Student Corner

Shaky hands

By: JESSICA VAN KLEY; English Writing major in the class of 2016

Student using a tabletHeart pounding and hands shaking I entered; my eyes darted around for an empty seat at this new student orientation I was told to attend.  I finally found a seat at a table of strangers, who to me seemed calm, cool and collected, as opposed to my startled, sweaty and scattered demeanor.  While attempting to listen to the speakers and not let my shaking hands drop my cup of water, I heard that we could always talk to our advisors if we had any questions. This was a terrifying notion to me.

A few weeks into my freshmen year I had started to grasp the basic layout of the campus, which meant pretending to tie my shoes in front of the campus maps less and less.  I even built up the confidence to talk to classmates outside of class.  But aside from small personal victories, which meant pretending to tie my shoes less and less, I also started to talk to my professors and advisors. This was a far greater accomplishment than knowing how to get to the library. 

My professors and advisors helped push me through my freshman year.  My professors helped me decide on a major and realize that it is alright to take a semester or two to make that decision.  My advisors helped me pick out classes that would be appropriate for my decided major. And my GNS 103 instructor, a freshman experience course most freshmen attend, helped open my eyes to what “being a college student” is like.  Teaching us the basics of the school website,, we learned how to register for classes online through MyPCStar, how to look up different classes with the online course catalog and even how to look up what careers a chosen major opens up for you.

GNS 103 also allowed me to explore the campus on more than just an academic level.  We were encouraged to explore campus events and even look out for different Purdue Calumet programs and clubs, like The Chronicle, our student paper, which is always on the lookout for reporters.  The Honors Program, a part of campus life that I was already involved in, was another opportunity freshmen were encouraged to explore and possibly pursue application, not to mention the dozens of other organizations that the campus offers, from ROTC to the clusters of sororities and fraternities.

With all of these resources at my disposal, I finally made it through my first year of college. I finished with a 3.93 GPA and hands that were a little less shaky, thanks to the advice from professors and advisors who were more than willing to make time to talk to me. I learned to use campus resources and shake off my anxiety of speaking to professors and advisors. I learned that making it through college in four years is a goal that most dedicated students can achieve.