A Message from Chancellor Dr. Kristine Strickland
Welcome back to a new year at Fletcher! The start of fall classes has always ranked up there as one of my favorite times of year. I’m a “fresh start” kind of person. I’ve lived most of my life in love with the idea that any given day you can wake up and call for a do-over. However, sometimes-as time is flying by and the days, weeks and months begin to blur- you need a starting point. This usually coincides with an external calendar date, like New Year’s Day, but for me, August and the start of school, usually signifies a starting point like this.
I imagine that it dates back to our younger years, where the start of school meant new stuff. New pens and paper, new notebooks, new backpacks, new clothes and shoes, and new teachers. A new year and an opportunity to have a clean slate.
This idea of a fresh start also enables an obsession of mine that goes hand-in-hand with the new academic year– tools to get organized. In August, there is no lack of shopping options as stores greet you with rows upon rows of back-to-school necessities. I certainly love walking through the store aisles eyeing up new planners and organization items that promise me that this is the year that I’ll get myself all together and achieve the goals I set for myself.
That is the neat thing about the start of the fall semester. It is a little over eight months in to our already fleeting “fresh start” from January. By now, if you’re like me, your New Year’s Resolutions may be all but a distant memory of what you hoped would happen, before time…and life got away from you. But August? August is new starting line, one where we can reset our goals and make a final push before New Year’s Eve rolls around again.
I know that the start of the fall semester of college is much like that for our students too. Enrolling at Fletcher probably meant new things for you. Not just organizational tools or notebooks, but the possibility of a new career, new friends, new interests. A way to redefine who you are and who you hope to become. College can transform your life. Whether you already know your goals and are striving to achieve them every day; or you are struggling with determining what the next step is. The opportunity that exists when you walk into that first class, go to the first meeting of the club you’ve been considering, or reaching out for help from a fellow student and making a new friend. The power to become a new and better you is right there and the faculty and staff at Fletcher are here to help. At the end of each day, their passion is helping students find their way in the world.
Fletcher’s faculty and staff is committed to providing you with opportunities to reach whatever goals you set. The faculty, Success Skills staff and tutors and library staff will do all that they can in helping you decide on a career, get the courses you need, and be successful in your academic studies. The Office of Student Life provides ways to get involved in the Fletcher community outside of the classroom. Here you can make new friends, build your leadership skills, and perfect your resume. We have groups that support your interests and even better, if you don’t find something that fits what interests you…you can start your own group. The faculty and staff at Fletcher want you to be successful, just let us know how we can help.
So back to my love of the start of a new academic year. The reason I love it so much is because of you…our students. There is no better sight than pulling up on campus and seeing the parking lot full…I know that’s not a great sight for you – LOL. No better sound than to hear the hallways filled with excitement at seeing old friends and of lectures about syllabi taking place in the classrooms. It is the vibration of excitement that fills the buildings as everyone is gearing up for the promise of a new year.
My hope for each of you is that you grab ahold of this opportunity for a fresh start. Maybe your goal is to meet new people, or decide on a career path, or improve your grades. Maybe it is to study more, go for tutoring when you need it or join a student organization and get involved. Whatever it is, commit to making this your year. This is your chance for a start fresh, with a clean slate on becoming whoever it is that you want to be.
And for our part, our faculty and staff will work hard every day to help you get there. If you need help, let us know, it never hurts to ask…right? Maybe in asking you’ll find a solution you didn’t know was there and that may even open doors you weren’t aware needed opening. Speaking of open doors…my door is also always open. If I’m in my office and the door is open, feel free to pop in. I’d love to hear how your semester is going and how I can help you reach your goals…or we can just talk about our cool new planners and notebooks.
It’s a new semester and an opportunity for a new start. Welcome back to the fall semester!
The Things I Never Did in College
Angie Pitre Pellegrin, LPC-S
Director of Retention Services
As Director of Retention Services, I’m always exploring ways to make our students’ experience at Fletcher as smooth and successful as possible.
I was a first generation student. No one I knew could tell me how to navigate through FAFSA and scheduling classes and choosing a major. I was 30! And I felt so old! And I had a full-time job and a part-time job – Oh! And an amazing, smart, and resilient kid (who now teaches economics at a 4 year university)!
But I also had a goal. Graduate in 4 years — no more, no compromising, come hell or high water.
Hell came. High water did too, but I never for one minute gave in or up on that goal.
NEVER SKIP CLASS
I never skipped a class.
Wait, once, when I was a senior because my boyfriend convinced me to, and I was so nervous that I was missing something vitally important in my arts elective theatre appreciation class that might give me the answer to solve the world’s most important issues that I never skipped again. But otherwise, never.
When I was a freshman, we watched a film called “Where There’s a Will There’s an A.” In that film, they shared research that somehow proved that for every college class you skipped, it cost you a thousand dollars in your lifetime. Now that I understand cause and effect vs correlation, I might have taken that too literally, but it worked nonetheless and I still practice that in any course I take. I did it through grad school, and I’ll do it through my doctorate program. It’s the same kind of promise that goes with setting a goal like I did to graduate in 4 years with my bachelor’s degree.
NEVER SKIP HOMEWORK OR STUDYING
I never skipped homework or studying.
As I said, I worked 40 hours a week at a full-time job and 10 a week as a reporter for the Nicholls Worth student newspaper, and I was a freelance writer for the Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce Magazine. So, there wasn’t a spare moment for cramming before a test (or the opportunity to pull an all-nighter — those don’t work anyway) Instead, I carried around index cards ALL the time to study at any and every free moment and kept up.
My sister and I would get on the phone at night after my clients from work went to bed and do our math homework. She was way better than me at math. I was just a good test taker, so we balanced each other out. She enjoyed terrorizing me by asking if there were any Velociraptors under my bed while we read Jurassic Park for our history class, but she made sure I read it.
So, added to this one is never underestimate a good ally to keep you in line. It doesn’t have to be a sibling. Make a friend and see each other through.
NEVER BE THAT GUY
I never didn’t know my instructor or professor’s name — and I learned the difference and addressed them accordingly.
An instructor has a master’s degree in the discipline he or she is teaching or a master’s in a different discipline with at least 18 graduate level hours in the subject taught. Instructors are properly addressed as Ms. or Mr.
A professor has a doctorate or PhD and should be addressed Dr. Whomever — not to be confused with Dr. Who, who happens to merely be a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey.
Learning your instructor’s name shows respect and puts you in the correct learning space as you perceive what you learn as coming from an expert and therefore important information for your academic and professional development. When asking for assistance or support, this bit of information goes a long way to you being taken seriously as a student. Side note: I can still name every one of them.
There are a few nevers I wish I had done.
I never did learn how to play racquetball — I really just look athletic. I never sang in the choir. They practiced when I was at work — and I never skipped work, so that one’s tricky. I never took a hands-on art class, but I still have time to do that, and I have to really consider that I have no fine motor skills whatsoever.
NEVER GIVE UP
My last never I want to share with you is that I never gave up.
There were times when I was so tired I cried. I spent a couple of weeks living in my truck to finish off a semester. I got divorced and married a few times while I was in college — so I’m telling you there’s time for a social life.
As humans, we crave the contrast of life — male/female, night/day, right/wrong, highs/lows — so quit acting as though anything can stop you. When we reach a hard won goal, we set a new one.
So, set this success goal for yourself and achieve it. I promise there will be another one itching to take hold when you get there, but you will be soooo thrilled you reached this one, and you will be changed forever for it.
Advisor titles were changed to Success Coaches for a reason. The Student Success Center’s mission is your success. It’s the same for all of your instructors and professors too! An educated community has less crime, less poverty and even less sickness. We all want that for our Bayou Region and beyond. If it EVER gets to feel like that goal to graduate is unreachable, come visit me. We’ll talk. I’ll do all that I can to help you never give up.
3 Ways to Grow in Knowledge This Spring
Fletcher English Learning Specialist
With a little less than one month left of this semester, it can be so easy to fall into a slump. Motivation often seems to run dry, and you’re just ready for it all to be over. It may feel like you have five major essays due – for only two classes – and every assignment happens to be due at the exact same time. Did your teachers really conspire against you? Probably not, but it sure does feel that way, doesn’t it?
Before you know it, you’ll have turned in the last of your assignments, completed your final exams, and will be on your way to a much needed summer break.
But now is not the time to start slacking or half-heartedly throwing together your work. Think about how much time and energy you’ve already invested. It would be silly to throw that away now. Take a deep breath. Prioritize your goals and reward yourself for each small task that you complete. And determine, right here and right now, that you will finish this semester strong. The seeds that you planted at the beginning of the semester are ready to blossom into a beautiful garden, but you’ve got to nurture what you’ve already sown.
So let’s take a look at several ways that you can cultivate growth this spring to greatly enrich – and enjoy – your successful life.
Grow in KNOWLEDGE.
Lorri Myers said, “If you want the answer – ask the question.” This spring, don’t just grow in academic knowledge, but grow in knowing yourself and the world around you. Like a child, always stay curious. As you’re studying for your finals, if you find yourself confused about a topic, don’t be afraid to ask questions or stop by the Student Success Center to meet with a tutor.
Grow in knowledge about yourself.
Tips for growing in knowledge about yourself: Ask. Take the time to discover yourself through journaling or going on a nice relaxing walk. Ask yourself what values, beliefs, personality traits, and interests set you apart? What are you unwilling to compromise? What brings you the most joy? Take yourself on a date; what activities do you enjoy most? Do you prefer to spend time in large groups or smaller, one-on-one settings? Do you learn best by using colored pens and drawing diagrams, or do you better remember your teacher’s lectures or something you’ve heard on the radio?
Grow in knowledge about the world.
Tips for growing in knowledge about the world around you: Explore. What is something that you do regularly? Where have you never gone before but always wanted to? What’s stopping you? Are there current events that fire you up or leave you confused? What’s a topic that you know absolutely nothing about? Read a psychology, political, or religious blog.
Grow in academic knowledge.
Tips for growing in academic knowledge: Practice discipline. As you learn more about who you are as an individual and how you best connect with the world around you, you can use this knowledge to help you build study habits that will help you achieve success in the classroom.
Check out this article from PsychCentral to learn 10 Highly Effective Study Habits.
Fletcher English Learning Specialist
Welcome back from Spring Break!
Don’t you just love getting a break? At least you can catch up on those assignments in your pajamas from the comfort of your couch, stuffing your face with Oreos and binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. And nobody will judge you, right?
And I think it’s safe to say that after experiencing a cold, grey winter that lasted longer than a single weekend or two, I’m not the only person ready to trade coats, leggings, and chapped lips for sundresses, swimsuits, and uneven tans…and boiled crawfish. That’s one of my favorite things about springtime, the sense of newness and change that it brings.
In this same spirit of beginnings, I am excited for the launch of the Falcon Feed! It’s my hope to create an open conversation among faculty and staff, students, and the community. This is a place to learn more about what’s happening at Fletcher, to find quick and easily accessible tools and resources to help you achieve success in your studies (and life), and to have a little fun. I mean, who doesn’t like a good meme? Let’s be honest. They say what we’re already thinking and give us a good laugh!
Don’t be shy. Interact. Leave your feedback, and share what interests you. This is an open dialogue—a virtual coffee date…or fro-yo if that’s more your thing. Is there something specific that you’d like to see here? Let me know! My colleagues and I are stoked to connect with you! Find us on Facebook to leave your comments!
Do you blog? Do you follow a blog? What keeps you interested?