I would be a failure managing my time between academics and extracurricular activities.
Going into college, I was concerned that I wouldn't do well due to not managing my time wisely. My friends from high school who had already experienced their freshman year would always complain about not having any time for a social life or academics. On Twitter, there would be posts such as, “College: Social life, sleep, and academics. Pick two.” How would I balance it all? I expected to do school work all the time and end up missing the college experience. The key to managing your time wisely in college is to eliminate procrastination tools such as Twitter, Netflix, and Facebook. You'll have a lot of time on your hands due to only having a couple of classes in a day. Trust me when I say, it's easy to watch a whole season of How I Met Your Mother on a day off. Instead, choose two to three extra-curricular activities to get involved in. I chose to join Best Buddies, intramural basketball, and began to work as a tutor at CLAS. Writing down what homework needs to be done and when you have activities in a planner only helps you. You'll be able to know when you can do homework or spend time with friends. Most importantly, do not wait until the last minute to write a paper or do homework. In high school, you may have been able to pull off doing homework while your teacher was taking attendance. It's just not plausible in college.
I would be partying every night in Boston.
Going to college meant freedom, including freedom to party. I thought I would be out in the city every night going to house parties or attending events in the city. That was far from reality. Yes, I did go to parties and went out dancing with friends but those were minor occurrences. Personally, I didn’t want to party every night. Constant city living can led to temptations but as an adult, you have to set boundaries. I’m not advising you to stay in your dorm every night, allow yourself to have nights out but make sure you’re not over doing it. Make sure you party in moderation. Personally, going out a few times a month turned out to be a stress reliever. “Going out” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to party, you can go ice skating at Frog Pond, get dinner at a fancy restaurant, explore the city, go to a sporting event, etc.
Finals week would be the death of me.
College finals seem to be daunting. During finals week, people on Twitter and Facebook constantly complain and make finals seem like the end of the world. I was expecting to be in the library all day studying and loading up of caffeinated beverages. However, I found finals to be less difficult than what peers make them out to be. I'm not too fond of studying but I found myself making study guides and flash cards. The key to studying is not to overwhelm yourself or stress out. Don't try to cram every bit of information taught during the semester in one night. It’s not plausible. Make sure to eat well and get rest. Take advantage of programs that CLAS offer such as iStudy. iStudy has snacks, tutoring, therapy dogs and much more to make you relax. Keep reminding yourself that after all the hard work, you'll get a break from school and will be able to binge watch a show on Netflix.
My name is Mame Daour Diagne, I am a transfer student from the Suffolk University Dakar Campus located in the Westernmost part of Africa: Senegal. I am a senior candidate for a BSBA in Finance with a minor in Economics. Being an international student, I faced a lot of challenges and experienced a lot of situations that I would not want to see other international students get themselves into. For that reason, I think that writing tips and recommendations for upcoming international, as well as domestic, students will be a good way to help freshmen get the most out of their journey at Suffolk University.
1. International students services website (Home Away from Home Program)
I wish I had known about the Home Away from Home program when I first got to Suffolk. This way, I would have learned about different clubs and organizations in my freshman year and maybe would have been more than just a treasurer of one club. In addition, my first year was the hardest for me. Indeed, being away from family and friends is a new and challenging experience for any teenager and sometimes I wished I could open up to someone who would understand me, someone I could trust and would be able to see when something was going wrong. Sometimes, we need a little bit of counseling (which is offered by the University) to realize how strong we are. This is an opportunity for international students to meet new people, make friends, apply to new positions in clubs, and develop their communication, teamwork and leadership skills.
To learn more about the Home Away Home Program, please click on the link below.
2. Suffolk Chat
If you want to meet new people, ask questions, or simply chat with fellow students from Suffolk University, SuffolkChat is what you are looking for. You have the ability to create an account and talk to students, representatives of the university, alumni, etc.
If you would like to learn more and participate, please click on the link below to create a username and password: https://suffolkug.askadmissions.net/groupchat/LandingPage.aspx
3. Center for Learning and Academic Success
CLAS is a great resource for any Suffolk student. At CLAS, students have the ability to tackle course material by making appointments with tutors or going to informal study group sessions and seeking help from their peers. It is a way of learning the material from students who have already been in the class, and have already excelled in the subject and passed the class with high scores. This also means that students will be exposed to strategies and tips from successful students with math, writing, business, science, arts and humanities, and NESAD classes. In addition, CLAS offers students the opportunity to plan ahead, make SMART goals, and interact with an academic coach to organize themselves, achieve their goals and get the most out of their journey at Suffolk University.
Finally, CLAS provides an opportunity for students to become role models. By trusting students who performed well in a class and have a great ability to break down ideas and explain them in different ways to their peers, CLAS offers student employees the opportunity to gain skills such as communication, listening, writing, critical thinking, attention to detail, time management, teamwork and leadership.
Free feels good! Suffolk offers various scholarship opportunities to students. If you want to reduce your tuition or increase your cash inflow, a scholarship could be a great opportunity. Scholarships are based on various criteria including, but not limited to, academic performance; financial need; working for the CLAS as a scholar; community service; being part of the honors program; being a freshman, transfer, or part time student, etc…There are 3 types of scholarships: Federal, State, and institutional.
For more information on institutional or University scholarships, please click on the link below:
5. Career Development Center
International students have a hard time when it comes to finding a job off campus. Because of their visa status, employers are required to sponsor an international student if they want to offer him or her a job after their one-year Optional Practical Training. This is very hard because it costs money for companies to sponsor international students and, therefore, they would usually rather save money by employing a domestic worker.
In addition, doing an internship is a necessity for every undergraduate student. For some programs like Finance and Accounting, the internship is required. Most students fail to get an internship their sophomore or junior year; they wait until the last minute to apply everywhere and hope to get an internship, but that is not the best way to go about it. It is highly preferable to start making connections with employers starting freshman year so that you can increase your chance of getting your internship the 3rd and 4th year. The Career Development Center at Suffolk University gives students the chance to create resumes and cover letters and apply for job-shadows and informational interviews. In addition, the Center has yearly gatherings where employers and students are invited to the 9th floor of the Stahl building in order to network and give students a chance to land an internship or job.
To learn more about the Career Development Center, please click on the link below.
6. Save money; use the library’s book. Or at least wait until you know you need the book before you purchase it.
Buying books is a good investment. A book will always serve its purpose. However, if one is using a book for just a short period of time, or he or she is renting it, is buying the book the best option for students at Suffolk University?
The topic of buying books was covered in an earlier post but I wanted to share my personal experience with the topic.
In 2 of my classes, the professors explicitly said not to buy the books because we would not use them frequently. In the other classes, the professors would mention buying the books because they are a helpful resource to students at any time. I’ve only purchased one book since my freshman year at Suffolk University and I am a senior now. The reason I bought this book is that it was required by the professor to come to class with the book. For my other classes, I would just make sure I have a schedule that allows me to stay at the library long enough to use its books when there is traffic. Sometimes, the library gets crowded and a person who borrows the library’s book has the right to use for 2 hours. If I needed to have a chapter with me while in class, I would just photocopy the chapter and go to class with it. At the end of the year, it helped me save over $1000.
How many of us would rather practice in groups than alone? How many of us think that is it more effective to solve problems as a group and come up with different ideas and ways to find the solutions and interpretations than trying to solve it alone? Many of us! For those who prefer working alone, that is also fine! However, being able to seek help when you get stuck is also a non-negligible opportunity. At iStudy, professional math and writing tutors, as well as study group leaders and peer tutors, who are part of the most successful students at Suffolk University, get together on the last day of classes to answer questions from other students. iStudy gives students the opportunity to plan for their exams, practice problems, ask questions and seek help for managing their study time effectively.
Sometimes a peer student explains a concept better than the professor. Sometimes, the student would rather study with peers than go see the professor or send him/her an email. For other reasons, students do not interact with their professors or other students in their classes. For all these reasons, CLAS give students the occasion to come to iStudy for 6 hours and get the most out of it while reviewing for their exams.
Mame Daour Diagne,
Do you have any suggestions for in International students? Feel free to comment below!
My Freshman Year at Suffolk University
I expected my professors to be mean and my grades to suffer traumatically; I was positive that I would be a C average college student.
Due to watching way too many movies about college, I expected to be just a number in a gigantic classroom full of students. Would my teachers even know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life? Here at Suffolk, professors do care about you and your aspirations. Most, if not all, of my professors were encouraging and treated me like an adult. If it weren’t for my professors, I wouldn’t be a tutor at the Center for Learning & Academic Success and I wouldn’t have been offered an internship at the State House. If you let them, Suffolk professors will get to know you not just as a student, but as an individual outside of the classroom. It turned out that my grades did not suffer; instead they excelled. I earned myself a 3.925 GPA my first year of college. I’m not trying to brag about my GPA. I just want any freshman coming into Suffolk reading this blog to realize that they can achieve any goal they set. Concentrate on your school work! Take notes in class, complete all of your assignments, participate, and study. If you’re struggling, make an appointment during your professor’s office hour times or schedule an appointment with a peer or professional tutor at CLAS.
I expected to be a small fish in a big pond called Boston.
My hometown of Billerica, Massachusetts wasn’t really the most diverse place to live. I was concerned that I wouldn’t find my niche and that beloved Boston was too diverse for me. Would I be surrounded by people who were different than me in the aspects of socioeconomic upbringing, religion, life story, sexual orientation, or family life? I expected the worst, yet experienced the best outcome. Diversity turned out to be one of my favorite aspects of Suffolk University. The amount of diversity on my floor was quite incredible. Not only did I fit in and make many friendships, I learned about other cultures, hobbies, languages, and life experiences my peers had. A majority of my floor mates were from the United States, most from the Northeast. However, international students made up around half of our floor. We learned different languages, including Spanish, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese. My biggest lesson derived from diversity was: even though someone has different life experiences, political views, religion, families, and socioeconomic upbringing than you, you can still become great friends. It was eye opening to begin friendships with people who I would've never met back in Billerica.
My roommates were going to be my best friends.
Anticipation regarding who I would be living with during my first year of college was insane. I grew up with three older brothers and now I was going to live with three girls. Commonly, I heard that in college, your roommates become your best friends and in some cases, your bridesmaids. Throughout the school year, my roommates and I became good friends but not best friends. Each friendship had a different dynamic, so some friendships were closer than others. We all came from different backgrounds and were pursuing different dreams. I felt pressured that if I didn't become best friends with my roommates, there was something wrong with me. My roommates and I were good friends but I had made closer friendships with my floor mates, classmates, and co-workers. With that being said, don’t worry! You don’t have to be super close to your roommate; you will find other friends who share your same interests.
The transition to college would be too much to handle.
College is a great experience that includes many new found freedoms. No longer do you have mom and dad telling you to do your homework. I assumed that all my best friends and I would all remain super close even though we chose different schools. Basically, I expected college to be a free for all. Transitioning into college took a few weeks. I began feeling like an adult because now, I was responsible for attending classes, doing homework, and waking myself up for classes. Professors are not going to nag you to do your work or attend class, but it’s important that you do so since you’re paying tuition learn, not to slack off. Classes in college are more demanding and need more effort put into them. It can be very easy to stop attending a class you aren’t too fond of. Setting rules for yourself is a smart idea. It worked for me. I didn’t miss one class all year and I completed all my assignments. The transition of making new friends and keeping old friends was difficult. I would talk to my friends from back home once in a while. It’s healthy to make new friends; it isn’t healthy to desperately cling on to the past. If you become so focused on keeping friendships at home intact, you will miss the opportunity to make new friends at school. Although it isn’t the best circumstance, some friendships just grow apart. It is okay, you will get to spend time with your hometown friends during Thanksgiving, winter, and summer break. Transitioning can be the most difficult aspect about college, so use the first few weeks to adjust to these new found freedoms.
Success from the Start: Our Top Advice for an Amazing Freshman Experience
Starting college can be both exciting and a little intimidating. Here are 7 things to consider before beginning your journey at Suffolk:
1. Being undecided is okay
There’s this expectation out there that we need to know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives once we start college. This is simply not the case. College is all about new experiences and figuring out who you are and what you enjoy. So, slow down a bit. Take your time. Choosing your major is a big decision. This is what free electives are for. Take a couple classes that sound interesting to you and see if they spark anything. You may just find your passion somewhere you never thought to look!
2. Keep an open mind
Make sure you keep an open mind when deciding your major. Sure, maybe you’ve been in love with marine biology since you were five years old and know that’s what you want to pursue, but it is important to be open-minded about all the possibilities in front of you. If the major you initially picked isn’t right for you after all, it’s okay to change it. I switched my major three times before I realized I wanted to be an accountant. Maybe you were right all along, though, and you stick with marine biology. That’s awesome, too. As long as you keep an open mind, you’ll be more likely to find your passion.
3. Don’t pick your roommate
The thought of living with a complete stranger for the first time can be either exciting or daunting. After all, this is the person you’re going to be living with for the next year. Before you think you know whom you want to live with, take some time to think about it. College is about meeting new people. Choosing to live with someone you don’t know forces you to make new friends. You may also find that you and the friend you chose to live with change in different ways when confronted by all the new experiences college presents. Being roomed with someone randomly might sound intimidating, but it’s a great opportunity to meet people, while rooming with someone you already know may hold you back from new experiences. Some people even end up becoming best friends with their randomly selected roommates.
4. Make the most out of orientation
Orientation is a great experience. Suffolk Orientation Leaders and other staff organize a schedule packed with information sessions and fun activities. Orientation is about exploring Suffolk and making some friends before the school year begins. Take advantage of all the activities offered—no matter how tired you are! Although orientation is a fun experience, it can also be quite the information overload. Suffolk supplies a notepad and pen when you arrive, so make sure to use it to take down lots of notes. You’ll be grateful later when you forget what a Master Promissory Note is.
5. Look for your classes ahead of time
Suffolk may only have a few academic buildings, but don’t be fooled. Some of those buildings can be really confusing at first. Freshman move-in day is a couple days before classes actually start, so go and explore the campus a little more. Print out your schedule or put it in your phone and look for your classes. You’ll be happy you did when the first day finally comes and you’re ready for class a few minutes early. Your professor will know you’re serious about their class and it makes for a good first impression.
6. Wait to buy textbooks
So many freshmen make the terrible mistake of spending $700 on textbooks they only use once. I certainly was one of those freshman my first semester at Suffolk. If you want to try to save some money (and who doesn’t want to save money?), wait until your first day of class and see what your professor says about the textbook. Unless your professor emails you ahead of time telling you to bring it the first day, just wait. The library has two copies of every textbook on reserve for students to use for up to two hours at a time. So if there’s a book that you only need for homework and not in class, consider just using the free copy at the library.
7. Step out of your comfort zone
This is probably the most important thing to remember before coming to Suffolk. College really is a time to do things you’ve never tried and be open-minded to all the possibilities around you. Go to the freshman events. Meet some new people. Join some clubs that you might find interesting. Talk to your professors, especially if you’re having difficulty in a class. Get to know your RA (Resident Assistant)—they have a lot of knowledge and can help you adjust to college life. This is a new and exciting step in your life, so make the most of it!