TSU freshmen recount first semester of college, say university offers environment for success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With their first semester mastered, many first-time freshmen say coming to TSU was worth the effort while they are gearing up for the spring semester that will begin on Jan. 17.  In fact, many who were asked to recount their first semester college experience, say not only are they returning for their second semester, but they also plan to stay and graduate.

Keyon’Dre Boyd

“My first-semester experience was everything I expected it to be since I dreamed of becoming a Tennessee State Tiger,” says Keyon’Dre Boyd, from Atlanta, a biology major, who dreams of becoming a pediatric pathologist. “It has been an honor to connect with students from all backgrounds and classifications, as well as to be able to excel academically.”

Boyd says the ever presence of student organizations that have helped him to easily assimilate and grow, as well as great professors, outstanding student advising, and finding a “loving” church home that even gave him a scholarship have helped to make his experience more rewarding.

“This is fulfilling the dream I had when I signed up for TSU and is helping me reach my career goal.  I see myself as a TSU Tiger for the next three years until I graduate,” he says.

Boyd is not alone.

Zoe Hammond

Zoe Hammond, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who came on a full-ride scholarship, and Kendall Paxton, of Memphis, Tennessee, say the family atmosphere and the HBCU culture were a major reason why they chose TSU, and they were not disappointed in their first semester.

“I am grateful that I got the opportunity to come to TSU. When I came here, I just love the environment, people just care for you,” says Hammond, who is majoring in public health. “I took a chance coming to TSU because I had not come here before. Although I got the scholarship, I didn’t know what lied ahead, but I was opened to trying something new, and it’s paying off.”

For Paxton, a political science major, who is also a member of several student organizations, a campus tour with her mother during her senior year in high school gave her an immediate feel that TSU is where she wanted to be.

Kendall Paxton

“It felt like home. Everybody was speaking to everybody,” says Paxton, a Tiger Tour Guide, and a member of Bloom Academy, a leadership program for first-year females.

Adjusting to college life can be a struggle for many students. How to manage the newly gained freedom, learning to live with roommates, handling finances, and dealing with new academic demands are just a few of the new challenges. Admissions officials at TSU say the goal is to ensure a nurturing environment where students “immediately see and feel that one-on-one” presence of advisors, councilors and others ready to listen.”

“Creating an environment of belonging and a culture of care is the driving force that causes our students to return and continue their studies at TSU,” says Terrence Izzard, TSU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “There are very real challenges in making that transition to college and we are committed to supporting each student.” 

Tasha Andrews-Carson is assistant vice president for New Student Programs and Retention. She says the university is “very intentional about providing engagement opportunities to support students as new Tigers.”

Garrison Holland

“It was a very busy semester for the Office of First Year Experience,” says Andrews-Carson. “From their welcome week activities to getting them prepared for their finals, it was my goal to provide support from beginning to end of their first semester.”

Garrison Holland, of Milledgeville, Georgia, agrees.

“My first semester at Tennessee State University has been wonderful. I am glad that I picked this wonderful institution to attend,” says Holland, a business administration major with a concentration in supply chain management, and a minor in psychology.

Freshman Orientation is Jan. 12, 2023. Classes begin for all students on Jan. 17. For more information, visit the Office of Academic Affairs at https://www.tnstate.edu/academic_programs/index.aspx