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Advice from Professors

James Oliver, art professor, chair  

I have several bits of advice: 

  1. Try to set a schedule and stick to it.  By this I mean go to class and schedule time to work on classes. Actively set yourself up to work ahead in classes and time management will be easier… 
  1. Get to know your advisor and professors and ask questions. It would not hurt to check in with both during office hours. They are here to guide you and know lots of campus resources available to students.  
  1. Engage as much as possible. The university has lots of opportunities if you choose to actively engage in them. These can be through your major, social groups, or things you never thought were possible. 

Christine Brodsky, assistant professor of biology 

Get to know your professors and instructors. We are here to help you succeed in our classes and achieve your goals. Introduce yourself during our office hours and tell us a little about yourself… Getting to know my students and mentoring them with their independent research projects is my favorite aspects of what I do! I’m always excited to get to know our incoming freshman! It’s never too early to get started preparing for your career… Talk to your advisors, make a game plan, look for internships (even as freshman), and ask questions… Put yourself out there – explore what PSU has to offer. Go to club meetings, explore places to eat around campus, introduce yourself to your classmates. Finding your niche will make your college experience memorable and you’ll make friends for life. 

John Franklin, associate professor of English 

My strongest advice for incoming freshman is to get to know your professors and instructors at PSU. Pitt State has a well-deserved reputation in the region for being student-friendly and that friendliness extends beyond the immediate classroom… I wish I had been advised to be more sociable. There are so many activities that we offer at PSU… I wish I had participated in more of these kinds of offerings my freshman year. Another bit of advice from me to freshmen is to pace yourself through a semester. This is not high school: you really need to have a good deal of self-managed energy at the end of the semester to complete your coursework. Try to take some time off one day a week to slow down a bit: walk, talk, write a letter by hand to a friend or family member, discover a special place on campus (I like both the inside and the outside of the Timmons Chapel) where you can remind yourself that you are important, that you are good enough, that you will endure, that you will finish the semester. 

Goldie Prelogarfamily and consumer sciences instructor 

My advice to freshman is to set up a budget.  Being away from home for the first time is both exhilarating and anxiety-inducing.  You don’t want to add “broke” to that list of adjectives.  Look at how much money you will have coming in to live off of – scholarships, on campus job, allowance from parents, etc. and figure out how much you will need to spend on food, going out, entertainment, etc. per week or per month.  Then stick to that budget.  You’ll thank yourself in the long run. 

Shawnee Hendershot, family and consumer sciences assistant professor 

The biggest piece of advice I have for new freshmen is don’t hesitate to ask questions. You’ll have many opportunities to meet with instructors, mentors, and advisors one-on-one. You won’t be able to remember all the new information thrown your way. It is likely that if you have a question, someone else has the exact same question, so speak up. I love it when students ask questions; it means they are really taking ownership of their education! 

Yaping Liu, mathematics professor 

Normally, I would say besides taking classes and trying to do well in them, get involved in school activities and the community. This is an important part of college experience. But with the pandemic still going strong, certainly one should practice social distancing and keep the health of yourself and others in mind. On the other hand, don’t let this stop you from making friends. Don’t allow this virus to keep you in your room all the time. Try your best to get involved and enjoy your time here. 

Cynthia Huffman, mathematics professor  

Get to know your professors and classmates.  Have a growth mindset and enhance/develop your love of learning. Understanding is more important than cramming, and it takes time and reflection and asking questions. Have fun, while at the same time taking care of yourself and making responsible choices. 

Raul Munguia, associate professor of music 

One of the biggest changes a freshman student will experience is the change from the comfortability of home to the dorms and also from the strict High School schedules to a very free and relax college one. Stay in touch with your love ones – they DO want to hear from you and also, be smart with your time management, especially your social one. And in times of socially distancing, do not attend crowded gatherings. 

David Hogard, Director of Academic Advising, Career Readiness & Enactus in the college of business  

Have an open mind and get outside of your comfort zone. This fall semester will, undoubtedly, be like no other and things are constantly changing so be ready! Make sure you attend ALL of your classes and start a line of communication with your instructors… Make friends in every one of your classes. Never stop doing this, you always need good friends in school! What you do outside the classroom can be just as important as what you do inside the classroom. Grades are obviously important but consider getting involved or finding a part-time job. You will eventually be looking for things to put on your resume. Make the most of your college experience and enjoy each and every day. You just graduated from high school and for most of you, those four years flew by. College is no different and your time at Pittsburg State will fly by just as fast or even faster. 

Julie Allison, psychology professor  

I think setting yourself up for success and accommodating your skills and your talents and your interests to what’s available on campus is really helpful… Honestly, the idea that you don’t have to go to class is just wrong even if it’s in Zoom. Make yourself known, get to know the instructor, go to class, take full advantage of the opportunities afforded to you. 

John Thompson, automotive technology department chair 

My advice is for freshman to know that their time at PSU will go even faster than high school so enjoy the experience. Their job is to go to class and their goal should be to earn a 3.0 GPA or better, but also balance that with having fun and enjoying their college experience. Be active in clubs or organizations on campus. It helps form life-long friendships, and employers find value in those experiences. They should also do at least one internship in their field of study because that really helps get a fulltime career upon graduation. 

Jason Reid, graphics and imaging technologies assistant professor 

As an American, these pandemic times are hard. But I wasn’t always an American. I was born in the Caribbean on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in January 2019. I moved to the US in 2007 to pursue an MFA degree at the University of Arkansas. Everything was new and different. A graduate assistantship allowed me to teach an art class while pursuing my degree. I remember during one lecture pronouncing the words ‘thumb nail sketch’ as ‘tum nail sketch’. My students were confused. Right there and then I realized I’d need to improve my American accent. The Trinidadian dialect generally leaves out the ‘th’ in word pronunciation. Adapting to my new normal as an international student in the US became a daily way of life for me. Today, I’m an Assistant Professor teaching web design in the Department of Graphics and Imaging Technologies at PSU. Adaptability requires a desire to change one’s way of life to survive in a new reality. This process is ongoing and demands the attitude of a learner. Be willing to adapt, learn, work hard, make friends, and be involved in campus life. 

Erin Jordan, construction instructor 

Utilize your time between classes to get homework done on campus. 

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