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.
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.
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.
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.
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.