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.
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Back to School

11885339_955484164494592_331845813517572457_nMeet Jordan Lange, a Junior majoring in Biological Sciences from Erath, Louisiana.  I Jordan is involved in LSU Ambassadors and served as an Orientation Leader for the College of Science this past summer.

As winter break comes to an end, it is time to return to Baton Rouge for the start of the spring semester. I am sure that students are currently getting last minute things together in order to prepare for the first day of school. I am sad that winter break is over, but I missed my home here in Baton Rouge and am excited to get this semester started.

I spent most of my break back home in the small town of Erath, Louisiana. It was great getting to visit with friends from high school and spend quality time with my family. I hope that everyone had a great holiday season and the opportunity to eat delicious home cooking in the weeks that we were away from campus. Being from South Louisiana and Cajun Country, I can assure you that I ate some delicious food including many servings of gumbo and rice and gravy. By far my favorite part of winter break was cheering on the LSU Football team at the 2015 AdvoCare Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas. Having the opportunity to watch Leonard Fournette score five touchdowns and to hear Callin’ Baton Rouge in NRG Stadium surrounded by thousands of Tiger Fans was incredible.12182481_990855720957436_2722092496713124772_o

It is time now for the spring semester to start and I could not be more excited to return to my home away from home, Baton Rouge. With spring classes beginning today, remember that you and your student have done this before. The freshmen class has made it through the first semester and is much more familiar with college now. My best advice for the spring semester is to hit the ground running from the first day. It can be hard for students to get back into a routine coming off a long break, but it is important for them to make a schedule as soon as possible. Always remember that the start of a new semester is a clean slate. Regardless of how your student did last semester or in semesters before that, spring 2016 is a new semester and gives every student a chance to put their best foot forward. Always remember that your student is not alone at LSU and that there are resources here to help including the Center for Academic Success, the Student Health Center, and the Center for Freshman Year (UCFY). These resources and the LSU faculty and staff are dedicated to helping students succeed at LSU.

For parents and families, my best advice is to always be there for your student. College can be very stressful and emotional at times, but it can also be the experience of a lifetime. I call my mom and dad often just to talk about things and share my experiences. My parents always send me words of encouragement before my tests and remind me that hard work and dedication will pay off later in life. As students, we are thankful for you, our parents and families, because we depend on you for encouragement and support.

I hope that everyone has a great first day and an even better spring semester. Orientation Leaders and Parent Orientation Leaders are always available to answer student questions. Love Purple, Live Gold, and Geaux Tigers!

 

Finals Week. Ohhhhh Finals Week.

10485965_875397085826157_5158197220351958095_oMeet Drake Boudreaux from Lafayette, Louisiana! Drake is studying Mass Communication Digital Advertising and minoring in Business and Visual Communication. Drake is involved as a LSU Ambassador, Head Parent Orientation Leader, Student Government, and STRIPES!

I doubt any other combination of two words would evoke such a wide spread negative response.  Possibly “root canal” or “roll tide,” but who’s to say? The simple fact of the matter is a week full of tests designed to reveal students’ knowledge on a semester’s worth of information in a variety of subjects can be quite daunting. Although the amount of information may be overwhelming, our grades may have a first class ticket on the struggle bus, or no amount of coffee seems to be efficient enough to carry us in to hour 8 of studying, there are a few finals week pointers that I feel make it easier to come out on top.

Make an individualized study plan

Where do you study most efficiently? In what ways do you learn large amounts of information? What people hinder or distract you from concentrating? No one knows you better than yourself. I find it extremely important to sit down before finals week begins and layout my plan of action. I decide where I am going to study, how I am going to study, who I am going to study with, what grades I need to make on which exams, how far in advance I need to study, which exams I need to focus on, for what period of time will I study? I find it incredibly important to be honest with myself when doing this.

Utilize Resources

LSU’s campus is flooding with resources to help students. With things like the Center for Academic Success, the tutorial shell center, Middleton library, study groups, and professor’s office hours and study sessions, we as students have access to assistance. There is no shame in using these resources, especially in preparation for final exams. keep-calm-finals-week-ahead

Stay Positive

Finals week is no fun. But keeping a level head and remaining optimistic makes getting through finals week much easier. When all is said and done, I remain confident in my preparation through the entire semester and I don’t let any of my exams have power over my attitude. No matter how much time I spend studying, I try to work to a point where I can say, “I know this material as well as I can.”

Reward Yourself

On the same note as remaining positive, I find it important to recognize when I achieved my goal and reward myself for doing so. Whether you set little goals for every hour of studying, or one big one immediately following your last exam, it’s great to have something to work toward or look forward to.

When all is said and done, the key to conquering finals week is preparation. And if I’m being quite honest, most of the time the build up or anxiety surrounding finals week is actually worse than the exams themselves. As long as students maintain a level head and put in the necessary amount of effort, finals week is very doable.