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

Advertisements

Being a First Generation Student

DaMika pic

DaMika Woodard will be serving as the POL for the College of Art and Design. She is a Senior from DeRidder, Louisiana. She is majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Pre-Physical Therapy. She is involved in LSU Ambassadors, STRIPES, and Association of Pre-Physical Therapy Students. Her favorite spot on campus is Middleton Library. 

Being a first generation student is a great accomplishment that comes with a lot of pride, and a lot of pressure. I was proud to be the first person in my family to go to a four year university, but I also felt pressured to succeed. Statistically, the odds were not in my favor. It was reported that first generation students are the least likely to graduate from four year universities; I did not want that to be my story. Growing up, I watched my mom bounce from job to job to provide for my siblings and I. My mother always told me things such as: “nothing is ever going to be given to you, you have to work for it. The world is yours, you just have to go and get it!” She constantly stressed the importance of education to us and made sure that we excelled academically. Thanks to her consistency, I graduated from DeRidder High School in 2013 in the top 15 percent of my class, and didn’t stop there! In the Fall of 2013, I began my journey as an LSU Tiger, which was a bittersweet transition for my mother and I. We were excited for this new chapter of my life, but also nervous; this was not only my first taste of college, but hers as well.

My first semester was challenging; not only academically, but in my personal life as well. I had trouble networking with others and keeping my parents up to date on information and events. In addition to those problems, I did not know how to properly study, manage my time, or how to handle my own finances. While trying to juggle it all, I came to the realization that I needed extra help; I could not do this alone. Thankfully, LSU has a service called Student Support Services. At the SSS, their mission is to work directly with first generation students from their freshman orientation to their graduation.

Damika PictureThey have services that teach the students about money management,studying styles, as well as time management. They also offer weekly tutoring sessions and peer mentors, who are first generation students, too. This made things easier because I was surrounded by people who understood me and could give me the extra help that I knew I needed. There are many times that I felt overwhelmed, but my on-campus support system encouraged me to keep going. Now, I am set to graduate in December of 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology. In the words of my mother, “The world is yours, you just have to go and get it.”
 

To SPIN or not to SPIN

Meet Troi Benjamin, a IMG_9156Human Resource Education major, Leadership and Development concentration, Business Administration minor, from New Orleans, Louisiana. Involved in LSU Ambassadors, currently an Associate chair for the Orientation committee, student worker for the Office of Orientation.

Spring Invitational: An orientation for outstanding students who are invited to participate in this prestigious event. Spring Invitations’ staff is dedicated to the students to ensure an exceptional time and aiding in recruiting the future tigers. There are added benefits to coming to Spring Invitational besides having a summer to yourself. Students who attend Spring Invitational have the opportunity of receiving college credit before attending college, scheduling classes with first priority, and enjoying the extraordinary company of other high achieving students.

During Spring Invitational, there are many resources for the exceptional students to hear about in addition to seeing their college advisors more than once to guide them on the journey to scheduling classes. Every student is broken into groups based on a random selection within their senior college, this allows for students to meet potential classmates and/or friends.

I did not get the opportunity to be an attendee of Spring Invitational, but has not been a barrier to my passion of Orientation. I have served many different roles for Spring Invitational over the past 3 years of being an LSU Ambassador. I began as an Orientation Leader in 2013, moved into being a College Leader in 2014, and I currently hold one of the Associate Chair positions, while working for the Office of Orientation.

Working

Associate Chair Role: Working as one of the associate chairs for Spring Invitational allowed me to see the program from another angle. There are more aspects to Spring Invitational than just being an Orientation Leader and serving the students directly. As one of the Associate chairs, I was aided in assigning all volunteers who worked Spring Invitational. This position allowed me to understand how if one piece of the puzzle is missing, you do not have to panic but adjust your puzzle.

Student Assistant Role: I originally believed that there wasn’t much student interaction done between the student assistants and the students attending Spring Invitational, but oh was I wrong! As a student worker every day of Spring Invitational we are set up in the Orientation Headquarters to answer any and every questions asked by a future tiger or parent. We as the Office of Orientation are here for the assisting of every individual at Orientation.

My word of advice to all students who get invited to Spring Invitational would be to dive in to SPIN and allow the potential memories to take over and fall in love with being an LSU Tiger who will bleed Purple and Gold 24/7!AMB Photo

It’s Not Goodbye; It’s See Ya Later!

me greyMeet Meagan Johnson from Hackberry, Louisiana. She is a senior and will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the Manship School of Mass Communication this summer. She is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Political Science and History. Meagan is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Collegiate 4-H and the University Baptist Church College Group. Her favorite place on campus is the Parade Ground.

As the summer is coming to a close and I begin to look back at all of the memories I have made, I realize how blessed I was to have been a Parent Orientation Leader this summer. This experience is one that the rest of my team and I will never forget. It was wonderful getting to meet all of the parents and family members of our incoming tigers. We enjoyed sharing our experiences with you, answering questions, spinning that wheel at family game night, writing letters, encountering the blistering heat then sudden pouring rain and above all helping to make you feel comfortable about sending your students to LSU. I will always remember the moments we shared and I am thankful for getting to spend time with all of you.group theatre

With fall classes beginning soon, I am sure that all of you are trying to get last minute things together for you and your students to be prepared for this journey. One thing that may be very helpful for both you and your student to have is a list of resources that either of you may need throughout the semester. You all learned about several resources at orientation, but making a contact sheet will help you get in touch with different departments quickly. Here is an example of what your list could look like:

  • LSU Police Department- (225) 578-3231
  • Student Health Center- (225) 578-6271
  • Campus Transit- (225) 578-5555
  • University College: Center for Freshman Year- (225) 578-6822

group red shirtThere are many more departments and resources on campus that you may need and they are readily available at www.lsu.edu. Another very helpful resource for parents is the LSU Parent and Family Programs website www.lsu.edu/family. This is a great medium for parents to find answers to any questions they may have. The site provides information about different resources, orientation, the Parent and Family Association and upcoming events taking place.

The last piece of advice I have for all of you is to simply enjoy this experience. It can be a very emotional time, but it is important to remember that this is also an exciting one as well. Your student is about to embark on an incredible journey that you all have been working toward the past twelve years and with your support they can achieve it. Even though we are sad orientation is over, we know our journey with you all is not. We are always here as a resource for you and your students. We also hope to see you all again at Family Weekend October 2-4. It will be the perfect time for a reunion with your parent orientation leaders as well as a chance to see all of the amazing things your students are doing. I hope all of you have a wonderful year and Geaux Tigers!

group laugh

Tips For Your Tiger Week 10

DB 2Meet Drake Boudreaux from Lafayette, Louisiana. He is a junior and will be serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader this summer. He is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Digital Advertising and minoring in Visual Communication. Drake is involved in several organizations on campus such as LSU Ambassadors, Student Government and Dance Marathon. His favorite place on campus is Tiger Stadium.

Serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader for LSU this summer has easily been the most rewarding experience of my life. Spending such an ample amount of time representing the University alongside these 10 individuals has allowed me to gain insight on so many new things. DB groupComing in to contact with a countless number of families from all over the country with such different stories helped me realize the diversity of this University and gain a new appreciation for where I came from and all the things my parents did for me.

It is true that I have not raised a child and for me to give advice on how to be a parent would be pretty silly. But I have learned quite a few things this summer that I feel would be beneficial for you, as families, to consider as you are sending your student off to Baton Rouge.

It’s not always about the product; it’s about the process.

If there is one thing I have learned from my POL team, it is that the process is just as important as the product. Chances are your student is coming to LSU with some clear goals in mind: walk across a stage, receive a degree, and be on the right path for a successful career. However, it is important to keep in mind that the journey to that stage is just as important. We make mistakes, we accidentally oversleep classes, and we change our majors. But we also make lifelong friends, DB kidunforgettable memories, and we explore what different things the world has to offer us. I’ve always appreciated my parents’ unyielding support while learning these things. Each family is different, but finding that middle ground between complete dependence and complete freedom is beneficial for everyone involved. In my family’s case, by allowing me to make my own decisions, find comfort in my independence, and become the pilot of where I wanted my life to take me (with a few stern reminders thrown in there), I feel like I am able to get more out of my college experience than just a degree. Also encourage your student to find a way to enjoy their time at LSU, take it all in, stop and smell the roses (or magnolias). It is true that these four years go by incredibly fast and should be some of the best and most memorable years of our lives.

Take advantage of opportunities

Ironically enough, talking to parents all summer about every single detail of my LSU experience really has made me reflect on the amazing opportunities this place offers it’s students. Whether students continue to do things the way they’ve always done them or they choose to completely DB srowreinvent themselves, there are resources and opportunities to accommodate the whole range. It took me quite a few tries to find a place where I felt I belonged on a campus with over 30,000 students. But in doing so, I found a way to make LSU my home away from home and benefit in every way possible from my 4 years here. Encourage your students to get involved in organizations, seek out resources if they need help, meet new people, try new things, and explore everything LSU has to offer.

Keep doing what you’re doing

One of the most important things I gained this summer was a newfound appreciation for my parents and all they’ve done for me. From teaching me how to make moral decisions all the way to never washing reds with whites, I’ve utilized every lesson, every “I told you so,” every opinion DB parentsthat I’ve ever received from my parents. I’ve learned that every student has a story and that the families of the university truly are the unsung heroes of campus. We would not be the diverse, well-rounded, fun loving, hospitable student body that we are without the families who raised us. So here is a round of applause to you all and what you have done! My piece of advice moving forward is simply…don’t stop. Continue to teach us lessons, continue to offer your insight, continue to support us through all trials and tribulations because the one thing as students that we should always be able to count on is that we have family members in our corners, rooting for our success.

Tips For Your Tiger Week 9

BPMeet Brandon Power from Mandeville, Louisiana. He is a junior and will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Engineering. He is majoring in Industrial Engineering. Brandon is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Engineering Ambassadors, Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Sophomore Gold Program. His favorite place on campus is the Parade Ground.

When I looked at universities to attend, LSU was not my immediate choice. This was because of the same fear many students face when searching for colleges: the size of the student body. When I heard 30,000 students attended LSU, I was intimidated to say the least. I wanted to attend a school where people would know my face, professors would know my name, and I could run into my friends just by walking to class. Ultimately, it was my decision of where I would attend college. My family knew I was torn, and they continued to throw facts at me about how good of a school LSU is. BP flagThis made me reconsider attending LSU, however, this did not ease my fear of attending a school with 30,000 students. When it came time to make the final decision, my parents sat me down and said to me, “We want you to be happy with your choice and enjoy your college experience. If you do not enjoy your first choice, we will help you transfer schools.” In that moment, something inside of me told me to choose LSU, and looking back, I now know that this was the best decision I have ever made.

If you’re wondering how I went from being intimidated by LSU to being a die-hard tiger fan, it only took one step: GET INVOLVED! My entire college experience was shaped by those two words. Getting involved in organizations around campus has opened countless doors for me in college, as well as beyond LSU. It has made me proud of who I am today. Additionally, it made the campus feel smaller. I do not notice the size of the student body anymore. After getting involved, people know my face, professors know my name, and I run into many of my friends just by walking to class.

BP friendsAs a parent, encourage your student to get involved in multiple organizations around campus. As they get more involved, they will make more memories and have the college experience that they want. It might sound crazy at first to tell your student to take away time from studying, but getting involved actually helps students succeed. It teaches them valuable time management skills, how to interact with students and professionals, and it has been proven that students who participate in extra-curricular activities perform better in school.

LSU is a place that has everything your student is looking for. It is where I have made my greatest memories and my best friends. It is where I have found the people who will stand in my wedding and have learned what it truly means to Love Purple and Live Gold. Getting involved has made LSU more than a school to me, it is why I call LSU my home.

BP group

Tips For Your Tiger Week 8

2_zpskbjvgamfMeet Nicole Dominique from Thibodaux, Louisiana. She is a junior and will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Science and the School of the Coast and Environment this summer. She is currently pursuing a dual-degree in Microbiology and English Literature with the intentions of applying to medical school in the coming year. At LSU, She is involved with LSU Ambassadors, Alpha Epsilon Delta, Gamma Beta Phi and Honors College Advocates. Nicole also researches in a microbiology lab on campus in Life Sciences and works as a content tutor for the Academic Center for Student Athletes. Her favorite location on campus is Middleton Library because of the different floors with varying noise levels, the great views of campus and the CC’s that can be found on the first floor.

Well, it’s official! Fee bills have been sent out (and are due August 6th!), and your student is going to college. At this point, you and your families are probably enjoying the last weeks of your summer, or your student may even be attending a post-orientation program such as S.T.R.I.P.E.S. Regardless, this is a time to embrace. nikkiAfter all, you only get so many first’s (like my first day of school), and beginning college is a big transition for anyone. While change always brings with it worry and anxiety, the transition to college really is a time for personal growth and fun, and I promise, it’s exciting!

Coming into LSU from a small town, I was anxious about the adjustment, but at the same time, I knew that LSU would have so many opportunities for me, even if I didn’t quite know what that entailed yet. But, in retrospect, I can tell you that I was able to take 40 credit hours, join 3 on-campus organizations (an amount that was contested then, has increased since, and remains to be contested by my mom), develop several friendships, make innumerable memories, begin volunteering for a national crisis intervention hotline, learn the layout of campus, work my first real job, acquire the ability not to wince when drinking coffee, and study abroad in the United Kingdom all during my freshman year.UK

Despite that, my mother still dedicatedly called me at 4 p.m. every day during the school year, and I drove back home about every other weekend. With that, I was able to balance college life and still spend time with my family. So, college, in no way, is a goodbye.

My best advice to you is to enjoy this time. It’s going to go faster than you think, and before you know it, you’re going to be sitting through your student’s graduation ceremony. As cliché as that is, as a rising junior, which is still really frightening to say, I have seen how quickly college passes. So, enjoy this time by staying calm and planning for what you can. You will ultimately forget something, especially if you’re like me and you forget to bring a pillow both your freshman and sophomore years to the residence hall, but that’s no big deal. You craft a make-shift pillow out of a blanket or borrow one and make it through the night until you get your proper pillow. That may just be me, but anyway, life happens. You may experience your own figurative forgotten pillow, but make the best out of it (and then use it for later blogs-again, maybe just me)! But, the point is that it really is near impossible to do everything perfectly. We have the resources there for you such as residence hall packing lists, which are mailed to you and which needed a second look by me, so again, plan for what you can. But, it will all be alright if things don’t go perfectly as planned.

So, what are you still doing here? We have 26 days until the Fall semester begins, so make sure you pay your fee bill, but go out and enjoy the summer and your time with your student! And like always…

GEAUX TIGERS!