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

 

Building Community at the LSU Engineering Residential College

Transitioning to college can be much easier when you live in a residential college.

A residential college is a place where freshmen of the same discipline live, study and work together under the same roof. The LSU College of Engineering Residential College (ERC), or North Hall, houses 350 students studying computer science, construction management, or engineering.

The LSU "ERC" or North Hall

The LSU “ERC” or North Hall

“The benefits of living in a residential college are countless. Students who choose to live within a residential college community have access to resources and events that other students simply aren’t privy to,” said Derek Calderara, residential life coordinator for the North Community.

Living in a residential college comes with many perks. Numerous classes, supplemental instruction sessions and professor office hours take place in the same building where students live.

ERC "Monday Mashup" Night

ERC “Monday Mashup” Night

On top of academic help, ERC students also build a sense of community by making friends outside of class.

“Community is the sound of friends kicking around a soccer ball in the courtyard. It’s the silence of a study room being shared between a dozen students, and it’s the vision of faculty, staff and students all sharing space in the dining halls on campus,” Calderara explained. “We are all part of the same LSU community.”

According to ERC Rector Mark Rabalais, students who live in the ERC are more likely to graduate on time compared to their peers who live elsewhere. Rabalais said that the combination of the ERC’s community and academic perks is what contributes to students’ higher graduation rates.

“I think a sense of community just adds to the sense of belonging somewhere and increases your chances of succeeding,” he said.

Students form relationships and friendships with their classmates in the ERC for different reasons.

“Students often come together naturally whether it’s due to common interests in the same video games or sports, or simply due to coursework. Students have bonded regularly in developing study scheduling that match up with the challenging schedule they face,” Calderara said. “Most of all I notice the overall optimism and enthusiasm that radiates from almost all of our students in the ERC. Everyone seems genuinely happy to be a part of the community here.”

– Contributed by Danielle Kelley,
College of Engineering communications intern

Gearing up for Move-In Day!

Updated 5/24/2017

This month’s post will serve as a go-to guide for getting ready for the fall semester! We’ll cover some basic topics like what to pack, tips for settling in, and some information about the Engineering Residential College for those of you who haven’t heard about it yet.

Packing

This can be an overwhelming process so don’t wait until the last minute! Start a list of the things you absolutely need to take with you and work your way up from there.

Resist the urge to bring everything you own with you! You probably won’t have the space in your dorm or apartment, let alone your car. Also, coordinate with your roommates ahead of time to see what they plan on bringing. There’s no need for you both to have a fridge, microwave, coffee-maker, etc.

If you’re coming from out-of-state, wait to buy your organizational items until you get here. For example, trying to haul down storage bins of all shapes and sizes, clothing hangers, etc. is just too much trouble. There are plenty of places around town for you to pick these things up – Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond to name a few.

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

What about packing for the weather? The best way to describe Louisiana weather: unpredictable. That being said you can generally expect it to be hot and humid your first couple of months here. Two must-haves – rain boots and a raincoat. When it rains, it pours!

If you’re from a cold-weather state, the weather is going to take some getting used to (imagine walking around in a sauna all day). The good news is that when it starts cooling off in the fall, the locals will be bundled up in the 60 degree weather and you’ll still be wearing shorts! So it all evens out.

You don’t need to bring all your fall and winter clothes with you initially, especially if you know you’ll be going home for Fall or Thanksgiving break. You can take the time to swap out clothes during the breaks once you’ve had a chance to see what the weather is like. Just bring a raincoat, and a few layer-able items like a sweatshirt and jacket for that unpredictable weather.

Click here for a more comprehensive list on what items to pack.

LSU also offers some cool things, like “MicroFridge Rentals” and a “Ship to Your Room” program. Check those out here.

Dorm/Residential College Life

If you’ve never had to share a room with a sibling before, the thought of sharing a space with a stranger can be downright terrifying. The good news is that you’re not alone and most likely your new roommate is equally concerned about the new living situation. Here are some ways to help ease your fears.

There's no need to freak out!

There’s no need to freak out!

Get to know your roommate ahead of time. Find them on Facebook, send them an email, do whatever makes you most comfortable and reach out to them. You don’t need to interview them and find out everything there is to know about their life and living habits, but just having a few conversations with this person will make them feel more like a friend and less like a stranger when you move in.

Get to know your other suite-mates or dorm-mates when you move in. If you’re not a very outgoing person, this can seem difficult. But start out by simply saying hello to people in the hallway and start up conversations when you can. Not only will you make some lasting friendships with many of these people, it’s also important from a safety standpoint for the people around you to know who you are. They are going to be your family for the next year – you want them to look out for you just as you should for them.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but be considerate and respectful of your roommate. Most likely, you’re not going to have the same sleep schedule, class schedule, and social schedule. Work out things like who showers when, and what’s a reasonable time for “lights out,” before they become an issue. Don’t be conflict avoidant – this will only make you more frustrated and angry as the problems persist. Be open and honest and make sure that your roommate knows that they can tell you if something is bothering them too. You don’t have to be best friends with this person, but you want this to be a pleasant experience for both of you.

This is one considerate roommate!

This is one considerate roommate!

LSU’s Residential Life has a “Living on Campus Handbook” with safety information, policies and procedures, services, and more. Be sure to read it and stay informed.

For all details associated with Move-In Day please head here. This website provides information on where to check in, directions, and more.

Engineering Residential College (ERC)

A residential college is a living-learning community, generally grouped together by academic interests or majors. LSU’s Engineering Residential College (ERC) is housed in the North Hall and opened in Fall 2012. More than 350 first-year students with a declared major in the College of Engineering enjoy this living-learning community on the west side of campus.

Interior of ERC

Living in the ERC is a great way to meet more people within the college, receive additional instruction in math, physics, and chemistry, and connect with industry partners through corporate sponsored events aimed at exposing students to internship and career development opportunities.

If you’re a prospective student who may be interested in living in the ERC, be sure to check out this website which includes all the benefits of living there as well as the eligibility requirements.

— Contributed by Laura J. Odenwald, LSU alumna and current College of Engineering assistant manager of digital marketing