Profile — A freshman’s unique first semester at NMU

Evie Weiszhaar shares her experience and initial perspective on college life.
BIG SMILES —Evie Weiszhaar poses in a vibrant flower garden.
BIG SMILES —Evie Weiszhaar poses in a vibrant flower garden.
Photo courtesy of Evie Weiszhaar

Stepping into a college dorm room for the first time can be a surreal experience.  With wide eyes, freshmen must adapt to their new environment almost immediately. Throughout their first semester of college, growth comes naturally — in many different aspects, their lives take a brand-new path.

Freshman Evie Weiszhaar found herself changing as she acclimated to life at NMU. Originally from Dexter, Michigan, she experienced new ways of life almost seven hours away from home. A drive that far may be daunting for some, but it can allow for independence that some college students desire.

As a clinical laboratory science major, Weiszhaar was eager to start classes even if they were out of her comfort zone. She was happy to realize that her classes were hands-on and introduced her to new approaches to her field. Because most of her high school classes were gen eds, she had not been introduced to the nuances of health science and was pleasantly surprised once she stepped foot into more complex classes at NMU.

“The first class I took for my major was phlebotomy, and the first lab that we did, I was sticking my peers with needles,” Weiszhaar said. “I have a really big fear of needles, too, so it was kind of a culture shock to walk into that.”

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A big part of adapting to college is finding the right groups, which can be a stressor for many. Weiszhaar herself was concerned about her social standing but could understand that it was all a part of the process.

“It’s been a productive struggle,” Weiszhaar said. “I struggled a bit socially to find my standing and find myself, but I learned that exercise really helps.”

On a whim, Weiszhaar found her exercise by joining the school’s rugby team. She got involved and eventually grew closer to those she played with. The team introduced her to a new way of building relationships and finding her place.

“I’ve never had that experience before in my small rural town, so it was really nice to be able to get a feel for the culture here at school with the rugby team, and I found a lot of my best friends,” Weiszhaar said.

Weiszhaar’s first semester of college was a particularly unique one, because she got a concussion and was in recovery for five weeks. While this was a major setback, Weiszhaar stayed positive and was impressed with the support she received in the classroom.

“When I got my concussion, my professors were really nice about it and let me wear sunglasses in class. Overall, I have to say that my experience with NMU professors is great,” Weiszhaar said. “They are probably the best professors I’ve had.”

Walking into a completely new environment and culture calls for growth and improvement, which Weiszhaar experienced quickly throughout her first semester. With major life changes come challenges that she dealt with and overcame, building her character in return. Now, she reflects on her circumstances and says she can look forward to more semesters with more growth and change to come.


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