First day arrives for ENMU students

Kevin Wilson: Managing Editor

Nate Riley remembers what it was like to be a freshman. It was one of the reasons he was stationed at the front desk at the Campus Union Building on Monday during first day of fall classes at Eastern New Mexico University.

He wanted to help incoming students get acclimated to college life as quickly as possible.

He said last year he did all of his packing and paperwork with little assistance from his family. As a sophomore, he feels he is much more prepared for the classes and events that make up his schedule.

“It wasn’t as daunting because I came up by myself (last year),” said Riley. “What I think really helped me was the Kappa Sigma fraternity. It gave me a bunch of help. It gave me that little extra incentive.”

Not everybody on campus would take the same path as Riley. Some, like freshman Amanda Garza, were ready because of what they did during high school.

On her first day of classes, she was more concerned with a reimbursement sheet for meals than her schedule for a major in physical therapy.

“I actually didn’t have any fears because I’ve been to college classes since I was a sophomore in high school,” said Garza, a Lockney High graduate who attended courses at Texas Tech University.

Others were prepared not because of what they did years in advance, but weeks instead. Freshman Chris Sawyer rested between classes in a lounge area of the music building, but wasn’t new to the area by any means.

Sawyer was on campus two weeks early for a band camp. He spent Sunday evening celebrating the camp’s conclusion at the music building, where cardboard and wrapping paper left from giant Subway sandwiches filled the trash cans Monday afternoon.

“I think it will be a very good experience. I’ll learn a lot,” Sawyer said. “In high school, people had mostly the same ideas. Here, people have different ideas and they’re very open about it.”

Eastern President Steven Gamble said he felt a great deal of optimism Monday as he went around campus.

“It seems to be going smooth,” Gamble said. “There seems to be a lot of happy people on campus … freshmen getting settled, upperclassmen returning to finish up on their degree, new faculty members.”

Gamble said the university expects about 4,000 students this semester based on pre-registration numbers.
One of those students was sophomore Hanna Bray.

Downstairs from Riley and Garza and across campus from Sawyer, Bray was at the Ground Zero coffee shop.

“I was excited (last year),” Bray said. “I didn’t know anybody and I was going to meet some new people.”

She came into the fall semester and had a drink and a brief chat with a friend at the coffee shop. Bray, an elementary education major, is taking an 18-credit hour fall semester.

However, she said one credit was for a biology lab and two credits were because she was receiving college credit as a member of ENMU’s rodeo team.

Upstairs, Riley would compliment a schedule like Bray’s which includes participation in something at the university.

“If I could give any advice, join a Greek organization, join ASAB (Associated Student Activities Board), just join something,” Riley said. “If you spend all your time in the dorm, you aren’t going to get anything done.”