The semester is finally drawing to a close, and with it, the school year. Students are gearing up for their final papers, tests, and projects and are excited for the day they will have it all behind them. The end of the semester is also a time for personal reflection back on the highs and lows of the 2013-14 school year.

This is especially true for first-year students who almost have one entire year of their college careers under their belts. Dee Dee Flynn, Gracie Nilsson, and Bryce Rowland spoke about their experiences as first-years at Centre.

Flynn, Nilsson, and Rowland all hit the ground running the minute they came to Centre. Flynn is involved with Greek life, women’s voices choir, Colonel Corps tour guides, Student Activities Council (SAC), and college choir. Nilsson has also been involved in Greek life and SAC as well as Centre players. Rowland is a part of Greek life, student government, the orchestra, and was a member of the cast for last semester’s production of Our Country’s Good. These activities have served to enhance the college experiences for all three of these Centre students.

“My favorite experience at Centre this year was participating in the play [during the] Fall semester. I was able to get close with a group of people I otherwise would not have met,” Rowland said, “and they’re incredible people. It was fun to be part of something so much bigger than myself right off the bat to start college.”

Along the vein of favorite experiences over the course of the year, Flynn had something to add.

“I know what my favorite experience is at Centre, but I’m not really sure when it happened. My favorite experience was waking up one day during this past year and realizing that I found the perfect college for me. The day I found out that I didn’t fail my finals was also a close second,” Flynn said.

Joking aside, these first-years’ experiences at Centre have changed their outlook on life, already molding them into the strong leaders full of character and integrity for which Centre strives.

“I went to the same small private school for most of my childhood, and while I value the education I received very much, along the way I kind of forgot that there were so many other people in the world besides the ones I went to school with. I tried to stay involved in my city and my community, but there was this disconnect between the people I had been around for most of my life and the people I only saw intermittently,” Nilsson said. “Centre has been wonderful in that it’s reminded me that there are more people in the world than the ones that I saw in my high school hallways.”

She also said one of her favorite aspects of college is the ability to make new friends and forge strong, lasting relationships with people.

Flynn, despite having a vastly different background from Nilsson, has come to a similar conclusion.

“Centre has changed my take on private schools. I went to a huge public school in high school, and, not going to lie, I made fun of the pretentious people who went to private school. However, coming to Centre has made me appreciate the private school environment,” she said. “It has also made me open my eyes more to other cultures and mindsets. I love my diverse group of friends that I have here at Centre, and they make me a better person.”

Rowland shared this sentiment of how the college is capable of changing its students and changing them for the better.

“Centre has strengthened my morals and parts of my personality,” Rowland said. “If you come into this campus a malleable person, it will quickly mold you, whether you want it to or not.”

It is interesting to note how quickly Centre can influence and change a person. After just one year, Flynn, Nilsson, and Rowland are already growing into more open individuals.

So it is only fair that they share their secrets to success.

“I would advise first-years to be prepared to have the best four years of their lives, but to remember to be intentional with your time. Get in your professor’s office hours often and early because that is the key to doing well at Centre,” Rowland said.

Upon reflecting on her first year at Centre and her experiences at the college, Flynn was able to give a similar piece of advice.

“Embrace Centre head-on. The students, faculty, and staff here are some of the best people I have met and they make wonderful role models. I would tell first-years that all you have to do at Centre is be yourself and be open to new experiences,” she said. “Even if it means going to a professor’s office hours instead of that nap that you desperately thought you needed.”

Nilsson added a note about being openness as well.

“Don’t be afraid to get involved and try new things, but also don’t feel like you have to continue with the things that don’t fit like you thought they would,” she said. “College is incredible because it gives you the opportunities to do so many things and see how they work for you.”

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