MEN: Freshmen Reflect on First Semester

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After a long week of final examinations, the fall semester at Pepperdine has officially come to an end. After successfully completing their first full semester of college, freshman men's basketball players Jonathan Allen, Lamond Murray Jr., Jeff Van Dyke, and David Jesperson reflect on their first semester away from home and share how they have learned to balance school and basketball.

What has been the hardest part about transitioning from high school to college?

Jonathan: In terms of basketball, the speed of the game is completely different than high school. Everything is so much faster and more physical, so I had to both mentally and physically adjust to those changes in the game. The most difficult part academically has been learning how to effectively manage my time. In college the classes are harder and more demanding, and the same goes for basketball practice, so finding the balance and motivating myself to study and stay on top of everything was a challenge.

Lamond: In general, just school. In high school, not going to class was never an option. Now being away at college where the classes are larger and the teachers don't take attendance, I have to be a self-motivator and make sure that I'm attending all my classes, and not choosing to sleep in. Basketball is also a lot different because in high school it's more serious and physically demanding.

Jeff: The hardest part has been keeping up with studying. High school was completely different because there were homework assignments and other projects that would factor into your final grade. College, on the other hand, is a lot different because in some cases your exam grades can make or break your final grade. I also had to get used to new food and not having home-cooked meals all the time. So far it's been a great growing experience. I'm a lot more independent, but there are definitely times when I miss my mom.

David: It's been different having to do everything on my own and not having my parents here to tell me what to do and when to do it. I have to plan things out for myself and make sure that I am on top of all of my classes and studying. Managing my time and being conscious of exam dates is really important in college, and the amount of time I have to study in college versus the amount of time I had to study in high school is completely different. Exams are the most important part of your grades in college.

How would you describe your first semester away from home?

Jonathan: It was definitely tough at times. Being from Tennessee, I don't have the opportunity to go home very often and see my friends and family. There were a few times where I got really homesick, but this semester has been a great growth period for me and I've been able to make a lot of new friends, and have become really close with my teammates.  

Lamond: I'm from Los Angeles so being away from home was actually pretty refreshing. I was able to see what it was like to be my own man, and not have to live under my mom's rules, and be forced to go to bed at a certain time or anything like that. I feel like I'm a lot more independent and I really like the fact that I am able to grow and make decisions for myself.

Jeff: At first I struggled, but the more time I spent away from home the easier it was to cope with the fact that I was away. It feels really good to be done with my first semester. I feel like I accomplished and learned a lot.

David: It was a big change, but definitely a little easier than I thought. I felt like I was so busy with basketball and school that I really didn't have time to be homesick. I enjoyed my first semester and I thought it was a lot of fun to be in a new place and meet new people.

What was your favorite class this semester?

Jonathan: My favorite class was political science. I enjoyed it because I really liked my professor and he made going to the class fun. I also had my teammate Marley and a few other friends in the class with me as well, so it was nice being surrounded by people that I'm close with.

Lamond: I liked my humanities class. The class was pretty hard, but the teacher made history a little more fun and interesting. We got to learn a lot about ancient Greece and Rome. Specifically, I enjoyed learning about the Acropolis in Athens. My teacher showed us a lot of pictures of it and the class learned how influential the architecture was to later generations.

Jeff: I took a sports broadcasting course that was really interesting. I got to work behind the scenes and learn all about how TV production works. I also learned more about sports and how to deliver sports news, which was really cool as well.

David: I really enjoyed my political science class. I liked learning about our country and the how the government works. It was interesting to learn about the history of America and how past events shaped the country into what it is today.

How did you feel about your final exams?

Jonathan: My exams were not as hard as I thought they would be. For a few of my classes I had to do some major presentations, so that that was a little more manageable than having to physically take an exam, although I did still have to study a lot and stay focused.

Lamond: They were pretty hard. Finals in college are a lot different than tests in high school because professors don't assign a lot of outside projects, so in some classes the grade you receive on an exam determines your overall grade in the class. So there's a new level of pressure to perform well on exams.

Jeff: Surprisingly, I think I did pretty well. I studied really hard and I definitely passed all of my classes, which was a little bit of a struggle but I made it through. College is on a completely different level than high school. The amount of time I spent in high school studying for tests doesn't even come close to the amount of time I have to devote to studying in college.

David: Personally, I don't understand why so many people stress about finals. At least in my case, all of my final exams were just additional tests, so they weren't weighed any different or cumulative. I already knew how to study for all of my finals because they were just like the other exams I had been taking all semester. I was pretty lucky, and I'm confident that I did well, so hopefully next semester the same thing happens again.

What are you most looking forward to about next semester?

Jonathan: Next semester I'm looking forward to not having to take a math class. My math class that I took this semester was pretty difficult and it definitely wasn't my favorite. So it's a relief knowing that I can start fresh next semester with new some new classes.

Lamond: I'm going to be taking a dance class and an acting class so that should be a really interesting experience for me. I don't really know what to expect for either one of those classes. I'll also be taking economics and I think that will be pretty interesting and hopefully I learn a lot.

Jeff: Next semester I am going to satisfy my fine arts general education requirement, so I'm going to be taking ballet and acting. Those should definitely be exciting classes, and I'm looking forward to the fact that the classes won't require a lot of homework or studying. I am also looking forward to conference play and being able to compete against some big teams.

David: I am most looking forward to conference play starting. I'm really excited to travel and be in a new kind of basketball atmosphere. I'm anxious to play in front of the larger crowds and play in televised games. I'm especially looking forward to the BYU and Gonzaga games, and I think once conference play starts the season is going to get even more exciting.

The Waves will travel to Washington State for a Sunday matchup where the team hopes to come out victorious for the third straight year over a Pac-12 school. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network at 5 p.m. and an audio-only WaveCast with Al Epstein will be available to stream at Follow @PeppBasketball on Twitter for more information about the team, and for live game updates.

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