Graduating from WT: The lessons, pitfalls and triumphs


Photo credit to Debany Arciniega

The Prairie News is a student-led free press. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not those of WTAMU.

I came to West Texas A&M University from the United Kingdom in Fall 2019. I was very excited to be attending an American university. People always ask me about culture shock. I wasn’t shocked by anything, but I was pleasantly surprised at the community feeling at WT. Everything felt warm and close together. Then COVID-19 came, and my university experience went from being in a classroom to sitting behind a computer attending my classes.

I did not see COVID-19 getting as bad as it did, but in the Spring semester of 2020 I left campus to do university online. I didn’t come back to campus until the Fall of 2021. It was very strange doing classes online. I did not enjoy it, and my grade point average dropped, which I was not a fan of. But, the professors were as helpful as they could be, and I attended Zoom sessions when I was confused about assignments. But I knew I had to get back to campus.

Once I came back to campus for Fall 2021, I felt a lot better and I was excited to begin my semester. I attended all my classes, and was happy seeing people in person, even if I wasn’t interacting all that much.

Before coming back to campus, I had decided I wanted to work in Journalism. I did this because I wanted more writing practice. I did a marketing internship over the pandemic and knew I enjoyed different kinds of writing. I thought, ‘why not try journalism too?’

I came to The Prairie with no journalism experience. I didn’t know how to use a camera, I didn’t know anything. But Dr. Garcia and the other Prairie team members helped me grow in the field. I feel a lot better about being a student journalist now, and I have increased in confidence. Two years ago, I would not have felt comfortable interviewing people, but I am used to it now.

Aside from working at The Prairie, I have also worked in Information Technology, and it has been fun getting customer service experience at the university.

While working, I have been pursuing a bachelor of arts in English. I am always asked about why I chose to do my English degree at WT, and it was simply because I liked the way the program was set out. There is a diversity of choice when it comes to the classes the department of english, philosophy and modern languages has, and I love that.

The University I was going to attend in the UK also had a diversity of choice, so I met my match at WT. I also thought it would be cool to have an American college experience, versus just going to a University in the UK that was not far from home and where I was more comfortable.

I do not think I would have grown as much as a person had I stayed in the United Kingdom for University. Flying 4,000 miles away from my family taught me to be independent, and to be happy being alone.

Despite occasional feelings of loneliness, WT, The Prairie and the English department have been wonderful. I have learned to be a better writer through workshops, and professors who guide me through the writing process.

I have learned to be more confident, and I have made a few friends along the way. All in all, WT has allowed me to grow, and I will always be thankful for the people I met here.