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:

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    • 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.

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.

GEAUX & Give Back

jolieJolie is a first-year graduate student at Louisiana State University pursuing a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. She currently works as a Graduate Assistant for the President’s Millennial Scholars Program within the Office of Diversity. Before becoming a Tiger, Jolie studied Psychology and Leadership at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. As an Undergraduate student, she was involved in: Orientation, the President’s Leadership Program, Greek Life, Alternative Fall & Spring Break Service Trips, and graduated with service distinction within the youth development track.

In regards to service Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “what are you doing for others?” I initially knew upon beginning my undergraduate career that service was something of high priority on my list of things I wanted to get involved in. But if you don’t exactly have the track record of completing service in the past, don’t quite know where to get started, or don’t think service is for you, fear not! I’m here today to offer my advice on getting involved in service or service learning as a college student.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone: If service is not something you have a lot of experience with or something you’re a little nervous to jump into, my advice is to get like Nike and just do it! More than likely you’re already challenging yourself by beginning this new season of life, why not use this transition as a chance to go out and try something that can make a positive impact on your community?
  2. Narrowing down your options: Okay, so we’ve decided we’re going to give this whole service thing a shot, now what? There are SO many organizations, people, and places that have plenty of volunteer work available or are in need of an extra hand. How do you know where to start? Well I would say begin by identifying personal interests. I know before I just said to step out of your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean enter the panic zone. For instance, I am not an outdoorsy-type gal (though I try hard to be by wearing Chacos or telling myself I want to go hiking, ha! Yeah right..) Well if I choose a service site related to nature or the outdoors, what good will I be as a volunteer if I pass out when I see a snake, spider, or alligator? None.A good place to start narrowing down service site interests would be through LSU’s Campus Life office. Here is a link to their website. There you will find more information about what LSU has to offer service wise on campus!
  3. Make a commitment, y’all: Service is like a lot of things; you get out of it what you put into it. If you aren’t getting involved in something you really care about, show up sporadically to serve, or aren’t fully present in your time there, you as well as your service site will not get the best out of your experiences. Talk with your service site supervisor to agree on a schedule that works best for both of you and hold yourself accountable! I know how hard it can be finding time with a college student schedule, but remember that time management is key.jolie-2
  4. Check yourself: One important aspect of service or service learning is reflection.  Taking the time to step back and reflect in whatever way best suits you is important to really understand the bigger picture of your work. At times it can be discouraging knowing there is so much to be done that you might feel as if you’re making little to no impact. During these times write in a journal, look up quotes, talk it out with someone else, or check out this list of reflection activities in order to have a better idea of what your service means, the impact it’s making on the service site as well as on yourself, and any lessons you’re learning along the way.
  5. What kind of ships never sink? Some of my best friends I still have to this day I met on alternative spring or fall break service trips. Having the opportunity to put myself out there, meet people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and be vulnerable during group reflection allowed my new friendships to be deeper and more intentional. I went into these experiences not really knowing other students or staff I was with but always left feeling like they were family (as cliché as that may sound it’s true!) There’s something about living in a cabin for a week with people you have just met and no access to wifi or cable that just sort of brings you all together! In all seriousness, getting involved with service based trips or committed service sites is a great way to meet new people in both the LSU and greater Baton Rouge community. (The answer was friendships. Friendships never sink!) 

Another OUTSTANDING Family Weekend

khalif-laticia-2Laticia Khalif is a member of LSU’s Family Association Council and parent of a sophomore at LSU. She resides in Milton, GA and is a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket who has learned to Love Purple and Live Gold.

My family loves LSU Family Weekend for a host of reasons and after this past Family Weekend, we have decided that we will continue to attend as long as my daughter is a student at LSU. As an out of state parent, I don’t get the luxury of seeing my daughter every weekend. As a matter of fact, I don’t get the luxury of seeing her on a monthly basis. With the expense associated with flying back and forth to Baton Rouge or even the time needed to drive between Louisiana and Georgia, opportunities just don’t present themselves.

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Therefore, every opportunity counts. And timing wise, I have found the timing of Family Weekend and the Spring Event are PERFECT! Unbeknownst to my daughter or myself, the events seemed to be planned right at that time when students, typically those who live out of state, begin to yearn for that “touch point” or connection to HOME!  Specifically, last year when my daughter was a freshman, I found after moving in mid-August, that by October (and in particular, leading up to Family Weekend) she was MORE THAN READY to see her family. Imagine the big smile on my face when she started the 10-day COUNTDOWN. So, given that she was an out of state student who had mentally prepared herself to not come home until Thanksgiving, I was so excited and filled with relief when we both realized that I had made the right decision in planning to attend Family Weekend. WHEW!!! And… when most kids are embarrassed by their over eager Aunties, God Mother and mom, she seemed to relish the moment and beamed with pride at our “silliness”.

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That is why we came again this year. And that is why we are coming again next year. So, from the perspective of an out of state parent, Family Weekend matters! And as much as we enjoy the city, the food, experiencing The Chimes, Roux 61, and  TJ RIBS for the 99 cent Margaritas at least 2 times during the weekend, and not to mention just roaming around the campus, going to the volleyball games, and more importantly, getting a chance to experience LSU in Death Valley; Family Weekend, to us, is truly about spending time with my daughter, meeting her new family and friends, and reinforcing the love that we all have for her in her home away from home.

 

An Open Letter to Nervous Parents

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Paige Picou will be serving as the University Center for Advising and Counseling POL. She is a Junior Psychology major from Houma, Louisiana. She is involved with LSU Ambassadors, Psi Chi, Freshman Leadership Council, and STRIPES. Her favorite spot on campus is the Bookstore.

Entering college is a time filled with nervousness, excitement, and hopes for the future. While students are packing their things, scheduling their classes, and planning for the experience they’ll have at LSU, there are obviously a lot of emotions involved in the process. However, while most of the attention is rightfully placed on the students themselves, people often forget that this is a very emotional time for the parents as well.

I know as my parents were moving me into my residence hall before the start of my freshman year, they were also filled with excitement for me, nervousness about how well I would adjust, and worries for our future. Not only did they want me to be successful and happy, but this was also the first time in my life that we hadn’t all lived under the same roof, and I know they were going to miss me as much or more than I missed them.PAige blog 1

I can only imagine the stress that goes along with sending your child away to college, but as a student who has faced this experience with my own family, I can assure you that your child can succeed here. LSU has worked tirelessly to try to create programs that can help students academically. The Center for Academic Success provides free walk-in tutoring to students for any subject that they are struggling in. Additionally, supplemental instructors are provided for classes that are typically difficult for students. These supplemental instructors are students who have already taken this particular class and made an A in it and then retake that class to help the new students. They will hold review sessions twice a week with worksheets and a more relaxed environment where students can discuss class material with other students. In addition to the academic resources that this university offers, LSU also has over 400 organizations for students to get involved in, and all of these organizations can be found at www.lsu.edu/tigerlink.

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Of course, there will still be times when your student will be frustrated and unsure of what to do next in a particular situation, and there will also be times when your tiger can’t wait to tell you all about the good grade on a test or the great day he or she had. While it can be upsetting to hear that your family members are having a rough day and not be able to immediately fix the situation, I think being a support system for your student is the best thing you can do for him or her. I know that when I want to vent, simply having my parents to listen to and understand what I’m feeling is a great comfort to me because it validates my feelings and makes me feel like I am not alone. They can’t fix all of my problems for me, but they are always there to listen and help me figure out how to solve my problems on my own.

I can assure you that all of the wisdom, advice, and values that you have instilled in your child have prepared him or her to make his or her own decisions here. Your child will absolutely still make mistakes, but with your guidance, your tiger can learn from these mistakes to be even better individuals in the future.