It is the end of the semester and with a couple days of classes left and finals coming up it is time to say goodbye. As you reflect on your first year at SSU, you may have realized that you are not the same person you were when you entered in the fall or the spring. You may have changed your major (exactly what I did my freshmen year), made new friends, stopped being friends with old friends, found a new passion, got bored of an old passion, and many more.
As you say goodbye to your first year and enter your second year at SSU it is important to give a special thanks to those who helped you get here:
- Your professors: I know personally without some of my professors I would not have had such a great freshmen year and even sophomore year right now. I know a lot of you have made connections with professors in ways you may have never imagined on the first day of class. It is important to reach out to them and let them know how much you appreciate everything they’ve done for you this semester or school year.
- Staff: The staff at SSU does not get the recognition they deserve. While many are behind the scene, they are really pushing for student success. Offices like First Year Experience, Center for Academic Excellence, the Writing Center, Mapworks, and many more exist solely to aid you in your college experience. Those tough papers and exams that you didn’t know how you were going to go through that the SSU staff helped you through deserve a special thanks. Looking back now you may have realized that you’ve also built relationships with various departments and being able to have supporters in various places makes getting a job out of college easier because it’s all about who you know.
- Your peers: Those late nights at the library with people who a year ago did not even know you existed deserve a special thanks as well. You have probably made some meaningful friendships this year or this semester believe it or not. I know personally, a lot of the friends I’ve made here at SSU, especially freshmen year have been my biggest supporters in dealing with tough times on campus.
- Yourself: While all of these people deserve a special thanks a lot of these things wouldn’t of happened if it wasn’t for your own personal drive and ambition. Being away from home is scary. You were just in high school being told what to do and here you are on a college campus without your family basically trying to figure out your whole life. You owe it to yourself for getting through all of the mental breakdowns and the times where you thought succeeding at SSU would be impossible. You owe it to yourself for making it out in the end because a lot of people gave up. It’s only going to get tougher from here, so you being able to conquer freshmen year deserves a big thanks.
With your first year at SSU coming to an end by now with the help of the First Year Experience office and all of the other resources on campus you should be well on your way to a successful sophomore year.
As a current sophomore, the transition from freshman year to sophomore year was ridiculously hard. The workload piled up, classes became more rigorous, I got more involved on campus, and I had to learn how to take responsibility for my actions and put my education first because the first year experience office was no longer calling for check ins and making sure I stayed on task. While my freshman year was stress-free, sophomore year has proven to be the exact opposite. Here are some tips on how to handle the transition from freshman year to sophomore year:
- The classes will get harder that is without a doubt! but remember that just because FYE isn’t reaching out to you anymore does not mean that all of our campus resources are unavailable. You can always request a tutor, go to office hours, talk to your advisor, peers, career services and more. No one is assuming that you have all the answers. Continue to reach out for help!
- Join extracurriculars. I can’t stress enough about the workload especially since you will be taking actual classes in your major instead of just the general education classes, so make sure you join a club, a sport, or something not academic related. Looking forward to a club that you’re passionate about once or twice a week can make a difference in your sophomore year.
- By the end of sophomore year it is expected that you will declare your major. That may sound scary right now especially if you’re undeclared or you’ve come to the realization that the major you came in with isn’t what you want to study at all but again your resources are not limited! There are plenty of people on campus who can help you figure all of that out as long as you take the initiative to ask for help.
- DO NOT let the Sophomore slump get to you. A lot of students slack their sophomore year because they believe they can play catch up junior and senior year. Don’t become one of those students. Sophomore year can either make you or break you and if you do not take it seriously this can lead to repeating classes, staying at SSU longer than you need to which means spending more money.
April is coming up and we all know April can be one of the most stressful months second semester especially with final papers, projects, figuring out summer plans, and making sure you end the semester on a good note. Here are some tips on staying organized and getting ahead for the upcoming month.
- Make sure you have everything you need to register for the fall semester at the end of this month. If you miss the deadline you will have to pay a fee in order to register for classes and by then the classes you want might not be available.
- If you are planning on living on campus next semester be on the lookout for housing emails for your lottery number. If you are planning on living in a suite in Viking make sure you and your suite-mates are on the same page so that when you all are choosing your site there aren’t any complications
- Looking for a summer job or internship? Talk to your advisor or go to career services for summer opportunities. Waiting last minute can be stressful with final exams coming up but securing a job months prior will take a lot of stress off your shoulders.
- Looking for a job for next semester? Talk to the faculty in your department for any open positions and of course always check the student employment page on the SSU website.
While April can be a very stressful month there are still many ways to support your peers this month as they express their arts. This gives you the opportunity to take a break from all of the studying and late nights at the library.
- UAT’S SHOW (SECTION 7)- March 31st & April 1st at the YMCA in Downtown, Salem
- UAT’S BATTLE OF THE ARTS- April 6, 2017 in Vets Hall in ECC
- MSA’S KOMPA NIGHT- April 27, 2017 in Underground in ECC
- MSA’S FASHION SHOW- April 28, 2017 in South Campus gym
(Flyers will start coming out soon) !
With the semester flying by here are a few things to keep in mind before going off for Spring break:
- Housing deposits for the next academic year are due March 1. You have a few days to secure your spot so you’re not stressing out when we come back from break.
- Advising period is approaching! If you have not met with your advisor at all this semester now would be a great the time to gather all of your questions to make sure you’re on track- go over your degree tracker and start putting your classes in your shopping cart.
- Academic Works Scholarship application is due March 1. There’s only a couple more days left to fill out the application which can be found on the navigator website.
- MIDTERMS are coming up! Some people might have them before the break and others after but either way now is not the time to slack. You want to keep your grades up so you’re not stressing over the break about your exams.
- Ask for help if you’re struggling in your classes. Do not let all of your work pile up for the second half of the semester…it will be too late by then.
By now, you all should be situated with classes and getting to know your professors . The course load may be starting to get a little hectic but here are a few big things that are coming up this semester be on the lookout for:
- As you already know the MAPWORKS survey is now open! Not only can you win great prizes in the 15 days of giveaway, but if you completed the survey both last semester and this semester you will be eligible to apply for the MAPWORKS scholarship. I received this scholarship in the fall and it was a huge help when it came to buying textbooks, so keep that in mind if you need some extra financial help for next semester.
- Housing deposits are due on March 1, 2017 on the navigator website. If you want to secure a spot on campus for next semester I would suggest that you get to it right away because waiting last minute will only hurt you. You should also keep in mind who you want to room with next semester, especially if you want to live in Viking, which is suite style, so that you also avoid problems and complications.
- If you are looking for something fun and artsy to do with your free time Urban Arts Theater (UAT) is putting on a play in March and they are looking for performers (dancers, poets, singers…) to share their art in the play. If this is something you are interested in don’t hesitate to contact me for more information. I can be found in the FYE office Mondays 9-12 and Fridays 2:30-5:30.
Coming back from break and jumping right into reviewing syllabi, looking for an on campus job, and getting back into the school mentality can be difficult. We have to adjust back into waking up for those 8ams and setting new goals for the semester. While all of that can be really overwhelming your peers here at SSU, specifically Urban Arts Theater, which I am a part of, have organized a series of events to showcase their talents foryou.
If you like singing, dancing, poetry, theater, and step, UAT is providing all forms of these arts through FOUR different events this semester!
On February 16, 2017, UAT will be hosting an Open Mic to kick off the semester. Come out and support your SSU peers as they show you why their art form is their voice.
On March 31, 2017, UAT will be hosting a show (a play). The play will involve the many different art forms and will tell a compelling story. Bring your friends! Bring yourself! Bring your family a UAT take on the stage.
On April 6, 2017, UAT will be hosting their biggest and most popular event, “Battle of the Arts”. This is when all five art forms compete against each other to show which one is the best! As a part of Spoken Word, we will not disappoint!
On April 26, 2017, UAT will be trying something new! We are hosting an UrbanARTistry event where we invite different schools to SSU to showcase their different art forms to us.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ALL OF THESE EVENTS! FLYERS WILL START COMING OUT SOON!
While we are all anticipating going back home or going on vacation for winter break. There are still several things we all need to take care of before we go on this month long break without homework, classes, and school responsibilities:
- Make sure that you’ve turned in all of your assignments for each class. At this point, a lot of professor may not even take makeup work, but if they do, try to get everything done, so that all you have left is your final before you say goodbye to your fall semester classes.
- Make sure that everything is up to date with the Navigation center for next semester. If your scholarship doesn’t appear on your spring bill, or your grant/loan did not go through, contact whoever you have to so you’re not stressing during vacation or when the semester starts.
- If you are leaving your dorm room or the school notify Res life sooner than later so that they can get you situated.
- If you want to secure a work position for next semester, you can apply right now instead of waiting for the semester to start, so that you don’t have to worry about that.
- Meeting/emailing your advisor one last time to make sure that your schedule will keep you on the right track, or to add any last minute additions will also be helpful.
Finals Week is coming up and unlike in High School, these exams can determine whether or not you can stay with the major of your choice. Finals week can be very stressful with piles of assignments due: paper, projects, presentations…you NAME IT!
Here are a five tips on how to survive Finals Week:
- Do not leave everything for last minute. At this point you should know when your final exam is scheduled for (For some it was given on the first day of class on the syllabus)…Study Guides are coming out for your exams, paper guidelines, project guidelines, whichever, and waiting last minute only causes more stress
- Take READING DAY SERIOUSLY! Reading Day is the day after the last day of classes. While you may think this is a relief and the time to get together with friends and stay up all night, you should take advantage of the library and catching up on your studying…Again, cramming and waiting last minute only causes more stress
- Join study groups! Studying alone can be tedious and boring, so reach out to people in your classes or close friends and motivate each other. Request one of the rooms in the Library and take advantage of the dry erase walls and resources.
- Make sure all of your things are up to date on your part so on the last day of class you’re not chasing your prof for clarification on your grades. They’ll probably have 50 other students sending them emails about their grades as well.
- Remember the importance of self-care. Studying for finals is very important but you should also keep in mind that keeping a healthy mental and physical state is important as well. Reach out for help instead of taking on all of this pressure on your own.
Come out and support STEP AFRIKA TODAY AT 8PM in VETS HALL. The professional step and dance group have been travelling all around the world and putting on shows for an array of audiences and have chosen to come to SSU!
They will be holding a “meet & greet” prior to their performance then will be showcasing their art to SSU!
Art is a great way to express your feelings and emotions. Like our Urban Arts Theater (UAT) group on campus, Step Afrika uses their art as their heartbeat.
Get ready to be inspired and entertained by this group.
By now, you all should have met with your advisors to talk about what classes you should take for next semester and so on. Your degree tracker is a great way to plan out your path at SSU. Here are three things to keep in mind when choosing the right classes:
- Do not overload yourself. While it is ideal to graduate with your graduating class, you need to understand that everyone is on a different path and that while your roommate might be ahead of you in her education, it does not mean you should overbook yourself to play catch up. Even if you have room in your schedule for that extra 6th class, you should keep in mind that you might need that extra time to study and for some “you-time”.
- The workload gets harder and harder each semester, so pace yourself and do not try to take all classes in your major at once. For example, I am an English major with a Secondary Education minor, this semester I am currently taking 3 English classes, 1 SOC class, 1 Education class and 1 PSY class. The SOC and PSY classes allow me to fulfill both my major/general education requirements and also allows me to explore different fields. When given the opportunity, you should always try to take classes outside of your major, so that you’re not stuck taking five BIO classes.
- A lot of classes require prerequisites and will not allow you to take the class unless you take those prereq’s. So, get a jumpstart on those prereq’s, so that you will be able to take the classes that you need to take for your major.