Getting the Most out of College

Getting the Most out of College

We recently interviewed Kay Hampton, a life-long member of Cornerstone Church and new graduate of Loyola Marymount University. While at LMU, she double-majored in Psychology and Dance and was very active on campus. She studied abroad in Canada and China and led various organizations such as the Student Worker Program, the Black Student Union, and more. Kay was recognized as a part of the top 2% of undergraduate students for her service and leadership at LMU. Her plans after college include pursuing dance professionally while launching her own dance company that fuses artistry and ministry.

1) What would you say are the best ways to be successful in college?

Of course, there are practical tools that assisted me through college, but any student can find those by speaking to a campus resource center. Aside from planners, Excel spreadsheets, and so on, what kept me successful in college was knowing my “why.” Why was I, a dance and psychology double major, studying at a Jesuit university 2,257.1 miles away from home? As a first generation college student, failure was not an option. I knew that I was called by God and that was the only why I needed because I believe that where God calls, He gives provision!

2) How important is a good support system?

As a Christian in college, there can be many conflicts that arise between the college experience and personal beliefs. For many, college is the first moment of real freedom away from parental guidance and pressures to be someone that others have decided is best. I felt that college would be like a beautiful garden in which your roots get the chance to go deep and you get to bear the fruit that you choose.

Understanding that transition made me very uneasy, initially. So, I began to reach out to administrators and resident ministers to understand what the next season would be like and to build a network of people that could help to water and nourish me. My support system was large, consisting of individuals that were assigned to me, like academic advisors, and individuals I sought out.

My goal for my college career was to be able to walk into any department on campus and be known by them because of how they partnered with me in my walk or how I assisted them in their journeys.

Also, it was very important to me to have a group of believers that I could do life with and hold me accountable. Spending time with those people not only enhanced my faith in God, but also strengthened me to stand strong against other pressures.

3) What surprised you most about your college experience?

Reflecting on the last four years of my life has made me immensely grateful and expectant for the future. Before deciding to attend college in Los Angeles, I had received two full-ride scholarships to The University of Toledo and Ohio State University. Because I decided to forgo those opportunities, I had to figure out how I would to attend a university that cost approximately $60,000 per year. I was accepted into LMU’s Student Worker Program which offered me housing, a meal stipend, the opportunity to work 20 hours a week, and a community of support and friendship. I also received numerous scholarship along the way. Not only did I pay for my own tuition, but I studied abroad twice and did not pay a dime! I was involved in various organization, lead ministries and retreats, and was recognized by the university twice for my leadership.

In hindsight, what has surprised me the most about my college experience is that I did it! God was faithful not simply to get me through, but He allowed me to indulge in every opportunity and to grow into the woman I am today.

4) What did you bring to the college equation, either in knowledge or experience, that helped you be successful?

As a young child who was barely able to make complete and coherent sentences, my parents would encourage me to communicate. If I wanted candy at the store, I would have to ask the cashier the cost and tell them that I wanted to purchase it. When it was time to make doctor’s appointments, my mother gave me the phone. I remember, vividly, my father handing me the telephone book and asking me to make calls to see if the car parts store had a specific car part he needed. In those moments, I was frustrated because I didn’t realize what my parent were instilling in me until I started my college career. I observed my friends stumbling through registration, making appointments, and speaking to administrators. When things got difficult or inconvenient, some would just call their moms to have them work it out. I brought to college communication skills that were unmatched by my peers.

5) What new things did you have to learn or experience to be successful?

One thing that I learned was how to see the line. In leadership positions, there were many moments that I would work myself up and stress over results and responses of others. I learned to balance my work output. I had to learn what I had control over and what was out of my hands. I had to learn to not attach my achievement on an expectation. I had to see the line, give all I could, and be content, whether it was a project for an organization or studying for an exam.

6) What were some of your favorite things about college?

Free food! We had a Facebook group that would post when organizations or departments had food or desserts. Or, canceled class! Haha! Oh, and naps! Late-night rehearsal delirium, too! So many belly laughs and silly friends.

7) What advice would you give to students entering college?

Do not limit yourself! Keep your eyes open and be willing to put yourself out there. In college, nothing good comes from staying in your dorm and Facetiming your cat every weekend. Go to school events, get involved, make friends, and ultimately leave a legacy that will last longer than your time there.

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