Incoming freshmen to BYU-Hawaii say despite feeling overwhelmed by their new lifestyles, there is great support and opportunity in Laie.
Shaun Stover, a freshman from Tennessee majoring in history, said adjusting to college life can be hard. “Serving a mission helps you to adjust to college life, but this is a bit different. You have to worry more about yourself, bills, food, classes and stuff.
“Everything at once can be overwhelming. Things on their own are so hard, but when you have all these different things to do, it can feel like a bit much initially.”
Recent high school graduate Natalie Grace Baker, a freshman majoring in accounting from Texas, said of coming to college, “It’s more stressful trying to find a job. Before, having a job was just a nice option if I wanted some extra money, but now it’s a must. I need to have a job to survive, so that kind of makes it stressful. I guess this is part of growing up.”
Zach Wells, an undeclared freshman from Utah, said, “I like the small school feel. It’s kind of like high school, but better. People are more mature, it’s very diverse and accepting and you have to be a bit more independent here.”
Before classes commenced on Wednesday, Sept. 5, a week of orientation activities were held by the school to help students become acquainted with BYUH and the college life.
Activities included social activities like dances, a welcome dinner with President Tanner, an afternoon where students could become familiar with different services around campus and tours of the campus and Polynesian Cultural Center.
Baker said, “There were some great activities run by the school for the freshmen that helped us to meet new people in a fun way. We were also prepared a little about classes and on what to expect going into this semester with everything going on. The orientation week was great.”
Stover added, “I feel like there is a great help to new students, but for the most part we need to figure things out on our own. We need to take responsibility.
“It’s been a pretty nice experience so far. People are nice and the teachers seem very supportive. I always heard bad stuff about college teachers, but they seem pretty nice here.”
After getting a feel for college over the past week, Wells said, “College is what you make it. You need to take initiative as a college student. If you want to be successful in college you need to be able to put in the work. I am grateful for all we have been blessed with here at BYU-Hawaii, especially having the temple so close. That is a huge blessing and I hope to make the most of that.”
Baker remarked, “I love being in Hawaii. It’s a great lifestyle, super easy going, people are nice and it just feels good to be here.
“I really like the environment. We are so close to the beach. It’s awesome. The nature we have … surrounding us is just amazing. I think I’m going to really enjoy it here.”