The first day of school tends to bring a roller coaster of emotions, from excitement and anxiety to anticipation. As UALR students said their final goodbyes to summer, they turned their focus to their long-term goals and sought to make their dreams come true.
Audrey Kelley, an 18-year-old sophomore from Rogers, Arkansas, is dedicated to helping others.
To turn her passion into a reality, Kelley hopes to obtain her degree in human resources and work in Walmart’s corporate office in Bentonville.
While attending UALR her freshman year, Kelley joined forces with the campus ministry Chi Alpha and had the opportunity to spend this past summer in Africa on a mission trip.
As she settles into the new school year, she plans to put lessons learned this summer into action.
“This year, I want to get to know a lot of freshmen, and just love on them the way that God loves me,” she said.
Love what you do; do what you love
Not only does UALR have students who enjoy helping one another, but its students also push others to succeed.
Dillon Nash is a 22-year-old first-year graduate student from Brinkley, Arkansas, who seeks nothing but the best for incoming students.
“I am so thrilled to kick off the new school year and engage with so many freshmen,” he said.
Having participated in the corps all four years of his undergraduate career, Nash looks forward to seeing the growth and progression of UALR’s future leaders.
Today, he has outlined his goals five years into the future. Nash plans to continue inspiring students at universities as he fulfills his goal to work in student affairs.
The road less traveled
The desire to help others is a driving force for many students this semester. However, there are others whose self-motivation pushes them one step further.
Twenty-one-year-old Dipesh Patel is a Little Rock native who wants to tear down personal stereotypes.
“I never liked the stereotypical doctor thing with Indians. I wanted to be different,” he said.
Patel is a criminal justice major who is ecstatic about enlisting in the military in spring 2017. He has always been a fan of the television show “Law and Order” and couldn’t wait to get exposed to the real thing.
Now that Patel is headed down his chosen path, he hopes to encourage his best friend to live out his own dreams.
Sid Patel, a 22-year-old senior moved to Arkansas from India about six years ago. He and Dipesh instantly became friends and are now inseparable.
As his friend prepares to leave to start his newest venture, Sid has his thoughts centered on continuing his education. His major in physics and minor in information technology is sure to keep him busy, but for him, there’s no turning back.
With plans to pursue an additional degree, Sid sees his first day of the semester as a head start into his future.
There’s a first time for everything
For many upperclassmen, transitioning from fun in the sun to homework and class lectures seems to be a breeze. For first time students, it might take a moment to get the ball rolling.
Princess Bell is a 17-year-old freshman from Blytheville, Arkansas, with her eyes set on nursing school.
Although she is motivated to do her best, adjusting to college life has been a bit of a struggle. Bell spent her first day crying because she missed her parents.
As she begins to settle in, she plans on breaking out of her comfort zone and meeting new people.
Her primary objective this semester is to make the dean’s list, so she looks forward to staying grounded and focused on her work.
Stairway to success
Breaking in new books and engaging with unfamiliar professors might be the highlight of the day for some, but for this next student, hitting the finish line is all she can think about.
Lottie Richardson, a 20-year-old first year senior from Little Rock, Arkansas, is beginning her senior year with so much on her plate. As a mechanical systems engineering major with a double minor in mathematics and chemistry, time is more precious than it has ever been.
With a goal set for a 4.0 grade point average, Richardson is determined to stay focus. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she looks forward to heading to medical school.
Along the way, she aims to go on a medical mission trip to Africa to assist those in need.
Five years from today, Richardson longs to have her white coat and be in the process of opening a children’s clinic in central Arkansas.
Now that the first day jitters have come to an end, students are ready to start the semester off strong.