Join the Outstanding O-Team!

Hey first years!!

Deadlines for everything are coming hard and fast, but this is a deadline you’ll actually enjoy. Every year, the O-Team is put together to welcome the incoming first year students to SSU. The deadline to apply is April 28, 2017, and here’s why you should join our team.

The O-Team assists in coordinating and implementing events during the first week of the semester such as: first year students early move-in, First Year Day of Service, Convocation, and FYRE events. Here are some of the responsibilities:

  • Move-in early (for residential students) and attend mandatory training/team building (all O-Team members) on Wednesday, August 30.
  • Assist in helping first year Day of Service participants move-in on afternoon of Thursday, August 31.
  • Assist in coordinating and implementing the First Year Day of Service for all first year early move-in participants (beginning evening of Thursday August 31-end of day on Friday, September 1).
  • Serve as a volunteer during the annual Convocation for incoming class on Tuesday, September 5.
  • Read the FYRE (First Year Reading Experience) selection over the course of the summer and assist faculty/staff in facilitating a book discussion with an assigned group on Tuesday, September 5, 2017.
  • Serve as a resource for students regarding academic, campus services, activities, facilities, and other aspects of Salem State University
  • Work collaboratively with all members of the O-Team and FYE staff
  • Serve as a role model for first year students as well as other members of the O-Team and FYE staff
  • Represent Salem State University and First Year Experience accurately and positively

You must be available on the dates listed in order to volunteer.  In addition to responsibilities, there are some benefits too:

  • That warm fuzzy feeling that comes with making a first year student smile and feel welcome at their new university
  • A couple of truly stylish t-shirts as well as other O-Team swag
  • Early move-in to the residence halls and meals prior to classes starting
  • A resume-building experience and opportunity for a great reference as you apply for other jobs

These benefits are great, but as someone who was an O-Team member fro the past two years I can tell you that it’s honestly a life-changing experience. I’m passionate about helping others, and being part of the O-Team is a great way of doing that.

If you’ve been interested in getting involved with FYE, this is a great way to start! You can fin the application here.

If you’re looking for even more ways to get involved with FYE, check out FYM Stella’s blog on becoming a First Year Mentor!

Have an Outrageously Otherworldly week!

FYM Kaitlynn

How to Create the Perfect Schedule

Hello first-years!

As a second semester senior who will be graduating this May (woo!), I’ve perfected the schedule. I’m proud to say that I can make the perfect schedule time and time again, and I could probably help almost anyone make their perfect schedule… within reason. So, what are my secrets? Well, here you go.

1. Know Your Limits


This isn’t Mean Girls, the limit definitely exists. Whether that be you can’t function before 10 AM or after 1 PM, know what your limits are. If you need a break before every class, know that before you make your schedule. Don’t make yourself miserable. It’ll affect your attitude towards the class, your attendance, and ultimately your grades.

2. Plan Ahead

guy with a plan

Don’t be the Joker. Use Degree Tracker and the What-If Report to see exactly what classes you need to take. Go to your faculty advisor’s office hours with a couple classes in mind, that way when they say, “Don’t forget you need to meet this requirement” you can say that you’ve already taken a look, and you’re interested in this class or that class. For example, if you are in a BA (Bachelor’s of Arts) program, you’ll need to take a foreign language– coming to your advisor with one in mind could make the entire appointment a lot easier!

3. Listen to your Advisor


You may not like to hear this, but your advisor actually does know best. As long as they know your major and what goals you have, they can point you in the right direction. If you feel like they aren’t helping you to the best of someone’s ability, don’t worry! You can always change your advisor or see an advisor at the Center for Academic Excellence in the Berry Library and Learning Commons.

4. Talk to Mentors in your Major


If you don’t trust your advisor, talk to people who have been in your shoes not too long ago. I can tell you exactly what classes you’ll need to graduate within four years with your degree in English with any Education minor. Don’t have a mentor you can talk to? Don’t worry, give us a call at the First Year Experience office at (978) 542-2618 and ask if there are any First Year Mentors with your major! If not, we’ll do our best to get you a mentor who can help!

You can also email us at or stop right into our office in Meier Hall 100A! Good luck with registration! I believe in you!

-FYM Kaitlynn

It’s Time To Be Productive!!

Hey there, first-years!!

It’s that time in the semester. It’s almost mid-terms and you probably have a lot of work to do so… it’s time to be productive. So, let’s do this!

lets do this.gif

1. Make a To-Do List


At the beginning of your day, set up what you want to get done. Homework assignments? Essay outline? Clean your room? Eat? Put everything on the list, it feel so nice to cross everything off as you go. Even something as simple as “drink three cups of water before lunch” feels so satisfying when you cross it off!

2. Eliminate Distractions


Distractions kill all productivity. Limit yourself to using your phone at certain times. Maybe for five minutes every half an hour, or fifteen minutes every hour in one chunk of time. When you’re not using your phone, put it on silent. Don’t check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media until you’ve finished your current task! Don’t let distractions destroy your productivity!!

3. Set Goals


It’s hard to be productive without end-goals. Perhaps by the end of the day you’d like to catch up on all assignments for a specific class, or you want to finish an essay or midterm. Maybe you want your apartment to be squeaky clean by lunchtime, or you’d like to just feel fulfilled by the end of the day!



Multitasking is the second most common thing that kills productivity. It doesn’t work, no matter how good you think you are at multitasking. Even Meryl Streep can’t multitask like she thinks she can. Even Obama isn’t great at multitasking. All it does it split your focus between multiple activities, which isn’t good for anyone or anything!

5. Tackle the Most Important Tasks First!tackle.gif

Setting priority to important tasks is essential. This means that if you fall behind or if you didn’t really calculate how much time you have correctly, you’ll still get the important things done!

6. Treat Yo’ Self

treat yo self.gif

After hard work you deserve a reward. Treat yourself with something nice! Order out for dinner, have some candy, or even set an appointment to get your nails done! Treat. Yo. Self.

7. Work in 45 Minute Intervals


After 45 minutes, take a walk and recharge. Your brain uses more glucose than any other bodily activity. This is why in most clas activities usually last around this time. After 45 minutes or so, have a snack, take a walk, maybe even watch an episode of Bob’s Burger’s– trust me, we won’t judge you.

There you have it! 7 tips for being more productive now… get started and stop by the First Year Experience office if you need help! You can come to our office in Meier Hall 100A, call us at (978) 542 – 2618, or email us at!

Good luck!

-FYM Kaitlynn

5 Ways To Get Back on Track After the Snow Days

Hey First Years!

I hope you enjoyed your days off, be sure to thank Mother Nature for the extra days to relax! Now that we’re back to the daily grind, I’m sure some of you are falling a bit behind. It happens to the best of us, it’s just important to know what steps you should take to get yourself back on track!

  1. Plan

    battle-planSet up a plan to get everything done. If you have any overdue work, do that first and get it in as soon as possible if your professor accepts late work. Then work on assignments in order based on due date. You can do it!!

  2. Work, work, work

    work-work-workGet to work! Go to the library, start a study group, speak with your professor, sit down in bed and just get some homework and studying done. Once you start, it’ll be easier to finish. Starting is the hardest part!

  3. Pace yourself

    paceDon’t rush. If you need a break, take one. For ever half hour of studying/homework you should take a 5-10 minute break. Just think– when running a marathon you don’t except to sprint the entire time. In order to get everything done you need to make sure you’re eating and that you’re not too stressed out!

  4. Believe in yourself

    believe.gifThis is key! Without believing in yourself, you’ll never get your best work done. Remember: I believe in you.

  5. Get help

    help.gifIf you need it, schedule an appointment with a tutor for some help. Reach out to your professor. Go to the math lab, accounting lab, language lab, writing center, or anywhere else on campus to get the help you need to succeed. We’re all here to help you and we want to see you doing your best!

If you ever need anything, feel free to reach out to us at the First Year Experience office in Meier Hall 100A! You can call us at (978) 542-2618, or email us at

Have a great week!!

–FYM Kaitlynn

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Syllabus

Congrats! You survived your first week of Spring semester. You’re probably trying to figure out what to do next. A good start to figuring out what your semester will look like is to go through your syllabus. Your syllabus is your timeline for the semester, and it tells you exactly what you should expect out of each class.

You will either get your syllabus in person or it will be available online. Most times, if a professor gives you a syllabus in person they will also put it on their Canvas page or e-mail it to you. The front page of your syllabus might look something like this.


As you can see form this example, there are a couple important things. Boxed in red is the course name and number. This is essential– you don’t want to follow the wrong syllabus for your classes!! In blue is the semester and instructor. Pink is important course information, where the professor’s office is located, office hours, email address, sometimes even a phone number or a website. The orange box is the start of the mechanics of your syllabus! Every syllabus will include the description of the course and the course objectives.


Every syllabus should have the required text and supplies. Sometimes, this will be a long list, and sometimes there will be no required texts. In blue is the grading plan. Most professors will give you something like this which maps out exactly how to succeed in class. Then in green and purple, the professor went through and explained how to succeed.


Here you can find what to expect on the final exam, the attendance policy, and some general grading policies. The classroom rules of conduct can be found on most syllabi, and is essential to succeeding. You can see that there is no drawing in this class unless the professor says so, and when it is drawing time you can use radios with headphones. However, you cannot use any radios outside of drawing time.


This is the best part of the syllabus! You have suggestions for success and the tentative schedule. Most times, a schedule on a syllabus is subject to change. Professors don’t want to change their schedule but will if they need to. It could be a good idea to map out the semester in a planner. Write out the due dates and what’s due every class. Assignments, readings, drawings, or pre-labs can all be stressful if left for the last minute! I didn’t include the entire schedule, but most times this is where you can find your final exam date and time. If not, you can always look at the final exam schedule for Salem State!


Good luck this semester, and if you need help reading your syllabus reach out to us at FYE! We’re located in Meier Hall 100A, you can email us at or you can call us at (978)542-2618! 🙂


-FYM Kaitlynn

How To Make The Most Of Winter Break

Hey First Years!

Finals are coming, and after finals is the break we’ve been waiting for since September. Winter break. A whole month off from classes and school. A month to work, relax, and spend time with family and friends. So, how do you make the most of it? Don’t want it to go to waste? Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.


It’s time to celebrate!


I love to read, so every break I set a goal of how many books to read. There’s a genre for everyone, and if you’re not that into books read a couple magazines, newspapers, or even articles online!


Working over winter break can be great. Earn some money for the Spring semester! Yay!

Make something

No matter what your passions are, create something. Paint something, sculpt something, write something, create a piece of art. Spend some time doing something you love to do. During the semester it can be hard to do it sometimes, so now’s the perfect time!


Take time for yourself. The semester can be stressful and you want to prepare yourself for the Spring by relaxing and recharging!

Spend time with family and friends from home, especially since it’s hard to make plans during the semester, and overall, enjoy your break!!

FYM Kaitlynn

So You Think You Want To Change Your Major…

Hey First-Years!

I hope your semester is going well. Many of you are probably taking some interesting classing and general education courses, meaning you might be introducing yourself to some new subject areas you never thought of before. Which means that some of you may be finding a new passion, and may be thinking about changing your major.

First of all, that is totally okay.

You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do right now, and you don’t need to be 100% sure about what you want to study. After your first semester, you’ll have about 7 more semesters to finalize your decision and complete your degree. Ideally, you want to start thinking and make a decision by the end of your Sophomore year, but even after that there’s still time.

Personally, I have changed my major officially three times, and I changed it unofficially (meaning I wanted to change my major but changed my mind before completing the paperwork) another two times. I have changed my minor four times and my career path a whopping six times. Completely related to that, I will be graduating on time.

I finally locked in my major and minor last week. It is the Fall of my senior year and I just finally got my major and minor officially changed. I finally made my final decision on what I wanted to major and minor in last Spring. Spring of my Junior year I finally discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

For a while I had many people questioning my decisions, but when I found my passion and followed it, it was easier to block those people and focus on what I wanted.

I encourage you to discover some new topics and passions. Take some classes just for fun. If you’re interested in something, explore it. Now’s the time to be adventurous, and now is the time to follow your dreams.

If you want some help deciding on a major or if you just want someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to us in the First Year Experience office. We’re located in Meier Hall 100A. You can call us at (978) 542-2618, or email us at


Hope to see you soon, and I hope the rest of your semester is successful!

FYM Kaitlynn:)

Let’s Talk About The Electoral College Voting Process

Hey, first years!

We have been seeing a lot of confusion surrounding the latest election, more specifically the Electoral College. How does it work? What is the process?

The Electoral College is “made up 538 electors who cast votes to decide the President and Vice-President of the United States.” Here’s how it works. Citizens cast their vote and the Electoral College votes with the majority in 48 states.

In Nebraska and Maine, electoral votes are assigned by proportional representation. The winner of that state is given the votes of the two Senators, then the remaining electoral votes are given congressional district by congressional district. This means that both candidates could receive electoral votes from Nebraska and Maine, rather than the winner-take-all system in the other 48 states.

Now, what most people are probably thinking is how are the electors selected? This process varies from state to state. Sometimes there’s a vote by the party’s central committee. However, “electors are usually state-elected officials, party leaders, or people with a strong affiliation with the Presidential candidates.”

Most of the current conversation around the Electoral College right now is that they do not always have to vote for their party’s candidate. “27 states have laws on the books that require electors to vote for their party’s candidate if that candidate gets a majority of the state’s popular vote. In 24 states, no such laws apply, but common practice is for electors to vote for their party’s nominee.” So, what exactly does all that mean? It means that in 24 states, they do not need to vote for whoever wins the majority of votes. If someone does not vote with the majority in their state, they are called a Faithless Elector.

According to, there have been 157 Faithless Electors. 71 of the votes were changed because the original candidate died, three abstained, and 82 changed due to personal initiative.

There is a chance that no one gets a majority of Electoral College votes, and if this happens the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives.

As we have seen in the recent election, it is entirely possible for a candidate to win the popular vote and lose the electoral college vote. This also happened in 2000 to Al Gore.

For more information on the Electoral College, go here. There’s plenty of information out there, and it’s always good to stay educated! 🙂

Getting Involved

Hi, first years!

It’s not too late to get involved! You’re probably getting used to your schedule and wondering what to do with all your free time. But don’t fear! There are plenty of clubs on campus that are looking for new members throughout the entire semester!

Check Facebook pages and get in touch with friends to see what clubs and organizations are looking for new members! Joining clubs looks great on your resume and they’re fun!

FAB usually meets once a month and we always welcome new members! The Log is always looking for new writers and editors, and clubs like the Sci-Fi club host events pretty often. Check out the complete lists of clubs online!

Some clubs are academic based, some are sports based, and some are religious based. Some are just completely random, and it’s amazing. When I was a first year I didn’t want to get involved, but after trying a few clubs I found some that I really enjoyed!

In addition to on-campus clubs, try out some off-campus opportunities! Apply for a new job or start writing for an online magazine or social media platform, like Odyssey. Odyssey communities are always looking for new people to join their teams and write about the things they’re passionate about! Join a community today.

Rather than spending all your time watching Netflix (definitely continue to watch Netflix, just limit how much you watch!), try joining a new club and making some new friends.


How To Use The What-If Report

The What-If Report is a great way to see what your degree tracker would look like if you declared or changed your major or minor.

A What-If Report will give you a good look into if you could change your major, and what requirements you would still have to meet in order to obtain that degree.

To view your report, there are a few steps. First, log into Navigator. On the left-hand side, you’ll see your “Quick Links.”


You’ll want to click on “Full Menu”!


Then under “Full Menu,” click on “Academics.”


Followed by “View What-if Report.”


Now you’re at the What-If Report home screen! To create a new scenario, click on “Create New Report.”


When you scroll a bit you’ll see this screen. Select the area of study you are interested in along with the concentration. Protip: you can also select minors!


Once you already complete a What-If Report, you can view that exact report again without redoing it every time. Nifty, right?


Once you get further in your degree, this becomes more and more important. Discovering your passions and what minors you might want is hard, but the What-If report makes it easy! 🙂

If you need any help with this, feel free to reach out to the First Year Experience office! You can visit us in Meier Hall 100A, call us at (978) 542-2618, email us at or message us on Facebook!

Have a great semester!

-FYM Kaitlynn