Avoid procrastination, relax, get involved, junior says

During my junior year of high school, I jammed on stage and sold T-shirts and hats with my band’s name to raise money for my class.

The event exhibited how I was simultaneously comfortable with my place in high school while mentally preparing myself to venture into the real world.

College can offer a similar atmosphere for junior classmen.

But what if you’ve been transferred and this is your first year?

Are you sort of a freshman?

Of course not. You’re a junior, and you’re going to own that year.

You’ve put in your time and you deserve the rank.

Shawn Richards, a 27-year-old, non-traditional student who feels like a “senior twice over,” transferred from Macomb Community College this year.

Soon after his enrollment at UDM, he picked up his campus ID card as well as a job in the Information Technology Services department. This is ideal, because Richards is a cyber-security major.

“Here, you have more opportunities” than at a community college, he said.

English professor John Freeman passed us as we were talking and confirmed that Richards would be an interesting person to interview.

He asked him a question, to which Richards replied, “Yes, sir.”

Freeman commended him on the formal response.

Richards noted that his manager hates it.

It comes naturally to Richards, who was in the Air Force.

He said his service aided him in numerous ways.

He received knowledge and experiences that have helped him get through different situations.

“It helps being here,” he reflected, “because things could be a lot worse.”

The service also prepared him for courses like Physical Security, which has now become second nature to him.

And let’s not forget that the Air Force pays for his schooling.

His advice is to relax when it comes to homework.

“But don’t procrastinate,” he added. “Keep your head up and keep going. Not knowing what you want to do is OK.”

Mark Speers, another junior, has been here since freshman year. The most significant change for him is how his world has broadened.

For instance, his high school wasn’t nearly as big as UDM.

“It was like jumping in a pool and learning how to swim instead of panicking,” he said.

The school has also gone through changes, in his opinion.

The school puts on more events, which creates more connections between faculty and students, Speers said.

Tommy’s Smoothies and Shakes in the fitness center, bonfires, and glow parties are some examples of what he calls “the faculty extending a hand” and the students acceptance of it.

“Join social groups,” he said.

Part of his personal change had to do with being honest with himself.

“When there are more people around you, more people will see you for you,” he said.

More than once, he noted that his advice was offered with humility.

But, come on.

He’s a junior, just like Richards.

They know what’s up.