Maquela Noel remembers feeling intimidated when she first stepped onto Baylor’s campus, "As the first in my family to attend college and coming from a single parent household, I always felt that being at Baylor was such a blessing in itself. But when I started Freshman year, I had fears about being different from other students and not knowing as much as they did."
Today, Maquela stands as member of the First in Line Program, is a McNair's Scholar, and majors in Pre-occupational Therapy. She is also serving on Student Foundation, is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and is active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. For Maquela, the process of overcoming her initial fears to land where she is today was not immediate. It was gradual affair where she learned to lean into her resources, make connections and steadily grow in her confidence.
Maquela was accepted from a waitlist to the First in Line Program a few days before school began. Throughout the year, she regularly stopped by the FIL office in the Success Center and spoke with her advisors. She participated in the weekly small group dinners that were available to FIL students and built community there, "Sometimes I even went to other people’s small groups," Maquela laughed, "but honestly it was so helpful to get personal advice from our peer mentors about the intimidating parts of college for freshmen, like registering for classes."
During her first year, one of Maquela's advisors introduced her to another student who invited her to a school event, "I used to be terrified to attend these school events," Maquela admitted, "As before, I was just scared of feeling different and not knowing what to say or do. However, I pushed myself to go that day and soon I realized that I do fit into Baylor and that I do belong here."
Eventually, Maquela began venturing into the other resources that the Success Center offered. As a result of her exploration, she joined the McNair's Scholars Program. She said, "The Success Center is like a jewel that some people may not know about- but if they did, it would help them alleviate a lot of problems."
"The Success Center has offered me a place to feel at home away from home. I say this in a sense that the people there really do look after you in a wholistic sense." Maquela continued, "The people in the program have taken care of me past the scholarships and financial aid. They ask me about my meals and my school supplies. They are not only concerned with helping me able to stay at Baylor but also want to see me thrive here." Maquela continued.
To incoming Freshmen who may find themselves coming from similar backgrounds, Maquela advised to not be afraid to apply themselves when they need resources, "Don't be afraid to take the next step. It's okay to feel unsure or scared, but don’t let that keep you from reaching out when you have questions or need help. At first, I was holding myself back but in the end, Baylor is what I needed"