Each student has a different reason for why he or she chose to attend a specific college. Degree options, scholarships and social life are among these reasons. According to Southern Miss’ Office of Institutional Research, the student population is composed of about 50 percent transfer students.
After making several weekend trips to visit her boyfriend, junior English major Hollie Priest said she eventually fell in love with Hattiesburg’s atmosphere.
Before enrolling at Southern Miss, Priest attended Delgato Community College in New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana University.
Priest said her 45-minute commute to SLU caused her to not be involved in student life.
“I always wanted to be involved, but the drive made it so difficult to do anything outside of just going to class,” Priest said.
Now, her commute has been decreased by 40 minutes, giving her the opportunity to become involved in one of Southern Miss’ 238 student groups.
“I kind of feel like it’s too late to do certain things like a sorority or SGA, but there are so many other things here that I want to try,” Priest said. “We literally have a tea club!”
Although Priest felt like she was missing out on a “true college experience,” she does not regret attending smaller schools before working her way up to a university.
“I was able to get used to how college works without diving straight in,” Priest said. “I would have been intimidated by USM if I had come straight out of high school.”
Priest’s previous schools did not have the rigorous workload that she was hoping for. “They weren’t necessarily bad schools,” said Priest. “I just felt like I wanted a more academic experience because I’m not really into the party scene, and I think Southern gives me that.”
Like Priest, sophomore English major Kat Hasselbring is another student who attended other schools before Southern Miss. Feeling that she was hanging out with the wrong crowd prior to coming to Southern Miss, Hasselbring attended both the University at West Alabama and Jones County Junior College before transferring to Southern Miss.
“I think before coming here, I really saw what I didn’t want my life to be like,” Hasselbring said. My parents live here, so I think coming back will help me get where I need to be. I was really able to get that teenage rebellion out of the way. I feel like I’ll take school seriously now, and I’ll actually enjoy it.”
Hasselbring said she currently has a strong social life outside of Southern Miss, so she does not feel as much pressure to get involved in student life.
“I already have a friend group and a job, so I don’t want to join a bunch of things for the sole purpose of making friends. Maybe next semester I’ll join the tea club with Hollie,” she joked.