Back to school. Those words bring joy or pure unadulterated panic to students. Me – the latter. I am a non-traditional student (who also works at ECC) returning to the academic world to finish a degree I started in 1970 – 45 years ago! I quit to get married, have a family, live life. Now, I want that degree before my grandkids get theirs! As a returning student, I am taking a Foundation Seminar – like many of you. A choice in the first Inquiry Project was to write an article for the Cornerstone listing 10 things all first year students should know by mid-semester. Checking resources on-line at the ECC Library site, there is a Lib Guide for College Success. There were tips on taking notes, eating right, setting study good study habits, etc. This was all well and good, but they weren’t quite right. What do students really need to know to get through a day at ECC? What tips will make life at college easier? Compiling a list of more basic day-to-day items, here are the top ten – in no particular order – except for the very first one.
Get to know it, use it often, make it your very best friend. It is your lifeline to coursework. Just remember – Moodle is a computer based program and it will have technical issues every so often. Especially just before a paper is due or that test was supposed to be submitted. That means don’t blame Moodle when your papers are late. It didn’t procrastinate to the last minute.
2. ECC Alert
They weren’t kidding in Orientation. Sign up. First snow day – you’ll get a text, ping, phone call, e-mail – whatever you signed up for. Once you check it – you can roll over and either get a few more zzzz’s (Late Start) or a lot more zzzz’s (NO SCHOOL!).
Get one! You’ll need it at the Learning Center; Library; computer labs; Cinema One (discounts!). Carry it with you. Don’t lock in your car. The Testing Center won’t let you take a test without it and the Library won’t check out books, DVDs, CDs without it.
When it comes to research papers – go there for help. They have DVDs, CDs, books, Nooks, Kindles and magazines to relax with. It’s a great place to study and/or meet friends. However, meet for lunch – DON’T go there. (Meals are a no-no.) For help you can chat, tweet, phone, or simply stop in at the Circulation Desk. On their website check out the Lib Guide for College Success, great resources. Library motto – “Just Ask!”
5. Learning Center
Best place in the WORLD for help from tutors. If you have a problem in English, Math, Writing, Reading – go there. Schedule, drop-in, phone for appointment. It’s free for all students. If you need help on day one – go get it! That’s what they are there for.
ECC is a smoke-free campus. That means you go off campus to smoke. Roll your windows down and smoke away. Yes, I know that smoking in your cars is allowed with the windows up but dudes – seriously?! Please think about your fellow classmates and instructors when you go back in. Eau de Smoke is a powerful and lingering fragrance.
While trivial to some (remember I’m a non-traditional student) knowing their location for functionality is important but they are also safe havens when sirens go off in tornado season. They are an inside room with no windows – safest places on campus.
8. Print Card
Every semester get your new print card. It is worth 200 pages (cost is $10 to replace it). Cashier; Learning Center; Library all have print cards. Print cards are good until they are used up so keep your card semester to semester but get a new one EVERY semester.
9. Terminology (these were touched on in Orientation)
Visitor; Faculty/Staff parking lots & spaces: Students are not visitors, faculty or staff (usually). These spots have signs marking them. Don’t park in them. The staff knows you can read – you made it to college. Don’t do a shoulder shrug, eye-roll, or think “whatever” and park there. If these are your reactions, you already know you’re doing something wrong. Back out and find your student spots. Do the right thing – you’re an adult here.
Handicap Parking: Don’t borrow your mom, dad, grandparents or anyone else’s tags so you park close to the building. If you need a reminder of who these spaces are for – I’m sure we can find some of our challenged students that would love to meet you.
10. You can do it attitude
Find the time to laugh and have a little fun. Make new friends. Take risks you might not normally take. Try new things. College is what you make it, so make it your best adventure yet.