use academic resources wisely.

Farris said she was on academic probation her first semester as a freshman because she was more focused on hanging out with friends rather than studying. “Take advantage, attend study groups, visit office hours, and if you don’t feel mentally, physically, or academically prepared, it is okay to choose a junior college,” she said. 


Netaiya Smith. Photo By Lydazja Turner.

Netaiya Smith is a UM freshman nursing major from Bentonia, Mississippi, who wants to become a psychiatric nurse. She came to UM because after attending the MOST Conference and interacting with UM upperclassmen.

She is involved in the NAACP, UMGC, and she is a Leap Frog Program volunteer tutor. Smith said her first semester was challenging because she used sleeping as an escape from doing classwork. Her grades were worse than they had ever been in high school. Smith said she mentally struggled and found herself randomly breaking down.

“Learn to spot real people from fake people, and do not be gullible,” she said. “The people you meet on the first day of class will most likely not be your friends throughout the rest of your college experience.”

She wants incoming freshman to remember: “First impressions are important, so don’t ever try to be someone you’re not.”


Deja Smith. Photo By Lydazja Turner.

Deja Smith is a forensic chemistry major from Ridgeland, who wants to be a forensic scientist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation one day. She is involved with the NAACP, UMGC, and she works with elderly patients and the school of the blind and deaf.

If she could give her younger self advice, she would immediately learn to use campus resources and get involved.

Smith struggled financially as a freshmen because she went out a lot and partied. When school became hard, she became very stressed and contemplated dropping out several times.

“Make sure you know who you are because college changes people,” said Smith, who also believes in the importance of being careful in romantic relationships as a freshman. “People often try to hold on to old relationships, but it’s okay to let go of the past and to move forward to better yourself.”


By Logan Brazile. Photo by Lydazja Turner.

Logane Brazile is an integrated marketing communications major from Dayton, Ohio, who aspires to work in public relations. She came to UM because she wanted to gain a different perspective about life, and she wanted to experience the South and learn about a different part of the United States.

Brazil is a part of the BSU and focuses on being a Christian and doing community service with her church. Although she strived academically during her first semester, she struggled mentally and had a difficult time coping with being far from home.

“Not everything is going to be perfect,” she said. “Sometimes things will fall apart, and that’s okay. Be patient.”


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