What I learned in my first year at Elon: Mikisha Davis ’20

Mikisha Davis '20, a political science major, offers incoming first-year students advice about beginning their journeys at Elon.   

Four years after first stepping onto campus at Elon, the Class of 2020 is preparing for its final year under the Oaks. Before a new class of Phoenix begin their journey at Elon, the senior class is passing on advice to incoming first-year students.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, native Mikisha Davis ’20 offers her advice in the next edition of ‘What I learned in my first year at Elon.’

Name: Mikisha Davis

Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina 

Major: Political Science

Campus Involvement: Diversity Ambassador for Inman Admissions; Office Assistant in the Danieley Neighborhood Center office; surveyor for the Elon Poll; office assistant in the Center for Access and Success; member of Student Conduct Board

Advice: If you are similar to me, which most of the first-year population will be, coming to college was the first time I would truly be on my own and entering the world of “adulting.” Of course, parents would be a call/text/FaceTime/flight away, but for the most part, it was just me.

I was taught self-sufficiency growing up, but college was where I put my lessons into practice, which was no easy task.

I am a first-generation college student, so I was not given a guide on how to navigate college. I had to figure out the ins and outs alone, and though it helped shape my character, I still wish I had been given some type of advice. So, here is my gift to incoming first-year students: two things I wish I had known my first year.

First, do not burn yourself out trying to fit in. You will easily come into contact with someone who has two majors, is a part of four clubs, and goes to all of the social events. I am not saying that it isn’t manageable, I am just saying that you do not have to do it. My first year, I had two jobs and was part of three clubs on top of taking five classes and trying to acclimate to college life. I was constantly fatigued but never said no to an event because I wanted to get as much of a college experience as I could. News flash: You have four years to experience college, do not try to do it all in one year!  You will burn out. There are some people who are able to do nine things at once and not let it take over their life – kudos to them. If that is you, go for it! My main emphasis is that you know yourself and how you function. If you are not that kind of person, and know that, do not stretch yourself thin trying to be in the “in crowd,” you are only putting more on yourself than needed.

The second thing I wish I had known during my first year was to take advantage of the resources that have been presented to you. There is an enormous cohort of faculty, staff and students here on campus who are here for you – use them! You are on your own, you are trying to figure out how to be a growing adult in college, and you do not really know anyone. That is scary and overwhelming and nerve-racking. Fortunately, you have people here who have gone through similar circumstances and have overcome the obstacles you are now facing. They have wisdom. I am a very independent person, and I always think I can find a solution without help. My pride prevented me from seeking advice on how to handle situations. Be prideful enough to know that you can do things on your own, but be humble enough to know that having outside help does not lessen your independent status.

I hope that these two things help, and best of wishes on your first year!