First Semester Survival Guide: Tips from RISE Mentors

By Lindsay Mensch

Campus can be overwhelming on arrival: full of new people, places, and things to do. However, no one is alone in that experience. Many people go through similar trials and errors, and many have been through them before. If you’re looking for some advice and guidance along the way, this is the place to be! The RISE Program is full of people who are willing to help you in any way they can. RISE Mentors are especially helpful in this regard.

We asked the 2017-18 Mentors what advice they have for students as they enter their first week, and first semester, at MSU! Here’s what they said:

Campus Life

“Spend some time before classes start to walk/bike around campus! Maybe get an upperclassman to help you navigate CATA. Find where your classes are and get comfortable with the area.” – Hannah Grindling

Explore all the ways to get to class, you never know when the bus will be late and you’ll appreciate knowing a different route to get there!” – Andrea Lescoe

“Download the Spartan App, it gives you a lot of useful information, and also get the Farm Lane Guide App! It shows your location on campus and where certain buildings are.” – Don Nguyen


Don’t be afraid of your professors! They are totally normal people who simply have a lot of education. They are honestly very open to questions and love to have people stop by their office hours. They are there to help you learn!” – Jaclyn Barta

Always go to class when you can. It’s weird to say, but so many people don’t and it’s very easy to get behind and not get all the information.” – Mia White

“Paper notes are committed to memory better than typed, or even tablet-written notes.” – Joe Wakar

“Sit in the front row (or close to it) so that your professors get to know you and will give you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to grades and other assignments.” – Lauren Lahie

“Go to all of your classes and set a goal for yourself to always go! It might be review, but professors give out great tips and tricks during this time.” – Jamie Raupp

Meet with you academic advisors throughout the semester and get to know them, they are key to creating your perfect schedule and making sure you are on the right track.” – Max Raphelson

“Talk to your professors! It helps separate you from being a face in the class to someone he/she knows. They will be more willing to help you out when they know you care!” – Hannah Rusgo

Time Management

“Don’t allow everything to become overwhelming, take your time, make lists, and don’t let stress overcome you. Ask others for help if you need it, it will be very valuable to you.” – Hannah Landwerlen

Buy a calendar or download an app like TimeTune. You would be amazed how much time you can waste if you don’t keep track of it.” – Ethan Jodoin

Keep track of all due dates and exams in a written planner or app to always be prepared.” – Claire Dion

Big Picture

It is completely normal to switch majors or not know what you want to do. Talking to advisors–all sorts of advisors for different majors and departments–can help immensely in exploring your options.” – Cameron Andrews

“Life is an exciting tale, and college is an important chapter. Make the most of it by going to class, meeting new friends, and experiencing new things. Join a club or find your niche. This will make MSU feel smaller and less overwhelming.” – Braedon Halle



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