ENMU Preview Day gives high school students peek at college life

It's 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning and three high school juniors are wiping the sleep out of their eyes trying to focus on some big decision making.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Michael Baty, right, wasn't as excited about seeing the Eastern New Mexico University's girls dorm as Anyssa Barbosa. The high school juniors were touring the ENMU as a part of Junior Preview Day. ENMU's Junior Preview Day offered students a chance to experience campus life.

They traveled some distance to be in Portales because they're considering Eastern New Mexico University for college and they want to experience the school firsthand with ENMU's Junior Preview Day.

Michael Baty, 16, of Albuquerque was willing to sit through long introductions and bad jokes from student ambassadors because ENMU is one of his top picks and his father is an ENMU alumni.

Baty is interested in forensic science and music. He plays alto saxophone, drums, and he's a vocalist so when he was at the academic fair in the Campus Union Ballroom, he gravitated towards the music director.

Before Baty relieved his curiosity about the programs he was interested at the academic fair. He listened to student ambassadors and information about housing and meal plans.

Las Cruces native Aaron Martinez was also in Baty's group along with a feisty pink-streaked haired softball player from El Paso, Anyssa Barbosa.

The three of them listened to informative speeches and tons of pitches by students who were trying to convince them to attend ENMU throughout the day.

They broke away for lunch in the student cafeteria. Barbosa was happy because they had her favorite ice cream, mint chip.

But it wasn't the ice cream that wooed Barbosa. She and her father arrived a day early to watch the ENMU softball team play and that only made decisions harder for her.

"I thought I was going to be able to come here and cross (ENMU) off my list," Barbosa said. But ENMU is now a strong competitor against Oklahoma Panhandle State University and West Texas A&M University.

The two presentations after lunch that their group sat through were probably the best and the worst for Martinez.

Martinez loved the competitive ENMU trivia challenge games he played with high-energy recruiters but said the transition from the upbeat games to a presentation on student activities and athletics was a letdown.

"They were really unorganized and didn't seem professional," Martinez said.

But Martinez said he's willing to overlook the bad because his visit to ENMU only strengthened his desire to go there.

He's eager to graduate from his immature high school classmates and experience college life and he's interested in studying criminal justice with a possible minor in music theater.

This potential future Greyhound says he's tired of feeling limited in his education and he's ready for advancement.

"High school is so structured," Martinez said. "You can take as many steps as you want to in college."

The group's day ended with a 45-minute tour of the campus. The three of them weren't big fans of the dorm life and they cringed when the tour guides mentioned the community style bathrooms in one of the dorm buildings.

While Barbosa looked surprised at the limited amount of closet space for her shoes, Baty was looking at where he can place a picture of his family.

"I can adjust easily because I'm kind of looking forward to living in a smaller town, where I know more people, it's just going to be hard getting used to not being with my family," Baty said.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Aaron Martinez, 17, from Las Cruces high school, walked down Eastern New Mexico University's Student Union steps reassured that ENMU was a good choice for college. He had just completed his tour of the campus and he said he couldn't be more excited to become an ENMU Greyhound.

As preview day came to an end, their smiles gave away the verdict; they all agreed ENMU was a top choice for higher education and their experience swayed them that way.

"I love how President Steven Gamble was so interactive with all the students," Barbosa said. "He talked with my dad, then 20 minutes later he remembered my dad's name and where he worked and he just met him. So, the president's character really stood out to me."

Baty, impressed with the accolades that the music department has received, said he was sold on ENMU.

"I'm definitely considering ENMU for college because it's close to home and they have pretty much everything I'm looking for," Baty said.

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