Care Package FAQs

Marcia948Marcia Barton is a graduate of LSU who stumbled into her current occupation as owner/operator of Love in a Box LLC, a cottage bakery specializing in care packages for LSU parents and students. A few weeks after her current Tiger moved to campus, she privately offered to gift a box of homemade brownies with a note from the out-of-state mom to a student who was having a bad week. A Facebook thank-you from the mother turned into other parents requesting to be able to order similar packages, and the rest is history. Doing this is like a made-to-order extension of everything Marcia loves: baking, creating, people, and LSU!

 

When is the best time for parents or family members to send care packages to their students?
There are a variety of “perfect times” for care packages from home. The first opportunities are the first day of classes and sometime during the first week of the college experience. Many parents leave a small care package or note as the family leaves the Tiger’s new residence on move-in day. Not only will the freshman love the thoughtful gesture, it also has the added benefit of helping the parents feel a bit better. The paint bucket we hid in our daughter’s first campus residence was filled with her favorite snacks, a coffee gift card, and notes from each family member expressing pride and upbeat encouragement.  (Caution: This may be habit forming! That bucket makes an appearance each time she moves, and she’s very careful to make sure it ends up back home so she can count on hunting for it the second we boxleave her in her next place!) Leaving or sending something sweet a day or two after move-in with an encouraging note for your Tiger to share with roommates will help them get to know some members of their new LSU family and let them know you’re thinking of them.

About three weeks in to the semester, when the newness is wearing off and homesickness starts peeking through (even if they won’t admit it outright), a care package or card can offer cheery support from home along with a reminder to keep the bigger picture of long-term goals in mind.
student1In addition to the usual holidays (birthdays, Halloween, Valentine’s day, any holiday they can’t come home), other good times for a student to receive a little something from home include while they’re preparing for big tests/projects, after big disappointments (school-related or otherwise), and during midterms and finals.  A “just thinking of you” and “we’re SEAUX proud of you!” gift arriving out of the blue is always a big hit, too. And it also helps mom and dad feel a little more connected to their Tiger! Remember to keep any notes or letters upbeat , encouraging, and totally focused on your Tiger.

 

What should I include in the care package?
While there are plenty of options to order and have something wonderful delivered (even Amazon and the ResLife Association are in on the act), a care package doesn’t have to be elaborate; small and simple can work just fine to give your Tiger that “loved on” feeling. For parents interested in the convenience of a purchased care box2package and who are members of the Official LSU Parents Page there’s a document in the file listing several local businesses other parents have recommended through the years. Those who’d like to create and mail their own might consider sending a favorite snack or two (especially something only available at home, whether homemade or purchased); a post-card sized photo or inspirational quote to tack up on the residence hall/apartment wall; a gift card to a local eatery, coffee shop or movie theater; a spirit item, a new techie toy, book or game you know they’ll like…plus those encouraging notes from members of the family. Get siblings and grandparents and anybody significant from “back home” in on the act if you can. There are lots of Pinterest-worthy ideas for making the packaging as creative and fun as the sender can manage, but this is one place where it truly IS the thought that counts most. Your package should primarily evoke “mom/dad/home,” not Martha Stewart (unless your kids think you ARE Martha Stewart, of course!)

 

student2Do you have any resources you recommend for parents who are preparing to send a care package?
Now that I’m mailing care packages to my 2017 LSU grad who is teaching in Texas, I have had success using Little Kitchen’s tips on mailing cookies so they arrive in good shape. TheMilitaryWifeandMom site has some cute, tweak-able ideas for themed packages to make holidays apart a little easier for everyone. While the theme ideas may seem “a little over the top,” they serve as a good starting point. Finally, of course, there’s Pinterest, which can be either your best friend (lots of ideas from which to pick and choose) or your worst enemy (is anything ever “enough” anymore?!). So typing “college care package” in the Pinterest search bar is done strictly at your own risk.

Do you have any additional advice for parents who may be sending care packages to their student?
Three other thoughts about sending care packages:

  • student3
    • Keep your focus on your student. Don’t worry about what other students are getting (or not getting), or when they’re getting it. You know your student better than anyone, so just pay attention to those little clues that a long-distance “hug” would be welcome. Then send them something that suits their likes and dislikes and your skills and budget when they need it. It’s all about reminding them they’re thought of, missed, and loved.
    • Be mindful of the walk back to the residence hall from the Union post office when planning your package. Lugging a too-heavy or awkwardly large box might take some of the shine off getting something from home.  If you have tons of “perfect” ideas, send two smaller packages spaced a few weeks apart to double the fun.
    • Include your student’s roommate(s) somehow. You could send multiplesbox1 of items (with instructions to share) or tuck in something special that’s tailored for the roomie, along with a little note. Ditto for your student’s Resident Assistant or the Residence Hall Desk Assistant, who work long hours to help make LSU your Tiger’s home away from home.
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Adjusting to Louisiana Culture as an Out-of-State Student

BrandonBrandon Oliver is from Houston, TX and is a Senior majoring in International Studies and French. Brandon is an LSU Ambassador and served as one of LSU’s Parent Orientation Leaders this summer.

For every incoming student, college is a great adjustment. However, there are certain things out of state students must adjust to that in state students will never experience. While attending college out of state may seem a bit daunting, college is a once in a life time opportunity, and I strongly believe an individual should not limit their options for higher education to the boundaries of the state they live in.

I came to LSU from out of state, and I would not trade my experience here for the world! When I began my college search during high school, I looked at universities all across the United States. I lived in Texas during high school; even though Texas is the largest state in the contiguous U.S, and there were plenty of excellent colleges for me to choose from, I did not find the college in state that was the best fit for me. To be honest, I dreamed of attending LSU since I was a little kid, but after I went to a Kick-Off LSU in the Spring of my Junior year, I could not imagine myself going to any other school.

My first semester at LSU was incredible! No doubt, there were some things I definitely had to get adjusted to. Coming from five hours away I couldn’t go home to wash my clothes on the weekends, I had to spend my birthday without my closest friends from high school, and I to adjust from seeing my family everyday to hardly once a month. I was the only person I knew coming into LSU, but I came in with an open mind, and I met the most amazing people.

The fall semester is so much fun at LSU. The first week students arrive on campus, there are so so many activities going on. After this, football season starts! I believe everyone should experience at least one football game at LSU during their life because it’s amazing. Homecoming and Fall Fest were my favorite events I attended Freshman year. In addition to all these great activities, I LOVED the classes I took freshman year. I remember taking Sociocultural Anthropology, and I thought it was incredibly fascinating!

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Everyone is different, but I did not feel homesick until after winter break. I truly had blast my first semester, but after I went home for the break and hung out with my friends and family, it was hard for me to leave them all again. When I got back to campus in the spring, I kept myself busy with school and decided to join a few organizations where I ended up meeting my best friends to this day.

Culture-wise, I have met out of state students who have experienced a bit of a culture shock when they first came to Louisiana. I grew up in and out of Louisiana, so the culture was nothing new to me, but I met a girl from Houston who didn’t know Cajun was culture and ethnic group, she just thought it was a type of seasoning. Most people who come from the North are surprised by the friendliness of the natives here. I personally love the French culture here. French is one of my majors, and I have had multiple opportunities to practice my French with native speakers and attend French festivals, which I would not be able to do if I attended college in any other state.

The best advice I could give to an out of state student would be to have an open mind, and to GET INVOLVED. I literally knew no one on campus the first day I arrived, but by Sophomore year LSU was my home. People come to LSU from all over the world and there are plenty of resources at LSU to ensure the success of all their students.

GEAUX Greek

IMG_3586Brielle Moreau is from Prairieville, LA and is a Junior majoring in Biological Sciences. Brielle is an active member in the Greek Community, an LSU Ambassador, and served as one of LSU’s Parent Orientation Leaders this summer.

Going off to college means so many new experiences and one of those is Greek Life. Greek Life has honestly made me feel at home for so many different and unique reasons. Being part of the Greek community is an opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself. The moment I joined my sorority, I knew that it was going to be the start of a great time here at LSU.

Before coming to college, I was worried about meeting new people and finding ways to get involved on campus, but Greek Life quickly made that very accessible to me. Greek Life is constantly giving back to the community in ways that I could have never expected. Events like Habitat for Humanity where all of Greek life comes together and builds houses for those who need them allowed me to further my bond with my sisters and other Greeks as well. I have thus far been able to make meaningful connections with individuals that will last a lifetime.

When I joined a sorority, I gained 300 new sisters to support me and guide me through my college career. These new sisters are from all walks of life and from all over the world. Not only did becoming Greek allow me to find my home, but it allowed me to make a home for others.  Even though every member of my sorority, and Greek Life in general, is from different places, we all come together to make a positive impact in our community and on campus.  Every sorority and fraternity has their own specific philanthropy that is special to them and throughout the year they host events and fundraisers to raise money to support those philanthropies.

Not only are members involved with helping the community, many members are also involved with student government and a vast variety of other organizations on campus. LSU offers over 450 different organizations on campus and Greek Life is just one of them. Apart from the involvement of the chapter as a whole, I also live in the sorority house so it has truly and literally become my home here at LSU.

Four Years Later…

Nicole PicNicole Dominique is a soon-to-be LSU graduate with a Dual-Degree in Microbiology and English Literature.  Nicole is from Thibodaux, Louisiana and has served LSU as an Ambassador, Parent Orientation Leader, BIOS Mentor, and Cox Communications Student Athlete Tutor. Recently, she was awarded as a member of the LSU Tiger Twelve Class of 2017 for her service to the campus and larger Baton Rouge community. After graduation, Nicole will attend LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to pursue a combined M.D./M.P.H degree. 

Two papers, two exams, and a couple steps across a stage: it seems strange that this is all that is left of my LSU career. Being so close to graduation, this semester has forced me to reflect on my time at LSU.

It’s unbelievable to me how much LSU has given me. I’d like to think that LSU, the experiences it has provided me, and the people on campus found me in the times that I needed them the most.  I will leave with significant memories including volunteering at the Crisis Intervention Center, studying abroad in the U.K., assisting families and students through LSU Ambassadors, and meeting many genuine people. From my random roommate freshman year (still a close friend) to encouraging professors, LSU seems to attract individuals eager to connect with others.

LSU has taught me about myself and has given me a deeper love for Louisiana, motivating me to give back to the state that has raised and formed me.

College is challenging, but in a way that enables you to find your passions (still a bittersweet and scary time). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the help that enabled me to arrive at this point. For future students, I would recommend seeking out our post-orientation programs, like STRIPES (for entering freshmen) and BIOS (for entering science majors). I attended BIOS, and it gave me an insight into what being a Science major was like before beginning in the Fall. Additionally, I benefited from Supplemental Instruction, study sessions led by fellow students who have already taken the class, especially for notorious classes like organic chemistry.
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LSU gave me experiences that I never imagined being able to do, and I was able to pursue an education that I really enjoyed. I know that my time here has been meaningful and will remain with me. LSU has a way of making itself your home and a place that you are sad to leave with only 2 weeks before graduation. I can’t in any way tell everyone how to chart their path, but just know that there are many resources, experiences, and kind people waiting for you!

What My First Year at LSU Taught Me

Tori2Tori Landry is from Albany, LA and is a freshman majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in public relations. Tori is an LSU Ambassador and will serve as one of LSU’s Orientation Leaders during FOAP 2017 this summer.

Going to school in a small town, the idea of change is a frightening one. As frightening as the thought may have seemed, it was always a dream of mine to attend LSU.

When I first attended my orientation session, I was beyond anxious. I felt that I had made a huge mistake. Who was I to think I could actually thrive in such a large campus? Who was I to think I could make a difference or be remembered here at LSU? I left orientation feeling hopeless and became nauseated at the idea of leaving the small town I had become so accustomed to. My mom offered advice saying getting involved on campus is the best thing to do. It wasn’t until I became a member of LSU Ambassadors that I realized how true this actually was.

I attended the info meeting for LSU Ambassadors in the fall semester. Because I had to attend the meeting by myself, I was petrified. To this day, it is still one of the best decisions I’ve made. I felt so embarrassed being there alone because I had always depended on my friends and family in everything I did. If I hadn’t attended that info meeting I wouldn’t be the person I am today. College taught me it’s okay to be scared and it’s okay to be alone. Everyone is just trying to find themselves. A lot of that goes hand in hand with doing things on your own.

My first year has taught me momentary fear can lead to everlasting success. If you Tori1are fearful because you graduated with a class of 118 students and you feel you’ll be just another number at this university, get involved! Push your limits – go out of your way to make friends and make the experience memorable. LSU offers more than enough opportunities to get involved as we have over 350 organizations offered on our campus.

My first year taught me it’s okay to try new things and discover what your dreams really are. To think that I will be orienting new tigers this upcoming summer is mind-blowing in relation to where I just was last summer.

What a difference a year can make, and it’s all up to you to make it a remarkable one!

Making Orientation Better for Your Student

BlaiseBlaise LaCour is a Mass Communication Junior from Natchitoches, Louisiana currently serving as the Communications Chair for LSU Ambassadors. She attended the Southern Regional Oriental Workshop in 2016 and 2017 and served as a Parent Orientation Leader in 2015.

LSU is constantly working to have the best orientation program possible for incoming students, parents and their families. Part of what we do as a university to keep our orientation leaders as informed as possible is send them to an annual conference called the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop (SROW). The organization orientation leaders are chosen from, the LSU Ambassadors, selects a group of its members to send to universities across the south where they attend presentations and learn how other universities run their orientation programs.

This year, a group of about 40 Ambassadors, including myself, loaded up a bus and traveled to Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia for the conference.  Since the SROW committee had been chosen in November, this was a highly anticipated trip. In the months leading up to SROW, we prepared detailed presentations to bring to the Presentation Groupconference. Most presentation groups researched universities across the country in order to compile a well-rounded set of information for their presentations. Presentation topics this year covered areas like campus safety and financial literacy. At the conference itself, other universities discussed diversity, first generation students and the importance of social media at orientation. Over the course of SROW there is a large exchange of information between universities as a result of these educational presentations.

In addition to presentations, the Ambassadors participate in the song, skit, step and dance competition that takes place at SROW. Entering under the dance category, we performed a 3 minute and 30 second routine set to music combined with voice-overs that spoke about resources LSU offers its students. (https://youtu.be/jVoFKIyDoa4 ) This was one of several ways we displayed how dynamic LSU is as a university.

After four days in Georgia, we returned back to Baton Rouge eager to share what we learned at SROW. The conference seemed to pass in the blink of an eye in comparison to the months that were spent preparing for those four days. Because of this experience, the SROW committee is now a tight knit group of students who are well prepared to serve the university that we love. Committee Picture

How To Balance Everything

megMeg is a third-year undergraduate student from Lacombe, LA pursuing a degree in industrial engineering at LSU. She is actively involved in LSU Ambassadors as the current Funding and Financial chair while having also served as a 2015 Orientation Leader and 2015 SROW LSU representative. Her favorite things to do are travel and eat all the good Cajun food possible!

Balancing everything in college, especially your first few semesters, can be trickier than some of those equations you deal with in Calculus! There’s school work, plus organization meetings, job shifts, and more with a maximum of only twenty-four hours in a day. Here’s a few theories of what three years of college have taught me thus far:

  1. Get a planner and USE it – A planner could be anything from a small notebook to a large calendar where you keep everything in. I recommend checking out the bookstore and finding what works best for you. The important thing is to have one and actually use it. This can help you see as things are coming up ahead of time so you aren’t waiting until the last minute or forget.
  2. Have friends to hold you accountable – It’s great to have friends that you can hang out with outside of class and go on adventures with during the weekend, but it’s important to have the friends that will spend an afternoon after class studying with you or working on that group project.
  3. Exercise – This is such an underrated component of keeping students happy and healthy in college! Even if it is just thirty minutes on a UREC machine or maybe an hour-long fitness class, just go and do something. Getting your body moving and focusing on yourself for a little while each day can help keep you focused. 
  4. Get involved but don’t overdo it – This meg2may not make sense now, but you’ll know when you get to this point. It’s great to be involved, but maybe you joined one organization too many and now you’re struggling to keep up with all your obligations. Maybe you’re finding yourself spending a large majority of your time on one specific involvement of yours and not keeping up with the other aspects of your life. To quote my mother, “Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes!” 
  5. Don’t forget to call home – Sometimes you just need time to chat with people you love from home that keep you grounded. All I can say is thank goodness my wireless provider has unlimited call minutes because I sure do wear out my mom’s phone catching up about our week or even sometimes the simpler questions like how long do I leave a chicken in the oven before I know it’s cooked.