Tips for new or returning students

Going to a school like Georgia State can be overwhelming, especially during the first few weeks of a new semester. My journey began three years ago, as transfer student, and I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

Thinking back on my college experience I’ve learned a few valuable lessons about find the quickest routes to class, how to get involved on campus, and what to expect from professors. Overall, college taught me the importance of grasping new opportunities.  

Lost in the City

I was completely lost, while looking for my classes, and during the first week if you don’t come to campus early enough then parking is impossible. It took me at least half a semester to figure out how to navigate the campus and the city.

Tip 1: Locate your classes before the semester begins. Print out your schedule, find some parking and explore the campus. At Georgia State there are multiple ways to get to one place. For the first week, the hallways and streets will be flooded with students, and if you’ve never been on campus it might be impossible to find classes without being late.

Tip 2: Parking is another hotmess. Georgia State is a commuter school, so there are students from all over the city coming to class everyday. If you have classes later in the day, try to leave a little early to find parking. There are multiple parking decks located around campus, and they fill up fast. If you are trying to save some money take Marta or try parking at the Turner Field Blue Lot. A shuttle bus will come and drop you off by Langdale.  

Grades vs. Expectations

Going to college and making passing grades is not hard. The complicated part is time management, and working around procrastination. I initially transferred to Georgia State after taking my core classes at a smaller university. When I officially declared a major, during my Junior year, I was able to focus on classes that were geared towards my program of study. Being optimistic helps. Find something that motivates you and work towards that goal.

Tip 1: Forming a relationship and networking is very critical. While deciding on a major speak to other students about their experience in that program. Remember that your professors are valuable resources. Most of them areskilled professionals with plenty of experience in their field.

Tip 2: If you’re struggling in a class, take the time to speak with the instructor or professor. Waiting until the last minute will affect your grade. Also, don’t wait until the last minute to complete assignments. The work load will pile up and you will spend more time playing catch up.

The campus life

There are hundreds of organizations and clubs on campus. Being involved allows you to meet people who share similar interests. I’m currently a Journalism student, and when I started looking for a campus activity I decided to join The Signal, which was a great opportunity because it reinforced learning material provided in class.

Tip 1: When you’re walking through Library Plaza, take the time to stop at some of the tables and booths that are operated by student organization. Working with an organization is beneficial to your resume, and it helps increase skill or experience.

Tip 2:  Throughout the semester there will be plenty of organized events for students, so try to attend a few that peak your interest. To gain the full Georgia State experience you have to go to at least one Pantherpalooza, sports game, or Homecoming block party.

Making a transition

College is not just about making good grades and going to class. It’s an important time to try new things, get active and network with other students or professionals within your major. I transferred to Georgia State, because I wanted the advantage stepping outside my comfort zone.

The Signal enhanced my learning experience by preparing me for professional work environments. As a staff reporter, I’ve met people from all walks of life, who were willing to share their stories and experiences as a way to unify the community, expand art culture, increase holistic health and contribute to Atlanta’s diversity.

My next journey will start on Dec. 14, at the 2016 Fall Commencement Ceremony. After graduation, I’ll complete an international internship in Nairobi, Kenya for the Sameera Gokal Foundation, nonprofit organization that enhances journalism education in developing countries. As I prepare for my last week of finals, I’m grateful for all the opportunities and people that I’ve met along the way.

Final Tip: Appreciate every memory that you gain in college, good or bad, each memory molds you into the person that will enter the “real world” at the end. Take time and reflect when you can, don’t let experiences simply pass by unacknowledged.

Side Bar

D.I.Y Graduation Cap

Graduation is literally a week away. Get excited for commencement with a DIY tutorial for customizing your graduation cap. Decorating graduation caps is a new trend amongst students as a way to stand out, especially when adding an amusing or unique flare to the customary attire.

Popular decorating ideas include bedazzling the cap with colorful rhinestones, philosophical Disney quotes, funny social media memes, word puns and more. This trend might stick around, so if you’re in the need for some awesome ideas, social media is a great place to start.

If you’re looking for inspiration check out Pinterest, Tumblr or any other social media outlets. After brainstorming on a concept you can begin gathering material.

For this tutorial you will need.

  • Graduation cap
  • Mod Podge Gloss Luster Glue
  • White color pencil
  • Printed images
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun or E6000 craft glue
  • Acrylic paint and brush
  • (optional: Spray Paint, Glitter, Rhinestones)

Step 1: Use the white coloring pencil to trace and mark where you might want words or images.

Step 2: Take the printed images and cover them in a few layers of the glossy Mod Podge glue. Use the scissors to neatly cut them out and glue them onto the cap.

Step 3: Use the acrylic paint to trace over the words. You can use any color and it will make the words stand out (optional: you can substitute the acrylic with spray paint and use stencil for precise lines).

Step 4: Any additional decorations such as glitter or rhinestones can be adhered to the cap using E6000 glue or a glue gun.

Step 5: Place the cap on a flat surface and let it dry completely.

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