Jayln Marick got a rude awakening when he got to the University of Texas at Austin.
Marick, who graduated from Pilot Point High School as class valedictorian in 2015, followed his usual pattern when it was time to take his first chemistry test. He seldom studied for tests in high school, so he thought he could get by doing that in college, too.
He flunked the test.
Marick, one of three members of the Class of 2015 who returned last week to talk to dual-credit students at Pilot Point High School about their college experiences, told the students about his “wake up call.”
“I never had to really study in high school,” Marick said. “I didn’t study for my first chemistry test and I failed it. That was a really big wake up call for me.”
Marick is an aeronautic engineering major at UT-Austin.
Joining Marick in speaking to the students were 2015 salutatorian Allison Ray and Marissa Morris, who finished in the top 10 percentile of her class. They spent more than 90 minutes fielding questions from counselor Kevin Moffitt and his students.
Ray, a sports management major at Oklahoma State University, said the hardest adjustment from high school to college was handling the course load.
“There’s a bigger emphasis on note taking. You have to listen to the lectures, process the information and write down what you can,” she said.
Morris, a visualization major at Texas A&M University, touched on the reality of losing day- to-day contact with her parents.
“You will miss your parents more than you know,” she said. “I talk to my mom every night now. I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I left.”
Marick admitted his first semester was rough, considering his workload combined with pledging Pi Kappa Alpha.
“There were definitely nights where I wouldn’t start studying until midnight and I’d be done by 4 a.m.,” he said. “Then I’d have to wake up at 7:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class. It was miserable.”
Ray and Morris are in the Pi Beta Phi sorority. They encouraged the students to be apart of some sort of organization at college.
“Join some organization or club. Do something that has other people you can be social with. It’s very important; it’ll make your college experience worth it,” Morris said.
All three told the students to “plan everything” and even make time to take a nap during the day.
Morris also addressed the negative perception that some in the community have about the Pilot Point High School’s academics program.
“People can say what they want, but all three of us were accepted by big universities and we’ve done well our first year,” Morris said. “That speaks to how great Pilot Point High School is and how well they prepared us for college.”
Moffitt was impressed with the Q&A session. High school students need to hear that the first year of college can be tough, he said.
“Jalyn, Allison and Marissa were the cream of the crop and they still needed help,” Moffitt said. “Most of our (dual credit) students feel like they don’t need help since most of them make straight As, so the Q&A session was essential for them to hear.”
Moffitt stressed the importance of taking advantage of student-funded resources, specifically tutoring.
“Students are paying for these services, so not taking advantage of it is like literally leaving money on the table,” he said.
High school principal Todd Southard praised his three former students.
“We want all of our kids to model themselves after these three,” Southard said. “The school is very proud of them.”