It’s that time of year again! We hope you enjoyed your summer at your internship, #slayed at your work office, or was able to chill and put stories on your IG about your terrific summer!
With school just around the corner, we thought we would create some HELPFUL tips on surviving orientation for college. This edition of Surviving Orientation is dedicated to the greatest Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in Louisiana: Southern University and A&M College’s orientation.
TIP #1: Take off work (Seriously! Your boss will understand!)
If you thought it would take an hour or two to go through the process of registering for classes – even if you’re a returning student – THINK AGAIN! Be prepared to wait in lines, only two people being at the counter, other people holding spots for their friends while in line as if you’re waiting to see J.Cole at the Varsity (which you still wouldn’t get because they only let the tickets be sold on their website for two MINUTES!), and for EVERYONE to be “at lunch” for at least two hours.
“My freshman year, I went to Southern during my lunch break (at work) to take care of my financial aid….I had to call my boss and ask him if I could have the rest of the day off!”
Candace Hastings, Junior, Mass Communications
TIP #2: Bring snacks
Like previously stated, you will be in those lines for a very long time. And it is not just the financial aid line that will have you wrapped around the building for. Registration, admissions, even to go talk to some of your professors will make your stomach grumble and your knees buckle from the starvation. A bag of chips, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and trail mix SHOULD hold you over for a couple of hours.
Helpful tip: Make a new friend in line and one of you stops and gets food while the other stands in line and holds the spot for you. Trust and believe, that line will barely move while someone grabs something quick! If you’re going to the university on a Tuesday, may we suggest that you stop at Chicken Shack? It’s a $1.60 for two pieces of chicken.
TIP #3: Have all your necessary paperwork with you and completed
Completing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), your school application, any transfer papers you might have, etc. is essential before having to endure orientation! It would be the WORST DAY EVER if you had waited in line for an hour and a half just to be told by the woman behind the counter (as she rolls her eyes at you for “wasting her time”) that you don’t have all your files with you. Triple check before leaving the house that you have completed everything. If not, or if you do not know what you need to bring, contact the Registrar’s Office at 225-771-5050.
TIP #4: Carpool!
Like you, there will be a lot of people arriving on campus to finish their registration, and to see about housing at the school, so trust in us when we say CARPOOL! Southern is already lacking in enough parking spots for their students and faculty, and it will be packed! You don’t want to have to park by McDonald’s just to go and wait in line for three hours!
TIP #5: If you’re applying on applying for work study, get there as early as possible, or let that be the first thing that you do for orientation
If you’re like every struggling college student, you need as much money as possible to attend school. Instead of drowning in debt, unlike the other 85% of college students in the United States, try to obtain a job working for the university while you are a student. This will not be an easy task! Arrive as early as possible to sign up for work study. The university only has a certain number of spots available for work study, and the first of those spots are for the students that worked last year and are returning students. It is a first-come-first-serve basis, so be one of the first students in the line.
“I arrived at Southern at around 7:30am. I thought that I would have enough time to see about my dorm room, and register for classes before I would have to apply for work study. I got in the line at 10am, and I was number 192 in line. Let’s just say, I did not get work study for the year.”
Daris Schneider-Bray, Graduate
TIP #6: Get a student parking pass, or feel the wrath of the SU Police Department!
I am a testimony of a student who did not get a student parking pass, and it was one of the dumbest mistakes I ever made while attending the university! During my last year at SU, I thought: “Hey, I’m only going to be at school 2 days out of the week for three hours each day, I really don’t need to get a pass.” I literally got a ticket almost everyday before the month was out! The SU Police Department take their jobs very seriously! While riding in their white golf carts and chilling with their dark shades on, they are monitoring the streets of the campus and making sure that everything is clear! You don’t want to mess with them!
TIP #7: TRY TO DO EVERYTHING IN ONE DAY!
This cannot be stretched enough! We know it’s a lot of waiting, trying not to go off on people, and too many hours on Snapchat because you won’t have anything else to do, but it is the best interest for YOU as a Jaguar to get everything done in one day. If it’s 1pm and you almost got everything done (Kudos to you!), and you’re like: “Oh, I can finish this last task tomorrow.” DON’T DO IT! You don’t know where that one person might be tomorrow, you’re not sure if the department that you need to go to might change locations, or whatever! Take a break if you need to: go to the Bookstore and get some gear for Homecoming if you need to, but try to accomplish everything that you need in one day. Plus, you don’t want to risk having to take two days off work just to finish one task.
TIP #8: Something will go wrong, but don’t freak out!
You’re not the only one who the university “made a simple mistake” on. It could be anything from your name being spelled incorrectly, to the amount of money that you received from a Pell Grant or a loan, to you even being enrolled in the university in the first place. We are not pointing fingers at our beloved HBCU, but we do know what to expect and how to prepare for these types of things. First, take a deep breath. Don’t let your anger show, and calmly try to resolve the issue. If the person is snapping back at you, don’t think anything of it. You’re student #200, and it has been a long day for them too. Try to find the best possible outcome for the two of you.
If you’re agitated because you’re making others wait, don’t fret! They’ve may have read these tips as well and know it’s nothing personal. If someone does get antsy, just ignore them! They’ve had a long day as well! The calmer you are, the better the results will be and the quicker you can get out of there.
“My professor told me last Spring that I was confirmed of entering into my junior year in the Fall. When I registered for classes at orientation, however, they had me down as a freshman!”
Sinclair Johnson, Junior, Political Science
TIP #9: If you’re graduating this semester/year, we are praying for you!
Congratulations! You’re graduating from SU, so you know better than anyone the process of orientation! But what you may not know is that you have the WORST task out of everyone else! Not only do you have to make sure that you’re registered for classes, get financial aid, etc., but you have to make sure that EVERYTHING on your record is correct, and that they have you down for graduating this or next term. The administration might not have you down as a senior, or that you’re missing a couple more classes than you realize.Once again, bringing up tip #8, something will MOST LIKELY go wrong!
“I was suppose to graduate in December, but when I got to orientation to register for classes, they said that I was over 32 hours shy of graduating!”
Anonymous, Senior, Education major
A lot of this has to do with your advisor, but everything should have been turned in on your behalf. If not, tip #3 will definitely come in handy! Make copies of your paperwork and have them ready just in case!
Helpful hint: Be prepared! When doing your checkout list for graduation, you will have to use a TYPEWRITER to type out every class you have taken at the university! The library has 2 of them, so you will have to fight for it among your peers. “May the odds be forever in your favor.”
TIP #10: Get ready for the school year
At the end of this experience, you will be entering into another year as SU Jag! So welcome on the learning, the football games, Homecoming, step shows, SGA, and everything else that makes going to this HBCU the best college experience.