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.

LSU4488-Commencement_Beth_small

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.

college

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.

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

Opting In for the Engineering Co-Op

Shane Harrington at an LSU football game.

Shane Harrington

My name is Shane Harrington and I am a junior chemical engineering student. I recently chose to accept a co-op with MAVERICK Technologies for the spring semester. I know that taking a co-op is always a tough decision for many engineering students. Leaving school to work in a whole new town while you watch your friends continue on through their academics is not an easy decision to make. The reason I accepted the co-op is because I felt that experience means a lot to employers, and to obtain a job in the industry upon graduation you need a great resume that sets you apart. What better way to gain practical experience than working with industry professionals for six months?

After the first three weeks working for MAVERICK in Pensacola, Fl I knew that my decision was the right one. I have learned more in three weeks than I could have ever imagined possible. I wish I was a sponge so that I could just absorb all the knowledge thrown my way. Working with a team of experienced engineers to solve real world problems has been extremely rewarding. Also taking what I have learned in my courses and applying that to real situations is a crazy feeling on its own.

I obtained this co-op by attending the career fair at LSU. I talked to several recruiters and then went through the interview process. If I had one piece of advice to give to a fellow student it would be to utilize the resources that LSU gives you and take advantage the great opportunities that are thrown you way. In the grand scheme of things, one extra year of college is nothing if it means a successful life and career after you graduate.

Geaux Tigers!

 By Shane Harrington
Chemical Engineering


The College of Engineering is proud to partner with the LSU Olinde Career Center to provide job opportunities for our students. We encourage all of our Engineering students to check out the resources that the LSU Olinde Career Center provides, including their upcoming career expos!

College of Engineering Networking Reception
February 11, 2015
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Location: Student Union Ballroom
This Pre-Expo Networking Reception allows employers participating in the Expo to visit with Engineering students in a more intimate setting than the Expo provides.

All Majors Career Expo
February 12, 2015
10:30am to 3:30pm
Location: PMAC
This event will be a one-day all majors career expo. The Engineering Expo will take place on the PMAC arena floor.

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