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Carter Willis

As the summer gives way to the start of a new fall semester, DBU asked faculty member Carter Willis to lend advice to incoming Patriots.

The Lord has given me such a uniquely immersive and meaningful career at DBU thus far. Over the past 12 years, I have spent just about all of my time as a student and significant time working in Admissions, Student Life, and now teaching in the classroom. To add some perspective I have been on and given a campus tour, attended and planned events on campus, presented and taught how to present a speech in speech class. I recognize and appreciate the fact that my testimony and experience at DBU will not be a carbon copy of yours. Nevertheless, I feel that I have enough experience to provide you with some advice and encouragement as you begin one of the most pivotal chapters of your life.

Introduce Yourself

I can't stress enough the value of being proactive in getting to know people on this campus. Remind yourself that there are hundreds of others who are also just beginning their time on University Hill. While tangible representations of my education hang on a wall in my office, the benefits of my time at DBU are most found in the daily conversations that I share with those countless relationships formed during my stay. My advice would be for you to not "reinvent yourself" but simply "be yourself." Lean into who God made you to be and put yourself "out there."

Get Plugged In

Join as many groups, organizations, etc., as you can early and then decide which to hold on to. You will want to ensure that you are able to give 100% of your energy to everything on your priority list (including - of course - your education). I wasted time giving 50% of myself to far too many groups/relationships for longer than I should have.

While we are on the subject of managing your time - you need to know that class is much easier when you show up. That advice is far more influenced by the former/current student in me than the current professor-version of myself. Your experience at DBU will be so much more enjoyable and worthwhile if you keep up with your coursework.

Surround Yourself with Community

Immerse yourself in the culture of DBU but don't forget the world beyond the campus. Your education will now be integrated with your faith - both must be shared as often as you can. Call home and share what you are learning about your field and your faith. Most of you have family who have taken on massive financial responsibilities to ensure that you have the DBU experience - I am certain that your support would love to hear of the fruits of their investment.

Finally - come see me

I'm serious. I love people, their stories, and this campus. I can speak fairly confidently on behalf of all of our faculty that we want to get to know you and listen to you. Every story on this campus is so beautifully unique, and I'm thankful to have the opportunity to be at DBU to see the Lord continue to write yours.

Written by Carter Willis

Carter Willis is the Director of  M.A. in Communication and an Assistant Professor of Communication at Dallas Baptist University.