Ten Things to Do to Be Successful in College

Updated 5/24/2017

This post comes to you from Dr. Joe Odenwald, Assistant Dean of Engineering Student Services. He says, “This list is neither comprehensive nor particularly original. It’s a compilation of good practices for students I have seen in ten years working with college students.”

1. Begin with the end in mind. This comes from Stephen Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The idea is that we envision in our minds where we want to go, who we want to be. His notion is that there are two creations, first in our minds and then in the physical. To be successful, you need to see the endpoint: graduation. President Alexander often says, “Graduation starts today.” And it does. Covey also talks about a personal mission statement. You need to begin drafting yours now.

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The end is near! Well…sort of. But you’ve got this.

2. Go to class, every day. I really think this may be the best piece of advice anyone could give. When professors discuss students who are successful and those who are not, they often mention class attendance. If you aren’t in class your ability to keep up, especially with math and science courses, is limited. This really isn’t affected by how smart you are, because at this level it is as much about having the information as it is knowing what to do with it.

3. Get plenty of rest. Yes, you are young. And probably quite healthy. But you need to sleep, regularly. This helps keep you healthy so that you can attend class and remain awake while in class.

Get sleep.

Get sleep…enough said.

4. Eat a balanced diet. Easy on the Cane’s chicken and pizza and other heavy foods. Seriously, the freshman fifteen is no myth. And weight gain can have a negative impact on mental health, too.

5. Get some exercise. The best way to deal with stress is to sweat it off. It also can energize you and enable you to focus better once you get back to your studies.

exercise

This kind of exercise is probably not what you need on a daily basis.

6. Make friends, but not too many. You need a circle of companions with whom to share the ups and downs of college life, but don’t make the mistake of becoming such a socialite that you can’t squeeze in studying.

7. Use a calendar. Whether you are a Google calendar person or an old fashioned wall calendar person, having one to map out all your tests, projects, etc., is a great way to keep things from sneaking up on you.

8. Have some fun, but not too much. You’re all free to recreate as much as you like, but there are consequences. Going out Thursday through Saturday nights is not going to mesh well with your studies. Schedule fun as a reward for good grades, etc.

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You can have a social life and keep up with your classes…honestly!

9. Call Mom and Dad. Or your grandparents or guardians. They love you and want to hear from you. Maybe not every day, but work in some phone calls amid texts. They want to hear your voice, and hearing theirs will help motivate you.

10. Try to do what’s right in every situation. Look out for your neighbors and friends. Be academically honest. Think about how you navigate relationships, treating others as you would like to be treated.

[Editor’s note: photos and captions not provided by writer.]


Student Services can help you with academic counseling, general assistance and referrals, scheduling, and more. They are located in the Audubon Sugar Institute Building off South Stadium Drive near Tiger Stadium between the Military Science Building and the LSU Police Station. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, you can use their online appointment scheduler.

Encounter Engineering at LSU Before School Starts

Encounter Engineering (E2) Camp begins in just a few weeks for our incoming class of 2019. For you younger students out there, here’s some more information about our camp and a blog from a student who’s not only attended the camp herself, but worked for it as an upperclassmen.

About Encounter Engineering
Encounter Engineering (E2) is a one week bridge camp hosted the week before the fall semester each year. It introduces incoming engineering, construction management, and computer science first-year students to the College of Engineering and helps them transition from high school to college mindsets. Dedicated staff, counselors, and peer mentors work hard to give these students everything they need to succeed. Each group of incoming freshmen is paired with a peer mentor that is either currently in the student’s preferred major or a major of interest in the College of Engineering. Peer mentors guide students through a variety of activities, lead design and professional development sessions, and host evening activities with industry personnel.


Giselle Medina

Giselle Medina

Hi, my name is Giselle Medina, and I am currently a senior in mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University as well as a peer mentor for the Society of Peer Mentors. I am originally from Beaumont, Texas, so coming to LSU not knowing anyone else in engineering was stressful to think about.

As an incoming freshmen, participating in Encounter Engineering (E2) created a smooth transition from high school to college academics. One of the great things that my family and I liked about this camp is that I got to move in a week early and adjust to the campus before college classes even started. This was such a comfort since I was able to become familiar with the buildings and campus a week in advance. While this was great, I quickly realized how much more this program had to offer.

A few weeks before camp even started, I remember getting an email from my peer mentor introducing herself and telling me all about Encounter Engineering. Just this simple act was enough to get me excited! I could not wait! The first day of camp, my parents and I went to the theater in the LSU Student Union and were introduced to our peer mentor and student groups. After that, I remember saying goodbye to my parents, going to my residence hall, and making friends with other campers immediately. Not only was this camp an eye opener to life as an engineering student at LSU, but it was a great way for me to make friends and get to know students before school even started!

I remember the first few days were super eventful. We were working on a Rube Goldberg design project with our team which helped us get a better understanding of what engineering was like. A Rube Goldberg is a project where you complete a simple task in as many steps as possible. We were given a limited amount of supplies with some “currency” we could use at a “shop” in case we wanted to buy more supplies. The team with the most steps, least amount of money spent, and a successful Rube Goldberg would win the contest. Unfortunately, my team did not win, but it was still a fun and insightful experience!

Students at Encounter Engineering camp

Students at Encounter Engineering camp

I also attended mock calculus and physics classes during camp and met some of my future professors. I knew my calculus and physics professor before school even started! Each class was set up to be an example of what an actual college class was like. This proved to be another big help for me because I had a better understanding of what to expect. Towards the end of E2, we all attended a large industry dinner with industry personnel from different companies. This was a huge opportunity for us since we were able to network with professionals before our other classmates.

One of my favorite parts about the camp was the academic discussions with peer mentors and faculty about transitioning into college, as well as how to keep up good grades and a social life. No one can give better advice than a student who has been in your shoes and has gone through the classes you will be going through. The entire experience was invaluable and definitely helped prepare me for my first day. Without E2, I would not have met the friends I currently have today. I would not have had a role model and mentor in my major that I could go to for advice or academic help. Most importantly, I would not have become a peer mentor and helped other incoming freshmen as I do today.

So why should you consider Encounter Engineering? I would say for a few reasons. It has been observed that students who went attended the E2 camp were more likely to stay in the College of Engineering and succeed in their classes versus students who didn’t participate. Just one week of mock classes, team building, discussions, design challenges, and more led to tremendous outcomes. Also, students are given a valuable connection through Encounter Engineering – their peer mentor. My first summer as a peer mentor, I had a group of four students. Even after camp was over, I kept in contact with most of them. I was able to give them study aid books and online copies of my textbooks that helped them in their freshmen classes. I was able to answer any questions they had about the campus or the College of Engineering. I was able to give them advice about mechanical engineering classes, and it simply goes on from there. The last reason, and a big reason why I participated, was because it gave my parents and me peace of mind about starting college. My parents knew that I would be in good hands and learn from the program. I knew that I had an extra week to learn about LSU, learn from upperclassmen in the College of Engineering, and meet my classmates before school started.

– Giselle Medina
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

For more information about Encounter Engineering, please visit our website at www.eng.lsu.edu/current/freshmen/e2.