Mel Cotchery will be serving as the EJ Ourso College of Business POL. She is a Business Management major from Baton Rouge. She is involved in LSU Ambassadors and Black Student Union. Her favorite spot on campus is the Quad where she enjoys writing poetry.
I would first like to start off by saying welcome to the Tiger family!! You and your student just made one of the best decisions of your lives. Just a little over a year ago, I was that first year student, and I had yet to learn that this was true. At that time, I did not even want to attend Louisiana State University, but now, it is my home.
While I was not born in Baton Rouge, I have lived here for most of my life, and therefore have been surrounded by the LSU football culture for over a decade now. I always cheered and rooted for the athletes in purple and gold, but I simply wanted a new experience. I wanted to branch out and move away. (Thankfully) things didn’t work out that way.
When it comes to college, everyone gets a fresh start. In a short amount of time, I learned that no matter how close your hometown is to your college campus, it will not affect your ability to adapt at a quicker (or slower) pace. Louisiana State University was a large adjustment for me, even though I am from right here in the capital city. The trick to kicking those first-year jitters is to explore. What are all your goals? What will you do to achieve them? What are your hobbies and how can you perfect your craft? What will make you comfortable in this new environment? These are questions that students should begin asking themselves. The answers can be found right here on campus, you just have to look.
Part of what makes your home your home is the comfort you feel. LSU wants you to feel comfortable and thrive in being yourself, which is why there are over 400 organizations offered on campus. Joining an organization or club makes your transition to college easier and more enjoyable. This was the major key in the start of my love life with LSU.
After watching the performance the orientation leaders put on at orientation last year, I knew that I wanted to be an LSU ambassador. I stayed in the loop and walked through Free Speech Plaza waiting to learn about them one day. Becoming a member of this wonderful organization not only satisfied my desire to serve my community, but in return it gave me amazing peers and a family at school.
If your student is not sure about all of organizations offered to them, I would recommend that you inform them about tigerlink.com. This website lists the numerous possibilities for getting involved on campus and presents a brief summary of what you could expect.
While getting involved is the number one tip I can give, that is not the only way to feel cozy. Sometimes, students want to take their first year to let everything sink in; there is nothing wrong with that! If groups and clubs aren’t for you, I would advise making new friends. Becoming friends with your classmates makes attending class more enjoyable, it provides you with a study group and if something comes up to where you miss class, you’ll be able to get the notes from that peer. A+ here you come!
Something I appreciate about my university is the constant communication they have with the students; we are always in the loop! Every student receives a registered email, and this is where they will receive a substantial amount of information about all things Tiger-related. Emails about tutoring, shows in the theatre, or even free food are sent to all students, letting us all know what we can expect in the near future. These events are great for mingling and winding down after a long week of school. Every student should definitely attend at least one event, especially their freshman year; you’ll soon see why this is the best university in the world!
With all that being said, everything you and your student needs is here. There is a place for every single person on this campus and room for us all to flourish. If I, a person who had LSU at the bottom of her list of desired colleges, came to bleed purple and gold in a matter of weeks, I know that anyone can. Tell your student to take advantage of what is being offered to them; it’s the best way to make this house a home.
Sincerely, Mel Cotchery, a proud Tiger