This post is contributed by Natalie Burges, a chemical engineering major from Katy, Texas. She participated in Spring Invitational as an incoming student and will be serving as an orientation leader for the 2015 session.
Thousands of high achieving students will flood to LSU for Spring Invitational (SPIN) in just a few weeks. We are so proud to host the top incoming students for this exceptional orientation opportunity. The College of Engineering consistently has the highest attendance at the annual event and the large mass of students can often be overwhelming. Luckily you are not alone, and despite the occasional herding, you will be treated as an individual preparing to take the next step in your education rather than a number in the crowd. Nevertheless, here are some helpful hints to help you survive.
1. Come in with an open mind.
LSU is a very diverse campus. You will meet people that come from different backgrounds and have different opinions and thoughts than you. Embrace them. Whether you are from a small town and a graduating class of 25 or a big city with a graduating class of 800, there will be people you can relate to and others you can learn from. Take in the experience and learn to accept people’s differences. LSU is a very welcoming community and it has a lot to offer so do not be afraid to break out of your bubble and walk in someone else’s shoes.
2. Get to know the people around you as well as your orientation leaders.
A large amount of the SPIN students will reside in the College of Engineering. With that being said, the engineering orientation groups can be rather large. Do not let this intimidate you. You don’t have to be best friends with 30 new people when you leave, but open up and talk to the people around you. Get to know them, where they’re from, and why they chose to come to the greatest university in the nation. Campus overwhelms several students but this is your chance to make a connection with your peers that you will see in class and you will see walking through the quad. Believe me, campus is much more welcoming and feels more like home when you see familiar faces. Also, your orientation leaders are great tools to have. They are thrilled to have you there no matter how tired you might be throughout the days of SPIN and they are there solely to help you so take advantage of it. Your orientation leaders can serve as great mentors not only through SPIN but also throughout your college experience.
3. Be ready to take in a lot of very important information.
Oh boy, get ready. Your mind will be filled with crucial information about becoming an LSU Tiger. The sessions may seem long sometimes but I promise that you will want to know this information. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself once you get to college and all the information that your orientation leaders present will be great tools to stay on top of everything and confidently handle your freshman year. You are welcomed to bring a pen and/or highlighter to note information that you might find helpful. When I came through SPIN as an incoming student, I was constantly engaged in the information sessions for two reasons. One, I was terrified of not knowing what to do once I was away from home and responsible for my life, education, and success. Two, because my mom needed to know absolutely everything or I would never hear the end of it. So even if it is to please your parents, pay attention to the information provided at SPIN.
4. Wear comfortable attire.
I made this mistake on the first day of SPIN as a participating student. I tried to look cute, you know, make a good first impression on my peers. Wrong. Dress comfortably because the days are long and can become exhausting. Wear good walking shoes and something you’re comfortable walking, standing, and sitting in. Be ready for anything with this Louisiana weather. Check the weather in the morning and pack appropriately. I would also recommend bringing a jacket in your bag because some buildings on campus can be chilly.
5. Enjoy every second of becoming an LSU Tiger!
Lastly, have fun! You are going to be an LSU Tiger! The most amazing times of your life are ahead of you and this is just the beginning. Take in the beautiful oaks as you walk across campus, listen to the bell tower ring, visit Mike the Tiger, and embrace the passion that circulates around LSU. You are officially at the greatest place on earth, a place that you will soon call home.
Welcome to Tiger Nation and Geaux Tigers!
– By Natalie Burges
SPIN Orientation Leader
Are you a family member attending SPIN? Don’t think we forget about you! Here are a few tips from a former Parent Orientation Leader:
1. Be prepared to learn.
My favorite part of SPIN is that it is a collaborative effort across campus. Students and administrators from every department on campus will be there to welcome you to our tiger family. Be prepared to learn a lot of information about the resources that LSU has to make your student successful not only academically, but also professionally.
2. Be prepared to ask questions.
With all of the information that you will be receiving, comes plenty of questions. SPIN is a phenomenal time for you to ask any questions that you may already have, or think of during the program. One of the best resources for you will be your Parent/ Family Orientation Leader. These student leaders have been training for months to make sure that they are well equipped to answer your questions. I highly encourage you to not only ask them about the resources at LSU, but also what their experience is like as an LSU student. I guarantee you they will be more than happy to share their love and passion for LSU.
3. Be prepared to see what it means to be an LSU Tiger.
One of the unique things about SPIN is that this is a normal class week and work week for our students. Spring Invitational is our largest orientation program and it takes place during the school year. As a parent, you have the opportunity to see our campus and students in their natural environment. Our students are not only welcoming you to LSU, but they are going to class and participating in extra-curricular activities just as they would any other week.
4. Be prepared to watch your student transition to a young adult.
This is probably one of the most challenging parts of SPIN for parents. Just as you are learning a lot of information at SPIN, so is your student and it is now your student’s responsibility to implement what he/she is learning. As a parent/family member, it is important to remember this. As your student transitions to the University, it is crucial that you remain supportive of their independence and continue to provide them with the resources that they need to succeed. Visit LSU Parent & Family Programs for more information about the Family Association, Family Weekend, and other Family programs to help you become the best resource for your student.
– By Andrew Hall
LSU College of Engineering