First day of college scary, but doable

Kristen Bricker, of Minden, waits for chemistry to begin on Monday at Western Nevada Community College.  Bricker said her first day of college was scary.

Kristen Bricker, of Minden, waits for chemistry to begin on Monday at Western Nevada Community College. Bricker said her first day of college was scary.

Kristen Bricker wandered into the Bristlecone Building with her new class schedule clutched in her hand.

The paper containing class titles, room numbers and building locations had been folded and rolled over and over again, the result of anxious reading from a nervous freshman on her first day at Western Nevada Community College.

Here she was on the first day of school, looking for one very important piece of information. Where on earth was her first class located?

Kristen stood shyly at the information desk, fiddling with the straps on her gray Jansport backpack, until Geri Rainey, with the information and marketing department, was freed from helping other first-timers.

Raney handed the Minden freshman one of the most important documents for her first day as a college student: a campus map. With extra directions on how to round construction on the way to the Reynolds Building, she set off.

A Douglas High School graduate, Bricker, 18, thought about going to school in Oregon. But then there's her dedication to her horses, free rent at home and that Millennium Scholarship, and well, home is home and college is scary enough the first time out.

Plus, she has "no idea, actually," what she wants to be. Through a trip to Scotland this summer, she set her post-community college sights farther from home than Oregon. The University of Glasgow is her dream, now.

But first, she has to find Chemistry 101.

Kristen passed the construction site for the new library and student center and cut down a sage- and dirt-covered slope to get to the Reynolds Building. One challenge down, one to go.

She unrolled and then unfolded the schedule. Room 103. Kristen cast her green eyes to the left, and then the right. Right, it was. 112. 115. Wrong way. She turned back.

Then, there she was, facing an auditorium that seats 66 and her first college professor, Michael Sady.

She chose a seat in the fifth row near the aisle. Paper, pen, book out of the backpack and she was ready.

The whole day is "scary" for a girl who doesn't know her way around campus. How old are the people in her classes? Will she see anyone she knows? Will she find her way around campus well enough today to find her ballet class later? What's chemistry going to be like?

The first day, dry, an introduction to the syllabus, book and on-line quizzes. Not too exciting. But she learned the first lesson learned by thousands of freshman before her. If you have permission to skip a class, do.

She's skipping lab today. There's more campus exploring to do, so it won't be that bad.

Tomorrow, she has English 101, European Civilizations 1 and concert choir.

And Wednesday, she'll be back in chemistry and to make up that lab she missed.

WNCC Fall 2002 fast facts:

-- 4,673 students enrolled as of Aug. 23.

-- 1,314 of those are first-time students.

-- 339 of those are Millennium Scholars

-- There are 454 class sections offered at the WNCC Carson City campus.

-- WNCC offers 1,400 class sections on three campuses and six teaching centers.

-- Friday is the last day to pay tuition, change classes or enroll late in a semester class. There is a $10 late fee for late enrollment. Class are subject to availability and instructor permission. Check the schedule for short-term information.

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