Arkansas Tech University students participate in a class at McEver Hall on the first day of the fall 2022 semester.
As the first day of the 113th session of Arkansas Tech University drew to a conclusion on Wednesday afternoon, students went about many of the beginning of school tasks associated with their station in life.
Some purchased textbooks. Some learned how to access their post office box. There was more than one spirited game of table tennis in progress.
Some, such as first-year ATU student Paige Davis of Russellville, were simply enjoying a moment of repose and reflection at Baswell Techionery.
“It was good…met a lot of new people,” said Davis when asked about her first day at ATU. “It was a little overwhelming, but very enjoyable. It was very nice to see some new faces and meet some new people. I feel like I made some lifelong friends through freshman orientation, and I don’t feel as lost here as I used to. I got to know a lot about (ATU) that I didn’t know before. It made this my home.”
Davis is majoring in business management at ATU. She has her eye on becoming a freelance esthetician or a salon owner after her graduation, which will come a year early in 2025 due to the large number of concurrent college credits she earned while in high school.
“It met every need,” said Davis when asked why she chose ATU. “Living on campus feels like a different world than living in Russellville. My parents are super supportive in everything I do, even if I switch it up. Same with my friends. I feel like everyone here wants me to succeed just as much as I do. I want to better myself and take steps toward my future. I feel like this is bringing my future along.”
Part of Davis’ growth will be pushing herself to be more outgoing.
“I’m usually a very shy person, so I want to do stuff I wouldn’t normally do, talk to people I wouldn’t normally talk to, e-mail my teachers and talk to my teachers,” said Davis. “It’s gotten easier for me to ask for help, and I feel like it’s going to continue to get easier, especially with being here. My mom is a teacher, so she puts that into perspective that a teacher is still a human, not just a professor teaching you.”
Like Davis, Timothy Osgood is in his first year as an ATU student. Osgood is from Cabot, and he selected mechanical engineering as his undergraduate major field of study as a step toward his ultimate goal of working in aerospace engineering. Away from the classroom, Osgood is interested in joining the Hispanic Student Organization.
“I enjoyed my first day of class,” said Osgood, who was awaiting his order in the Hull Building Student Union snack bar on Wednesday afternoon. “I like how economical (ATU) is, and I think it’s pretty interesting to live next to the nuclear power plant. I like how upbeat everyone is and how polite everyone is. It made me feel more welcome here. I really love that about this place. I am a little concerned about the time management aspect of college, but I think I can do a pretty good job on it.”
With two years of experience as an Arkansas Tech student to her credit, junior Lindsey Bolstad of Siloam Springs has developed a specific plan for taking on the issue of time management.
“I want to be more intentional with my schedule as far as setting aside time to be with friends and intentionally scheduling time for course work rather than just catching it when I can,” said Bolstad. “It will be helpful to have structure in that and be more organized.”
Bolstad is majoring in agriculture business with an emphasis in animal science. She is looking forward to attending on-campus career fairs this year as she begins to prepare for life beyond college. She said she feels like the ability to conduct operations with fewer interruptions from the pandemic will help her in that endeavor.
“Campus is more alive than it has been in years because of all the COVID stuff,” said Bolstad. “It’s nice to see people interacting again and searching for community instead of just being on a computer all day. I appreciate online learning and how it allowed us to still have school, but especially in hands-on careers like agriculture it’s a lot better to be in person and make those connections with peers who will be your professional colleagues.”
With a greater sense of normalcy on campus and the opportunity to while away weekday afternoons in the Hull Building Student Union, Bolstad is prepared to make the most of the 2022-23 academic year at a university she has grown to love.
“I like the campus because it’s small enough to feel like a hometown and large enough to have a wide range of opportunities, majors and interests,” said Bolstad. “There’s a little bit of everything for everybody.”