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.

Studying Engineering Abroad

LSU’s Encounter Engineering in Europe (E3) is a summer study abroad program in Germany, giving students hands-on learning experiences and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. This year’s 2015 cohort has created a blog to share their stories. Here are just a couple below, but you can check out their full blog at http://geauxe3.weebly.com/!

The beautiful city of Heidelberg

The beautiful city of Heidelberg

Welcome to BASF! posted June 26, 2015

Today started off earlier than normal. We had to be ready and out the door by 8:10. BASF had sent a bus to take us up from our hostel to their plant in Ludwigshafen, about 30 minutes away. The bus that was sent was a gift of its own- we didn’t have to walk a mile to the train station or take a public bus. But best of all, the bus had AIR CONDTIONING! For some reason, it seems Germans just don’t believe in air conditioning, I guess it’s not efficient enough for them. Anyway, we arrived at the plant’s front gate and Dr. Jessel, the head of recruiting, met us. From the front gate, I could see what I was really getting myself into. The shear size of some of the equipment was a little hard to believe. With our jaws still gaped open, Dr. Jessel welcomed us and handed out our guest passes for the plant. She began with saying that “last night was the fun, but today is the work.” I blew it off, thinking that we wouldn’t really do anything that hard. Man, was I wrong.

We were brought into a conference room where we were given water, juice, and cookies. We took our seats, and Dr. Jessel began her presentation on BASF and the company’s history. She gave us some of the statistics on the plant and mentioned that it is the world’s largest chemical plant run by a single company. She also discussed the products BASF manufactures such as polyethylenes, plastics, coatings, and paints. After her presentation, a process engineer named Stefan Höser, gave us a presentation on Advanced Process Control. He talked about the role he plays in maintaining constant and efficient production while avoiding problems like overheating or extreme pressures. We were then led to another building where we met Dr. Nübling, the butandiol plant manager.

He gave us a presentation on the plant then we got suited up in safety glasses and hard hats to tour the plant. He guided us up to the top of some of the platforms around 5 stories high, and we had to weave our way through the metal jungle of pipes, gages, and valves. We got some wonderful views of the plant, which the size of a small city. We later went to eat in one of the 8 canteens/restaurants on site and found out that the plant also has apartments, railways, roads, showers, laundromats, and 15,000 bikes. After we ate, we finished the day with a bus tour of the rest of the site and the BASF museum. It was an incredible experience to see such a large scale production in full force and get to know the people involved in the process. If the next three years go as planned, I can only wish to be a part of something as spectacular.

 – Darrin Paul, Chemical Engineering Sophomore

Sunny Side Up: posted June 30, 2015

My stomach rumbled as I wandered into the dining room for breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the hotel had hot, fresh eggs! After a quick breakfast, I enjoyed the rest of my morning journaling on the terrace, with a breathtaking view of the Alps ahead of me. I met up with the group for class at 9 a.m. in one of the large conference rooms on the second floor. Bart began with a short German lesson consisting of laundry terms, so we could wash clothes at the hotel. We only had one mishap: the spin cycle was turned off for the first load, forcing Darrin to wring out his wet clothes and hang them up to dry.

Afterward, we formed groups of two to pull together the most important information from our BASF and Scheffel’s Brewery tours. The groups presented their findings and led the class in discussion. This exercise was followed by a Chase’s presentation on biodegradable plastics, which related to BASF’s Ecoflex.

We were then dismissed to work on our projects due this evening. My class, HNRS 2020, is writing individual cultural analysis papers, while the IE 4785 class is working on group video presentations on various forms of renewable energy. After lunch, class resumed at 1:30, and Stacey presented her research on the chemical instability of beer. We continued working on our projects well into the afternoon, and thankfully, the eggs we had for breakfast gave us enough fuel to finish our projects in time.

– Amy Olson, Civil Engineering Senior

12 Tips to Help you Prepare for Orientation

Attending orientation at LSU is an exciting step in your college career! You will become acquainted with campus, meet lots of new people, learn about all the resources LSU has to offer, and schedule your first semester classes!

It can also be a bit overwhelming if you don’t prepare properly. To help you out, LSU Admissions created a list of “12 Things You Should Do to Prepare for Orientation.” Their Tiger Tips blog post was written by Janae Theriot.

Orientation Leaders

LSU Orientation leaders and new students in the College of Engineering

 

Research in the Real World

The LSU Honors College did a Q+A with one of our biological engineering graduates, Linda Cross, about her Honors Thesis research. For the original article by Liz Billet, please click here.

Tell me a little bit about you—where you’re from, how you ended up at LSU…

I’m from Ruston, Louisiana. LSU was always on the radar—I had some siblings who came to LSU, and I also have a sister who lives in Baton Rouge. Georgia Tech was my competitor with LSU. I got into their Honors program, I got into the Honors College [at LSU] and the deciding factor was money. LSU’s in-state, so that’s great.

Coming to Baton Rouge was a big change, population-wise. But I really found a place within the Honors College. It’s a small community within LSU.

Was there anything that surprised you about the Honors College when you got here? Anything that you weren’t expecting?

I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what to expect with the classes, the rigor of the curriculum, what writing a thesis would actually entail. At the beginning, I had to get used to asking for help—get used to interacting with faculty and be able to go to them for assistance with Honors classes. I wasn’t used to not getting the material right away.

Did you find that faculty were receptive to you coming to them?

Definitely. They always want to see that you’re interested in the material and that you’re willing to learn it, and then they’ll help you from there—to teach you, at the beginning, how to learn it, and then from there, the specifics of their subjects.

So how did you get involved in your research?

I started in Biochemistry, but I said to myself, I really want a major that I can be more hands on with, that will apply more clearly in the real world. So I switched to Biological Engineering. I do research on nanoparticle biodistribution. I was planning on writing an Honors Thesis, but I didn’t know exactly what to do it on. I thought, maybe I’ll do it on my research; maybe I’ll do it on my senior design project. [All College of Engineering majors require a design project in the senior year.]

I ended up on an interdisciplinary senior design project—my teammates are mechanical engineers. One of my teammates, Amy Pinner, proposed the project last spring: to design an automated pressure sore reducer for wheelchair leg rests. I was interested in it, so I said, hey, I’ll be on the team. And when I got on to the team, I said, “I could really do more to improve the project through an Honors Thesis.”

Linda and her teammates

Linda and her teammates

Can you explain that to me—an automated pressure sore reducer?

Well, pressure sores result from, usually, over-bony prominences where you have a lot of pressure over a period of time. People with limited mobility don’t have the sensory perception to perceive that pain or discomfort over those areas, and they don’t have the motor control to reposition themselves. So our project worked to redistribute the legs, redistribute pressure, for them.

In the fall [of 2013] we were out in the community. We spoke with mobility-limited patients and wheelchair manufacturers and they gave us feedback on what they would want in the device—what they would actually use, what they have a need for. We also spoke with John Figarola at the National Hansen’s Disease Program Center in Baton Rouge, and they showed us the current technology and what’s being done about pressure sores right now. There’s the automated tilt-in-space wheelchair, which—the entire wheelchair, pretty much every part of it, moves up and down. But for a manual wheelchair there’s not automated technology for the feet. All of the technology revolves around the seat of the wheelchair—mobility limited patients have the technology to move the seat of their wheelchair, but they don’t have anything that moves their feet. So we tried to apply some of those concepts to our project, but with the leg rests. This spring we’ve been building and testing our prototype—with paraplegic and quadriplegic patients at the Hansen’s Disease Program and the Baton Rouge Clinic—to make sure it works.

Wheelchair Design with Pressure Sore Reducer

Wheelchair Design with Pressure Sore Reducer

I saw your presentation at the Honors College Undergraduate Research Colloquium—it seems like you were successful in reducing pressure at those points, but not temperature.

No, our prototype did not decrease temperature. We’re thinking that may correlate with blood flow. The right foot, which was our control foot, did decrease in temperature—we’re thinking that it lost some blood flow, and the left foot, which our prototype was moving, kept the blood flow.

Will you work on this project again in the future, do you think?

Yes—we were selected as one of the finalists for the ASME [American Society of Mechanical Engineers] Undergraduate Design Competition. We’re presenting our prototype at the 7th World Congress of Biomechanics this July. For the conference we may do some additional testing. We have a list of future changes we’d like to make—like implementing a feedback system based on the sensors—and our pad was not as breathable as we would like. There are definitely still improvements to be made.

What else were you involved in during your time at LSU? I know you’re the outgoing president of the Honors College Student Council…

Yes. I originally got involved in a lot through the Honors College Student Organization Fair—I signed up on all the e-mail lists, thought “Oh, I’ll get involved in everything!”—I was a freshman—and when I went to the Honors College Student Council meetings—it was just very friendly and was a very close-knit community. They were very accepting of new members. And their activities were fun and engaging. So I continued in that. I was elected vice president of service [when I was a junior] and then this past year served as president.

What kind of service projects has HCSC organized?

We’ve done service with Best Buddies—we did a kickball tournament with them—and we’ve worked with the Baton Rouge Homeless Youth Program—we did their 2K Walk for Kicks, which raises shoes for homeless children in East Baton Rouge schools. This year we did a local playground build and we organized our first large scale project at the Burden Center, where we worked on reforestation projects.

The skills that I’ve learned through these positions—they’ve taught me a lot about organization, and communication, having to go between peers and faculty and staff. They will definitely apply, wherever I go.

Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans for the future?

I’ve accepted a job at the Tulane Cancer Center in New Orleans as a Cancer Registry Assistant. I will be providing support for tumor boards—multidisciplinary cancer conferences [concerning patient treatment]. I’m hoping this work will provide me with clinical experience and the opportunity to follow cases and interact with doctors. So I’ll do that for the next year while I apply for medical school—I want to become a doctor. Right now I’m thinking something in orthopedics, because of my biological engineering background. I want to be directly involved in serving people.

What advice would you give to our incoming LSU Honors College freshmen?

Get involved! The Honors College is a community—it’s very easy to meet new people with similar interests, and goals, and ambitions, just by getting involved in the organizations, or in Laville [the Honors College residence hall]. They’ve developed a lot of programs and events for Laville, and it’s very convenient for getting to classes, or for forming study groups for those Honors classes. Because they are a challenge! It is extra work, but it’s challenging work that helps you develop as a person, both academically and professionally.

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