For one communication studies lecturer, Texas State was her dream school. As a freshman in high school, Marsha Burney watched her mother earn a graduate degree in Strahan Coliseum. She walked through Sewell Park and met her mother’s professors who seemed endearingly supportive. Since then, Burney decided she would find her home as a Bobcat.
A year after her mother graduated, Burney and her family moved to a bustling city in South Korea where she would act in theatre, go to school and learn about Korean culture and customs. However, she held on to her father’s promise about returning to San Antonio after their military stay in the country. Burney returned and started her freshman year at Texas State where she decided to double major in psychology and communication studies.
Years passed and Burney found herself as a second-year senior. Many of her friends graduated, and her family relocated once again to Alabama then once more to Georgia. Burney suffered a knee injury and a car accident her senior year. Nevertheless, she prevailed. Burney made new friends, she coped with the struggles of moving and made it to every class despite her temporary handicap.
Although Burney’s story is uniquely her own, the lecturer said she sees her struggles in the seniors she teaches each and every semester.
“(Seniors) have a life outside of school,” Burney said. “There are people who have had deaths in families, there are people who are coping with addiction and alcoholism. There’s a lot of stuff going on like stress and anxiety. I’m like ‘wow, you are dealing with this and you still have the courage to get up and go to class.’ We’ve got some brave Bobcats. I remember that when I teach.”
Texas State offers a multitude of resources for students going through the trials of life. These resources range from the Assessment and Counseling Clinic and the Counseling Center to the Attorney for Students and beyond. Burney said she wishes to have reached out for help, and advises seniors to take initiative and responsibility for their lives so close to the finish line of their degrees.
“I saw that in Korea, people were concerned about being alive,” Burney said. “Here you have this privilege to focus on school. Why then would students not go to school?”
Burney said the best place for struggling seniors to go to if they are missing classes or feeling they may not complete the year is wherever they feel most comfortable getting help, such as a professor’s office or an advisor.
“If you’re on the race and on the course, keep up and keep going,” Burney said.
Sue Stewart, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate studies, has been with Texas State for 16 years. Stewart teaches classes in leadership and professional communication.
“Enjoy it,” Stewart said. “Take every opportunity you can to learn about successfully moving from college to your career. There is a lot of work that goes into finding a job, so the earlier you start by way of internships or research or doing information interviews, the better you are.”
Another Bobcat alumnus and employee at Texas State is Sam Heimbach. Heimbach is a career advisor for Career Services and spends much of her time on campus counseling students. She puts an emphasis on making the most of senior year. Attending classes, joining organizations and seeking assistance are all ways to finish strong.
“If you are going into your senior year and you haven’t joined a student organization yet, there is still time to do it,” Heimbach said. “If there is a professor you have always wanted to connect with or wanted to learn more about their professional background, reach out to them.”