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First-Semester: Expectations, Favorite Experiences, and How I've Changed

Pria Wakefield


I chose to come to Purdue because I wanted to go to a college that had a strong community and a good business school. When I visited campus, my tour guide was very helpful, told me about her experience at Purdue, and sent me a postcard in the mail, which made me feel like I was a part of something here.

My biggest concern going into my first semester of college was leaving my family and home. I knew I would have to face the challenges of making friends, going to college-level classes, and developing myself professionally while also having to go back to my dorm. My comfort zone was within my environment at home, so I was nervous about navigating this aspect of my college life. As expected, I did struggle a little with homesickness.

At the same time, I was also very enthusiastic to come to college. Being able to take classes I loved excited me. I wanted to take a variety of classes to expand my horizons and ultimately increase my options for my career after college. I enjoyed the freedom to choose whatever classes seemed interesting to me.

Pria and fellow members at Harvard Business Conference
I am at a Harvard business conference with fellow members of the Brock-Wilson Center.

I had some expectations coming into college. I thought I would make a lot of friends, miss home but enjoy all my classes, develop good study habits, and join many different clubs. Joining fun clubs went as expected. I am a part of Business Ambassadors, the Brock-Wilson Center (BWC), and Women in Business (WIB). I also had the opportunity to go to a business conference at Harvard University with students from BWC and WIB, which was an amazing way for me to learn a lot.

I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make friends quickly. I came into college with the idea that I would become friends with the first people I met, but soon realized that it would take more time. But thanks to the organizations I joined, I was able to overcome this barrier.

Pria with friends at Management Ambassadors Halloween Food Drive
I am with my friends at the Business Ambassadors Halloween food drive.

My favorite part about the first semester was being a part of Business Ambassadors and getting more connected with the business school. Meeting new people was only one advantage; I feel like I’ve already developed more professionally with career fairs and internship opportunities given by the school. I’ve found a sense of community within that organization, and I love that the people involved want everyone to succeed.

I’ve definitely changed over the past few months at Purdue. Developing good study habits was one of the expectations that was fulfilled, and I’ve realized that it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity given to you no matter what year you are. I wish I had prioritized my physical health. My focus was on my academic and social life, so I didn’t make as much time for exercise. If I could change anything, I would spend more time taking care of myself.

My advice for incoming freshman is to take advantage of opportunities and don’t look at yourself differently because you’re a freshman. Make the most of the first couple of weeks with freshmen orientation, career fairs, and meeting new people. However, it’s also important to take at least 30 minutes for yourself every day. I think you can achieve as many things as you want as long as you put in the effort and put yourself out there.

Photo of Pria Wakefield
Pria Wakefield is a freshman studying general management at the business school. She is originally from Sydney, Australia, and moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 2019. She is an ambassador for Business Ambassadors and the Leadership Development Committee Chair for the Brock-Wilson Center. Pria is also a member of Women in Business. She was a sales assistant intern at Balsam Mountain in North Carolina and has an upcoming summer business operations internship at Caterpillar.

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