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.


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.


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.


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.

Senior Design Project: Solving Real-World Problems

This month’s blog post comes to us from Alex Beem, a senior majoring in petroleum engineering. Originally from Houston, Texas, Alex decided to pursue his passion for the oil and gas industry. After visiting LSU’s College of Engineering, Alex knew that Baton Rouge would be the place he would call home and earn his undergraduate degree.

A long journey will finally come to an end on May 15, 2015. It all started my freshman year with the basic arithmetic and science classes when I was trying to find my place in this new world we call “college.” As I worked my way through the course flowchart, I kept my focus on the prize; which was to graduate from LSU (and receive my ring and diploma). I entered my senior year as motivated as ever to reach this goal and the courses were much more interesting than the ones I had taken earlier in my college career. Before my classmates and I could graduate, we had one more task to complete: a Senior Design Project.

Alex Beem

Alex Beem

In case you are not familiar with the Senior Design course, it is a class that is required for LSU engineering students to graduate. Future engineers have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge by solving a problem for industry professionals. This class is two semesters long and is composed of two phases. The first phase is planning, while the second is implementation. The planning phase taught me the organizational skills I needed to achieve the task at hand, and the implementation phase showed me that not all things can be planned for.

My group did our project on “Decline Curve Analysis for Unconventional Reservoirs.” If you are familiar with the oil and gas industry, you know that a major hurdle has been crossed recently. Due to new technology, many companies have started drilling into shale formations as opposed to sand formations. A reservoir in a shale formation would be considered an “unconventional” reservoir. The project we are working on analyzes new methods of determining production rates from these formations, since research has proven that the old way of making these decline curves resulted in inadequate results.

When first learning about this project, we knew it would be a difficult project that could yield great results. My group consists of three other guys: Ryan Burke, Paul Caplis, and Stephen Harris. What was so great about this group is that we all had different strengths to offer the team. Paul utilized his skills with computer programming, and designed a program in MATLAB to run his simulation. Stephen did the same for his model, and offered some much needed charisma during our many presentations. Ryan was very good at understanding the big picture of the project, and used his experience from his past internships to help guide us in making a professional presentation. I used my organizational skills to effectively communicate with the group, plan meetings, and set deadlines for various facets of our project.

For our senior project, we each took a developed model and applied it to a specific geographic region. We then took the data that was made available to us and forecasted decline curves. After making our forecasts, we were able to show that certain methods worked better than others. My teammates and I are very proud of our project. We believe it is a very relevant issue, and that our project will make a difference for some companies in the industry.

Forecasted decline curves for senior design project

Forecasted decline curves for senior design project

When I was a senior in high school, I remember touring the petroleum department and seeing the students mixing mud in mud lab. I remember seeing people sitting in front of the computers in the Patrick F. Taylor computer lab with three or four books open at the same time trying to do their homework, and thinking to myself that will be me one day. I think the biggest thing I have taken away from my senior year at LSU is that all of the hard work from early on has finally paid off. It is rewarding to know that you can work hard, but also have fun with what you do. That is the purpose behind the senior design project. We are now equipped with the knowledge to solve real-world problems and we can find fun and creative ways to do it.

-Alex Beem
Petroleum Engineering

Making the Most of Your Time at LSU through Student Organizations

This blog post is contributed by a mechanical engineering junior named Jordan who has been involved in student organizations at the College and University level. She’s going to share with you how they’ve made a positive impact on her time at LSU and even her future!

My junior year at LSU I decided to get more serious about my future and getting a full-time job, so I decided to work at the Encounter Engineering freshman transitions camp and become a part of a student organization called the Society of Peer Mentors. I found out about this organization because all of my friends were in it, which is usually how you learn good information in college: talking to people. Building friendships, talking to people, and seeking advice has caused me to have the most success at LSU. Friendships help get you through classes because of moral support.

Society of Peer Mentors before Encounter Engineering Camp

Society of Peer Mentors before Encounter Engineering Camp

Although I have been in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, African Student Organization, National Society of Black Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, and the Society of Women Engineers – the Society of Peer Mentors holds a dear place in my heart. The Society of Peer Mentors (SPM) instilled in me leadership skills, taught me responsibility, helped me network, and grow as a student. They taught me how to make a resume, interview and improve my communication skills. It also caused me to get rid of my hot pink hair and knee-high socks. SPM is an interdisciplinary leadership organization for STEM majors that feels more like a family than an obligation, and I can honestly say I would’ve dropped out of LSU if it weren’t for the people I turned to there for support. The faculty I met there really care about students’ success and the bonds I’ve made have been indelible.

Jordan with previous STEP Manager, Summer Dann, and another peer mentor.

Jordan with previous STEP Manager, Summer Dann, and another peer mentor.

Some other great things about the Society of Peer Mentors has been the students I’ve worked with. In SPM student innovation and involvement is key. In fact, some of my peers started Robotics mentoring programs at local schools and others started Louisiana’s first hackathon with “Geaux Hack.” It’s been amazing to constantly be working with amazing people that challenge me to be better every day.

Student organizations like SPM have been a stepping stone to my jobs. They taught me about responsibility and how to disagree with someone. I’ve had to deal with real-life issues like funding, conflict of interest and mentoring people in tough situations. They’ve made me a leader and have helped me connect to people I would’ve previously not thought possible. Undoubtedly the real world is harder. I found this out when I took a year off to work a Co-Op and get experience. But student orgs help you mature professionally, as well as personally, and help make the transition to full-time work easier.

Jordan and peers at a press conference with Gov. Bobby Jindal

Jordan and peers at a press conference with Gov. Bobby Jindal

That being said…Any form of involvement at LSU will help make you a better all-around person whether it be tutoring at the center of academic success, painting up with friends for football games, rolling down the Indian Mounds at four in the morning with your best friend, or playing pickup soccer with the international students on the Parade grounds. You get out of LSU what you put into it. As a student you need to enjoy college while it lasts and really find yourself. Take the time to discover your goals and passions and don’t get distracted from being happy. Make the most of your time at LSU and explore.

By Jordan Favret
Mechanical Engineering Junior

10 Tips to Help you Prepare for Finals Week

Updated 11/30/2016

Finals week is quickly approaching at LSU, and it’s essential that you plan ahead to not only survive in your classes, but to thrive academically, physically and mentally. Check out these tips to help you prepare for finals week.

1. Plan ahead.
Double-check the times and dates of your finals. Ask your professors whether the exam will be cumulative so you can plan your studying ahead of time. Create a study schedule, write it down and stick to it! It’s never too early to begin tackling those formulas and concepts.

Plan ahead.

Plan ahead.

2. Eat healthy.
It can be really easy to drink energy drinks and eat junk food while studying. Try to avoid sugary and fatty snacks and replace them with fresh fruit, vegetables and water. You’ll feel better and have more energy.

3. Get sleep.
We’ve all heard that you can only pick two of these things in college: good grades, a social life and sleep. This is a blatant lie. It is possible to get a good eight hours of sleep each night while still maintaining good grades and good friendships. Start studying now so you won’t have to pull all-nighters during dead week. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle those exams.

Get sleep.

Get sleep.

4. Get help from the LSU Center for Academic Success.
Did you know that the Center for Academic Success offers free tutoring for dozens of classes, including math, chemistry and physics? The best part is that tutoring at CAS is free, and no appointment is necessary. Check out the CAS website to learn which tutoring sessions are available.

5. Learn to reduce stress from the LSU Center for Academic Success.
No one said college would be easy. In fact, many students feel symptoms of stress and anxiety while in school. You should know that you are not alone with your emotions, and that there are ways to battle stress. Check out ways to assess, manage and reduce stress from the Center for Academic Success. If you’re feeling really overwhelmed, LSU Mental Health Services is a helpful and confidential resource for all students.

6. Get help with your writing from CxC.
Whether you’re writing a book report, English essay or engineering research report, LSU’s Communication Across the Curriculum (CxC) can give you feedback and help with all your writing. Schedule an appointment with a CxC writing coach now in order to learn how to improve your papers.

Get help with your writing.

Get help with your writing.

7. Study at the library, reserve a room.
Do you struggle with finding a table to study at the library? Worry no more by reserving a study room at Middleton. You can use these rooms to practice presentations, collaborate for group study or study quietly with friends. Middleton is now open 24/5, so you can stay late at the library if need be.

8. Get help with research from a librarian.
Are you searching for a source for your research to no avail? All of LSU’s librarians are here to serve you, and help you will all your research needs. You can consult librarians with a one-on-one appointment or via email, phone or even text.

9. Go to the Student Health Center at the first signs of sickness.
When temperatures drop, students get sick. Be it a cough, fever or aches, the Student Health Center can help you. Schedule an appointment with a doctor at the first sign of sickness to avoid fighting illness along with your studies. If the Student Health Center is all booked, you can still see a nurse without an appointment.

10. Stay active.
Working out is one of the easiest ways to reduce stress and get your mind moving. Make it a habit to get active multiple times a day in order to stay healthy. The UREC offers cardio machines, weight machines, basketball courts, tennis courts and GroupX Fitness classes that feature yoga, zumba, kickboxing and more.

Stay active. (Photo courtesy of LSU Daily Reveille)

Stay active.
(Photo courtesy of LSU Daily Reveille)

– Contributed by Danielle Kelley
LSU College of Engineering communications intern


Meet the LSU Engineering College Council

Engineering College Council members are elected by the student body to serve on LSU Student Government. Get to know your representatives here!


Eryn Short

Eryn Short, President

Major: chemical engineering
Minor: business administration and chemistry
Year: senior
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
Favorite spot on campus: LSU Lakes
Favorite LSU memory: Performing for LSU School of Music’s Concert Spectacular in the Union Theater for a music theatre class
Why did you choose LSU? “LSU is one of the best schools to network with and hire engineers from.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “I love math. I love science. Chemistry was one of my favorite subjects in high school.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I want to improve communication across the college, and cohesion among student groups.”


Craig Richard

Craig Richard, Vice President

Major: biological engineering
Year: junior
Hometown: Hahnville, LA
Favorite spot on campus: Laville Courtyard
Favorite LSU memory: Participating in the LaSTEM Summer Bridge Program after high school graduation
Why did you choose LSU? “I was part of a research program called LaSTEM, and that program really influenced me for coming here.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “I’ve always been interested in biology, and I wanted to help people. In engineering, you can have such a broad impacts with what you’re doing. I can help people with my research while studying my interests.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I would like to see the student body and the College as a whole more cohesive. I want to see more inter-department collaboration, and I want to see the College grow.”

SECRETARY: Reed Wilson

Reed Wilson

Reed Wilson, Secretary

Major: petroleum engineering
Minor: geology
Year: junior
Hometown: Mandeville, LA
Favorite spot on campus: LSU Bell Tower
Favorite LSU memory: 2012 LSU football game against University of South Carolina
Why did you choose LSU? “I grew up my whole life a huge LSU fan. Once I decided my major as petroleum engineering, it was a no-brainer.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “My dad started off in the oil field. He has lots of friends working in the oil business, and they encouraged me to look into it. I really enjoy it.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I want to get the council a lot more involved, and I want to get the students more involved in the College of Engineering.”

TREASURER: James Hamilton

James Hamilton, Treasurer

James Hamilton, Treasurer

Major: mechanical engineering
Year: senior
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Favorite spot on campus: Patrick F. Taylor’s mechanical engineering hallway
Favorite LSU memory: 2011 LSU football game against University of Alabama
Why did you choose LSU? “My parents went here. My family is from here.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “Math and science always interested me.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I didn’t know anything about what Student Government could provide until I joined. I want to make engineering students more aware of the resources available to them.”


Tim Montet

Tim Montet, Public Relations

Major: chemical engineering
Minor: biological molecular engineering
Year: junior
Hometown: Lake Charles, LA
Favorite spot on campus: LSU Sculpture Garden
Favorite LSU memory: 2007 BCS National Championship Game
Why did you choose LSU? “I liked how it was far enough away from home, but it was close enough if I needed to go home.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “My mom is an engineer, and her father is an engineer, too. The family aspect pulled me to engineering.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I want to increase the visibility of the College Council. This year I want students to boost publicity.”


Laura Theriot, Student Relations

Laura Theriot, Student Relations

Major: biological and agricultural engineering
Minor: business administration
Year: senior
Hometown: Houston, TX
Favorite spot on campus: LSU Lakes
Favorite LSU memory: “I really enjoy football games with family and friends.”
Why did you choose LSU? “I wanted to experience something different than the Texas schools I grew up with. Also my dad is an alum of the College of Engineering, so that persuaded me.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “Coming into college I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I liked biology and math. Biological engineering really combines all that.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I would like to facilitate communication between the engineering council and the student body.”


Michael Rodriguez, Corporate Relations

Michael Rodriguez, Corporate Relations

Major: chemical engineering
Year: junior
Hometown: Mobile, AL
Favorite spot on campus: “The Lakes in front of my fraternity house”
Favorite LSU memory: “Mike and I jumping up and down, soaking wet after the Auburn football game my freshman year.”
Why did you choose LSU? “I really wanted to get away from Alabama and Auburn and this was the best school so far. I fell in love with it on my first visit.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “I was originally biology, and I figured out that the harder my classes were the more I enjoyed them and I really liked the engineering classes.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I really want to help the council grow. I really fell in love with this college, and I’m in charge of getting donations. I want to get as much money as possible for us.”


Donald Monk, Volunteer Coordinator

Donald Monk, Volunteer Coordinator

Major: construction management
Minor: business and technical sales
Year: senior
Hometown: Baton Rouge, LA
Favorite spot on campus: “Parade Grounds”
Favorite LSU memory: “2007 football game against Florida”
Why did you choose LSU? “Both my parents went to LSU and I’ve lived in Baton Rouge my whole life, and I went to U-High. I wanted to be close to home.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “I like to learn things in school that I can apply in a hands-on environment. What we learn in class you have to know on the job site.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I want to get better involvement in the different organizations. I want to promote interdisciplinary work, and promote more community work in Baton Rouge to make it a better place.”


Dane D’Gerolamo, Event Coordinator

Dane D’Gerolamo, Event Coordinator

Major: petroleum engineering
Minor: business administration
Year: junior
Hometown: New Orleans, LA
Favorite spot on campus: Tiger Stadium
Favorite LSU memory: “This past weekend (LSU v. Ole Miss), and rushing the field”
Why did you choose LSU? “I was always an LSU fan since I was really young. I developed a passion for engineering and LSU petroleum is one of the best in the nation.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “My liking of science and math at a young age.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “I have an on campus job. I want to get more students involved in using the facilities. A lot of people don’t come to Patrick F. Taylor except for class. I want to get people involved in the events to meet new people and new friends.”


Katie Hogan, IT Coordinator

Katie Hogan, IT Coordinator

Major: biological engineering
Minor: biology, chemistry
Year: junior
Hometown: Choudrant, LA
Favorite spot on campus: Wilson Laboratories
Favorite LSU memory: “Recently for the New Mexico State game, I got to go on the field for a scholarship I got. I knew exactly where my parents where in the stands, so I got to see them when I was on the field.”
Why did you choose LSU? “I was initially part of the LASTEM research scholars program. I came here to be part of the program.”
Why did you choose the College of Engineering? “Engineering is interesting.”
What do you want to accomplish on Engineering Council? “Hopefully we can get a nice polished website up so that potential funders and any companies that want to sponsor us can look and see what our mission is.”

For more information about the Engineering College Council and to keep up with events, like their Facebook page!