Moving from Pocatello, Idaho to attend a school in Texas was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I am able to come here through the National Student Exchange program. I am currently majoring in communications with an emphasis on public relations and double minoring in visual media and journalism.
As a college student, I wanted to make the most of my time in school. I felt like my first two years I was only surviving and not making it the best I could. When I was told that there was a program where I could study at another university, but not leave the United States and pay an arm and leg, I was sold.
In my personal life, I was going through a lot, and a change of scenery sounded perfect. For me, I knew right away I wanted to come to Texas to study. I have always loved the idea of moving to or visiting Texas for a time period. The culture and weather has always been very appealing to me.
My next hard choice was deciding what school I wanted to go to. Ultimately, I decided on Tarleton because I wanted to be near the Dallas Fort Worth area and Tarleton was the first school that sparked my interest. After that, I started doing research and made the decision that Tarleton is where I wanted to go. I was so excited that I was accepted despite my late application.
I honestly didn’t do as much research about the school as I thought I did. Once I arrived on the campus, I quickly learned more about the traditions and was intrigued. For example, I had seen the Purple Poo online but didn’t know what they meant to the school.
I had never heard of a school having multiple spirit symbols other than the mascot and student section at games. I also found it interesting how we have a real person, the Texan Rider, as the mascot rather than someone in a costume.
What I loved most about coming during this particular spring semester was getting to experience homecoming. I thought at ISU we had a full packed week of homecoming events, but they are quite minor compared to Tarleton.
Don’t get me wrong, ISU has school spirit, but it’s nothing like what I’ve seen here. It’s a really cool experience to see how involved the student body gets.
My favorite thing about experiencing homecoming was, without a doubt, the L.V. Risinger bonfire. I also loved getting to be involved with beating the drum and learning the tradition that it brought to the school. Of course purple pancakes was a new experience, as well as the launching of the ducks.
When I came down here I also told myself that I was going to do multiple things out of my comfort zone, so I started looking into school organizations I could join. That’s when I found Sigma Phi Lambda. I was really hesitant to join, but it has honestly been one of the best decisions I have made.
I’ve never pictured myself as the type of person to join a sorority, but it has opened my eyes and allowed me to get involved with the campus. I have been able to make strong friendships and know what it feels like to belong to a community with like-minded ladies.
I was able to contribute to the 2021 Student Exhibition put on by the Presidents Circle. It was a huge honor having my photograph selected to be displayed. It also gave me the opportunity to meet new people in the community and share my name.
Coming to Texas, I wanted to continue being a photographer. My career goal is to be a Major League Baseball Photographer, and I knew I wanted to have the opportunity to take pictures at athletic events.
Joining The JTAC and Grassburr team has given me that opportunity and is allowing me to improve my writing skills. I absolutely love working here.
I have learned so much about myself as well as the exchange program since my time at Tarleton.
I can understand going to the same university in the same area you grew up and not seeing it as something other than normal. Coming here with a completely open view of Tarleton has been astounding. This truly is Texas’ best kept secret!
Just the few short months being here I’ve learned much more than expected and made such amazing friends. Texas has for sure stolen my heart!
If you’re interested in participating in the National Student Exchange program feel free to visit https://nse.org/ or contact Soncee Heard here at Tarleton for more information.
To learn more about me as well as my photography, check out my photography page on Facebook and Instagram to see my content. Facebook: Lily Verhoeven Photography. Instagram: lily_v_photos.