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

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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. 

LSU Cares

lsu-caresLSU Cares is a university initiative dedicated to the well-being of students and promotion of a community that cares about each of its members. The purpose of LSU Cares is to provide an online process for students, faculty, staff, and parents/families to report concerns in an appropriate way.

How do I submit a report?
To submit a report, visit www.lsu.edu/lsucares and look for the category that you think best represents your concern. The categories include academic intervention, academic misconduct, behavioral misconduct, bias or discrimination, hazing, sexual misconduct, student grievances, and students of concern. There is no wrong way to submit a report. The category you select is not as important as the information you share about our Tigers. We will review the information and make sure it gets to the right people.

What happens when I submit a report?
After you submit a report, an LSU Cares representative will contact you as soon as possible to verify that your report was received and gather more information. We then develop a plan and reach out to the student(s) in need.  Reports can be made at any time and can also be anonymous.  It is not unusual for students to make a report about themselves or their peers when they have concerns they do know how to handle.

What qualifies for a student of concern report?
A student of concern report normally deals with students in crisis or distress.  Some examples include loss of a loved one, feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to turn, and showing a decline in their ability to function as they normally would. Students with concerns like this should all be given the opportunity for a helping hand. Please let us know so we can be proactive in their time of need.

Who sees these reports?
The Associate Dean and Director of Student Advocacy & Accountability receives all the reports and then assigns them to an appropriate advocate within the office.  Reports are reviewed daily. They are kept private and confidential and the information obtained in the report is used only to assist the student.

Emergency issues such as thoughts of harming self or others should be reported immediately to 911.  You can still make a report once the situation has stabilized and the student is safe. We will follow up with your Tiger as soon as possible.

Where can I get more information?
For more information, call the Student Advocacy & Accountability office at 225-578-4307 or send an email to care@lsu.edu.

New Year, New Semester, Fresh Start

lexi
Lexi is first-year graduate student at LSU, pursuing an MBA with a specialization in marketing analytics. She currently serves as the marketing & communication graduate assistant at LSU First Year Experience (FYE). Before pursuing her master’s degree, Lexi received her bachelor’s degree in mass communication: public relations from LSU. She is from the small town of Lockport, LA, but has enjoyed living in Baton Rouge for the past five years.  

With a new year, comes a new semester and a fresh start at tackling classes and all of the exciting, yet occasionally stressful, things that come with any college experience. The best way to kick off a new semester is to take the time to reflect on the one that just passed. The very first thing all Tigers should think is: “Wow! I conquered another (or your first) semester toward a long-term goal I’ve set for myself!” This past fall semester was a rough start for everyone at LSU, and having made it through is a huge accomplishment that all Tigers should celebrate. After considering all that you’ve accomplished in the past semester, you should begin to think about things you can improve upon. Ask yourself, “How can I make the spring semester even better? How can I finish this year off strong?” As a Tiger with years of experience of balancing course work, student leadership and involvement, internships and work, as well as a social life; here’s the advice I would give any student on starting the semester off strong:

  1. Be proactive, not reactive! Plan ahead, Tigers! The best way to ensure that you start off the semester on the right foot, is to know what you want to accomplish. Set goals for yourself now, before the semester starts. While it sounds like a minor thing, starting classes with clear-cut goals of what you want to accomplish will take a massive amount of stress off of you during the first weeks of classes. I am a visual person, so the way that I set my goals is by writing down what I want to work toward, and even writing down how I am going to do it. This helps me stay focused, even when other things pop up.
  2. Tackle Homesickness. During my first few years at LSU, coming back to campus after the month-long break was tough because I would get used to being with my family and hometown friends again. While the saying, “There’s no place like home,” is absolutely true, the only way to make the feeling of homesickness subside is to make LSU your home. The best way to do this is to get involved and take advantage of the resources and events that the University offers. You should take comfort in the fact that your becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be, and you’re accomplishing a major goal by being here.
  3. Stick to the rule of three! I am a big believer that the more involved you are, the better you do in school. With that being said, I also believe that you cannot give a thousand things 100 percent of your ability all at the same time. So my advice is to stop doing several things half-way and do three things extremely well. For example, during my senior year of my undergraduate time at LSU my three things were doing well in school, serving as vice president of PRSSA at LSU and my job at LSU FYE. When you focus all of your effort on only a few specialized things, you’d be amazed at all you can accomplish and how well-received your work will be amongst your superiors and teachers. My advice for how to narrow down to only three things is to stick with what is going to help you accomplish the goals you’ve set (See #1).
  4. Know what helps you de-stress! Sometimes no matter how much you plan in advance, the stress of the semester still sneaks up on you. When this happens, it is good to know what is going to make you feel better and gain a handle on things. For me, depending on how stressed I was at the time, it could be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and watching my favorite TV show or even going for a run regularly. Everyone is different, but it will be helpful to have a healthy way to de-stress in mind when that overwhelming feeling sneaks up on you. LSU’s Center for Academic Success has great examples of ways to manage stress, and the LSU UREC has a lot of active ways to decompress.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I would be willing to bet that there are very few, if any, successful people out there who achieved their success without the help and guidance of others. That is why it is important to know your limits, and know when you may need help from a classmate or a tutor, or when you may need to take advantage of the additional resources on campus. Asking for help will never hinder you from reaching a goal, but giving up surely will.
  6. Know that you can do it! You’ve already made it through one semester this year, so there is no doubt you’ll make it through this one! You can accomplish all of the goals you set by staying focused, organized and working hard. Good luck this semester, Tigers! Even though you won’t need it because I know you’ve got this semester covered.

The Semester Is Over! What Now?

victoria

Victoria Cleveland is a sophomore pursuing a Public Relations major with a minor in Business. She is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and works on the Media and Marketing Team for First Year Experience.

Dear Parents,

Your child has just endured one of the toughest weeks of the semester and is likely looking forward to enjoying the comfort of your home. Here are five easy and helpful ways to ensure that your beloved tiger has a great winter break.

1. Welcome them back with open arms! – Hugs have been proven to reduce blood pressure, lower stress and alleviate fears. Whether your tiger aced their finals, or perhaps encountered a few bumps this week, a hug helps to make life a little sweeter!

2. Light a candle! – Studies show that lavender and vanilla scents actually reduce anxiety and agitation. For instance, people who smelled vanilla during a stress test actually maintained a lower heart rate than those who smelled no scent at all.

3. Make sure they eat! – Your tiger will need to maintain a regular and well-balanced eating schedule to help replenish their energy.

4. Fluff the pillows! It is time for bed!- Your body needs extra sleep and rest when you’re stressed, so make sure to tuck your tigers in!

5. Know who to call! – With finals, the end of the semester also brings various financial responsibilities. If you or your tiger has questions about your fee bill, billing statement or TOPS, contact the Bursar’s Office at 225-578-3357 or by email at bursar@lsu.edu.

The absolute best thing you can do for your tiger is to enjoy the time you will spend with them this winter break!

5 Steps to a Cajun Thanksgiving


danielleDanielle Ford is currently pursuing a dual Masters in Higher Education Administration & Public Administration and is a Graduate Assistant for Student Advocacy & Accountability.  
Danielle is from Baton Rouge, LA and studied abroad twice: Paris in 2009 and London, Brussels, & Paris in 2011-2012.

As a Baton Rouge native and LSU alumna, I know a thing or two about Cajun cuisine. As the President of the Thanksgiving Fan Club (not a real thing, but maybe I should invent it!), I’m positive I know a lot about Turkey Day. If this is your first holiday season in Louisiana, there is a lot you should know about how to celebrate a proper Cajun Thanksgiving, and as a self-appointed expert, I’m here to help you out!

1. Dressing, dressing & more dressing! In Cajun Country, we are connoisseurs of dressing of all types: we have cornbread dressing, rice dressing, crawfish dressing, oyster dressing, and andouille sausage dressing just to name a few. Your choice of dressing just might make or break your Cajun Thanksgiving.

2. Turkey does not reign supreme. In many Cajun households, turkey is just one of the many meat options served on Thanksgiving. Traditionally in my family, we prepare deep fried turkey, baked turkey, ham, roasted chicken or Cornish hens, and of course gumbo! It’s not that we don’t love turkey; we do! But when we cook a meal on Thanksgiving, we like to go all out!

pie3. It’s all about the sweet potatoes and pecans. For most Cajun households, we cannot live without some kind of dish made with sweet potatoes and/or pecans. You’ll often find a platter of candied yams, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato casserole (topped with pecans!) and an assortment of sweet potato and pecan pies – no pumpkin found here!

4. Thanksgiving is for college football. We all know that traditionally, the Detroit Lions play (and lose) their annual Thanksgiving Day NFL game. But in many Cajun households, the biggest sporting event of the year is the annual “Bayou Classic” featuring the Southern University Jaguars against the Grambling State University Tigers. Usually held the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome in New Orleans, the Bayou Classic is a staple. While many love to watch the longstanding football rivalry come to a head, even more fans salivate for the “Battle of the Bands” competition the night before the game. If you’ve never seen a HBCU’s band play, make sure to turn in during this year’s Bayou Classic Weekend for a real treat! #GeauxJags

5. We Are Family! Thanksgiving is all about family. But if you can’t spend the day with your biological family, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the day. Get a group of friends together and have your own Friendsgiving. If you’re from out of town, see if you can be the guest of a local friend. As long as you bring a few cases of Coke and an empty stomach, you’re sure to be welcomed in with open arms!


P.S.
Here’s a tried and true recipe for Sweet Potato Pie!

Pura Vida Mae! My Study Abroad Experience

ciCierra Burnett is a Memphis Native.  She is currently a Masters student in the Higher Education Administration program and works as a Graduate Assistant for LSU’s Office of Community-University Partnerships.

I never realized just how much studying abroad would change my life. My 10-day excursion to the rich land of Costa Rica was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had in my life. In those few, short days, I fell in love with Cumbia dancing, ate more plantains and gallo pinto than my stomach could hold, practiced my Spanish while chatting with locals, and stood at the edge of a volcano as the sun rose. I gazed in awe at the beautiful architecture of the Teatro Nacional and imagined the people who entered its doors hundreds of years ago.

ci2One of the moments I will always cherish most from the trip was a conversation that I had with a man hula hooping in Parque Central in San Jose. He said something so profound that it has stuck with me since: “Your comfort zone is your dead zone.” When he said those words, I was so moved by the meaning behind them. It was basically like saying that every moment spent afraid to step out of your comfort zone is killing you; And it’s true. I am so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone and decided to take on this adventure. I entered Costa Rica an apprehensive American, but I really do believe that I left Costa Rica as a Tica (a colloquial term for a Costa Rica native). I did everything that I could to embrace the culture, the people, and the language of Costa Rica, and that made all the difference.

I wish that every single student would make an effort to study abroad at least once in their college career. It was more meaningful and transformative than any other involvement opportunity that I took advantage of, and my life has been forever changed because of it.  I encourage your students to visit the LSU Study Abroad website at http://abroad.lsu.edu/ to gain more information on how they too could have a life-changing experience like I did.