New Year, New Semester, Fresh Start

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.

Welcome To Death Valley, Where Dreams Can Also Be Made

1UntitledMeet Jorge Herrera, the Facility Graduate assistant at University Recreation, better known as the “UREC”. A native from Silver Spring, MD, he currently studies in the masters of Higher Education Administration program. He enjoys taking part in various recreational activities while still focusing on helping his student staff develop critical thinking and transferable skills within the work place. As a first year graduate assistant, Jorge is ecstatic about learning the theoretical background of student development through Higher Education and practicing new theories within the field of recreation. He aspires a future career within recreation or student affairs upon graduation.

The alarm sounded at 5:30am on a Saturday morning. The Louisiana sun had yet to fill the blue skies over the field complex, but as 6:00 am struck I was already through the doors of the LSU Student Recreation complex for what seemed to be a quiet Saturday shift. As I hooked a radio to my belt and clipped on my manager keys, I greeted my student staff whom so diligently arrived to begin set-up for our event that morning.

As the sun began to rise over Death Valley, the UREC staff had worked hard all morning to prepare for the big game. Athletes started to arrive and the bleachers began to fill up. A sharp silence fell over the UREC field complex as LSU and Alabama players anxiously awaited the 9:00 AM game whistle at the 2014 Unified Special Olympics flag football game.


A game filled with extraordinary athletes and ESPN covered the field to televise this historic show down. An event filled with performances from the LSU Tiger girls, cheerleaders, and special guests like President Alexander; it was truly one of a kind. As the game moved past each quarter, LSU’s nationally ranked special team surpassed Alabama and took the lead.

As a volunteer on the sideline, I began to realize how lucky I was to be a part of this event. This flag football game stood for much more than just a game for these special athletes. It was an opportunity for athletes, spectators, volunteers, and all viewers to come together and celebrate the efforts of athletes from all different backgrounds. It was an opportunity to celebrate diversity and unify people from within the communities near and far and empower individuals who were unique in their own way.

As the 4th quarter arrived, LSU significantly dominated Alabama’s valiant athletes, but regardless all of the athletes were true champions. I was fortunate to have been part of this magnificent experience through my assistantship at UREC. This event opened my eyes to the impact recreation and wellness can have on all members throughout any community and how even setting up some tables or putting out a few cones can contribute to changing lives of the athletes.