SPEAKER: The Office of New Student Programs welcomes you to the Cornell family orientation video information series. We've created this video series to provide information and connect you to the services, programming, and support available to Cornell students. In each installment, we will introduce you to the Cornell university staff and administrators who work closely with students.
You will also hear student voices that will give you a closer look at the Cornell student experience. At the conclusion of each video, you will find contact information so that you can follow up as needed. You are also welcome to reach out to the staff in New Student Programs.
During the first semester of college, students experience a new academic and social environment. They will have questions and experience new challenges as they make this adjustment. In this video, we will introduce you to six key Cornell resources that support students both in and outside the classroom.
The video is divided into three sections-- an introduction to each resource, a roundtable discussion with staff from these units, and student reflections on resources that they have found helpful. It is longer than the other videos in the series. But we want to provide you with these important messages.
DEVAN CARRINGTON: Greetings, students and families of Cornell. I hope this find you all safe and well. My name is Devan Carrington, and I'm one of the assistant directors in Housing Residential Life here at Cornell. Housing Residence Life provide student support and programming in the residence halls to make your experience engaging, meaningful, and gratifying.
Our living and learning environment comprises of 17 undergraduate residence halls, including communities with first year and upper level students and our eight program houses, as well as a residential community for graduate professional students. Residential life at Cornell promotes the intrinsic value and worth of the individual in a welcoming and inclusive community.
In essence, we serve as the foundation for your students hierarchy needs. We provide physical safety, social, physically distant engagement, and access to emotional support resources across campus. Within the communities, we have several layers of support staff available for your students.
Our first line of support is a Residential Advisor. A Resident Advisor is a live-in student leader who works within a residential community to carry out the mission and values of Cornell university and housing residents life. RAs must be committed to enhancing the overall residential experience of students at Cornell by serving as a community educator, assisting in crisis support, and upholding community standards. The RAs also served in an on-call rotation in order to provide additional support and connection to other resources on campus after business hours.
The second line of support is the residential Residence Hall Director or Area Coordinator. The RHD or AC is a full-time professional staff member who lives in the community and serves as supervisor for the Resident Advisors. These professional staff members are also trained in student leadership development, crisis support intervention, active listening, and community development.
The AC, RHD, and RAs will also be facilitating a wide variety of community programs and events for residents to build lasting connections and further grow their social network across campus. In addition to social and emotional support of your students, residential life also provides many student leadership development opportunities for our residents. We believe that participation in co-curricular activities in the halls contribute to the intellectual, social, and emotional changes in a person over time.
Every residential community on campus has a community council. All residents of the buildings are automatic members of their community council. And it is an excellent way for your student to get involved and form connection with other residents.
Aside from the community council, we have our resident student congress, our peer review board, residential sustainability leaders, and the National Residence Hall Honorary. All these opportunities have been adapted to promote physical distancing, while enhancing social interactions. To learn more, please encourage your student to reach out to their community RA, RHD, or AC. We are here to help.
CATHERINE THRASHER-CARROLL: My name is Catherine Thrasher-Caroll, and I am the mental health promotion program director from Cornell Health. It is my pleasure to be here with you today to share that we here at Cornell believes student mental health is central to academic and life success.
We know that physical, mental, and emotional well-being helps students to optimize their potential and make the most of their college experience. To address student mental health, we take a community-based public health approach. This means that each member of our campus community has a role to play in supporting the mental health of our community-- senior leadership, mental health professionals, and all general community members, faculty, staff, and students.
Cornell Health's counseling and psychological services staff provide confidential, professional support to students through individual therapy, group therapy, and drop-in workshops. But in addition to clinical mental health services, Cornell Health and Center for Health Initiatives, my department, works to promote positive culture change on campus through the advisement of student of ambassadors and organizations, the development of social norms messaging campaigns, and educational programming to address and support student mental health and well being.
Your first-year student will go through our online program, Life Hacks, College Edition, which is designed to give them strategies, tips, and tools to help keep stress in check, build and maintain resilience, and provide information about the abundance of available resources here at Cornell. Along with faculty and academic staff, residential advisors, hall directors, and others student and campus life staff participate in our Notice and Respond, Assisting Students in Distress Program, which prepares them to recognize the signs that a student might be struggling emotionally, and through examples and role play, learn how to engage the student in supportive conversation and help them get connected with the appropriate resources to help them resolve their stress or distress.
Your student may also participate in additional mental health promotion programming, such as our Let's See Your Sleep program. I am going to end my introduction here and will rejoin you during the roundtable portion. Thank you.
MIRANDA SWANSON: My name is Miranda Swanson. And I'm the associate dean for student services in the College of Engineering. And I'm so pleased to welcome all of you to Cornell. Each undergraduate college has a collection of offices labeled student services. Today, I am going to focus on two of these student services.
The most important one for your student who is new to Cornell is their academic advising office. The role of this office is to ensure that your student has the information, counsel, and resources to succeed as they navigate their undergraduate experience. The primary role of academic advising is to guide your student on building their academic plan, in other words, the courses they choose.
Academic advisors, or advising deans have broad knowledge that can help inform your student as they choose their courses, for example, advising students who are planning on a career in medicine, advising students who are planning a study abroad experience, or advising students who are considering transferring to another Cornell college. Academic advising is here to support your student's transition to Cornell. And all of the academic advising offices have been in communication with incoming students over the past several weeks with orientation and pre-enrollment information. Students can also proactively reach out to their academic advising office with any questions they may have. All of the academic advising office contacts are now listed on a single web page, covid.cornell.edu/students/advising.
Another student services office within each undergraduate college is career services. College career services partner closely with our central Cornell career services to offer programs and advising tailored specifically to meet the needs of students in that college. For example, Cornell career services hosts a university-wide career fair in September. And engineering career services hosts an engineering project showcase, which complements this university-wide career fair by focusing on employers in technical fields and inviting them to see our students exemplary work on project teams in research and design courses.
There are examples like this one in every college, a college-specific career office that is focused on your student's professional development and career goals. To learn more about Cornell career services and to find contact information for each of the college career service offices, visit www.career.cornell.edu. Please note too, that these resource websites will be listed on the final slide of this welcome video. Thank you.
AMY GODERT: Congratulations to your student and welcome to the Cornell community. My name is Amy Godert, and I work with the Learning Strategy Center, or LSC. The LSC is the central academic support unit for undergraduates at Cornell University with a particular focus on supporting our students in their large introductory-level courses, many of them taken in their freshman or sophomore years.
Through our offerings, the LSC encourages students to develop effective approaches to mastering the academic rigors of Cornell and supports their efforts to become more successful and independent learners, building of course, off of the successes that they have already had in the past. In any given academic year, we work with about 3,000 individual students. And they have somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 visits to the LSC.
This year, regardless of the modality, whether we're in-person, hybrid, or online, the LSC is here for your student. All of our services are available to them at no cost. The LSC offers academic support in some of our large introductory courses in the form of supplemental courses-- and I'll talk more about that in a second-- and tutoring, which I'll share more about as well.
LSC supplemental courses are offered in biology, math, physics, chemistry, and economics. And they are taught by professional LSC instructors who work closely with the faculty who are teaching the large introductory-level courses. These courses are taken in conjunction with the large introductory-level course. They are not a replacement for it.
Since our instructors have been working with these courses for sometimes many, many years, they are familiar with where the common misunderstandings are and can work with your students on challenging concepts in multiple ways. The LSC supplemental courses offer additional practice with problem solving, more exposure to content, and discipline-specific study strategies for your students. LSC courses always focus on peer-to-peer group work in order to maximize learning. The LSC also offers tutoring in those same subjects, so biology, math, physics, chemistry, and economics.
And we also offer tutoring and statistics. Peer-to-peer learning is a critically essential component of the LSC's work. And this is true for peer tutoring as well.
Peer tutoring offers students a low-stress and easy-entry source of academic support. And students who attend the LSC's walk-in group tutoring often find other students ask questions that they didn't even know that they had yet. And it's really important that students see that they're not the only ones with questions about things in classes that are happening.
The tutors are really an amazing and enthusiastic group of students who are dedicated to supporting their peers learn these challenging concepts and the challenging course material. They understand how much hard work it takes to succeed in the course and how much encouragement students need. And very often, they come back to tutor, because they want to give back to the community that supported them.
Helping students learn how to learn is really fundamentally core to the LSC's work. Our study skills supports include everything from coordinated peer-facilitated workshops, study skills bulletin boards, tutoring sessions, and a course that we offer a critical reading and thinking and academic success skills, which is offered every fall and spring semester. The LSC web page offers students resources on the Cornell No Taking System, basics of time management, and effective exam strategies, among many other study skills.
Our team works to reach out to students with a variety of opportunities to help them be more organized, productive, and efficient learners. Study skills and academic success skills are built into each and every one of our offerings. We've recently added a new section to our web page on learning online. And this section includes resources for families and households on how to support their students' learning online at home.
Cornell has extremely high academic standards. And transitioning to the college learning environment presents challenges to many students. Through peer support, study skills sessions, tutoring, supplemental courses, the LSC provides numerous opportunities for students to find whatever additional support they need to do their best here at Cornell. Every step of the way, the LSC strives to not just help students develop the skills that they need to be successful in a particular course, but to help them grow as independent learners so that way they can be more successful in all of their classes.
An important key to success here at Cornell is to remember that successful students ask for help when they need it. I wish you all the best for a successful and smooth fall semester.
WAYNE HILSON: Hello, my name is Dr. Wayne Hilson, executive director in the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, affectionately known as OADI. Yes, it sounds like "wadi." We're a centralized hub that provides academic and professional development support and resources for undergraduate students who are traditionally underrepresented and/or underserved in higher education.
Our mission is to empower students to develop and leverage their own strengths and experiences as they seek to achieve their scholastic, professional, and personal goals via our signature programs and direct services. Ultimately, our vision is to positively influence the academic journeys of Cornell's diverse student population, so they are best positioned to create not only a prosperous livelihood, but also a meaningful life and legacy.
Now, we serve a multitude of different students, ranging from low income students to first generation students. We work with individuals across campus to serve our veterans population, as well as nontraditional/post-traditional students as well, and at the intersections of these various identities. So how do we realize our mission? We recognize and affirm the uniqueness of student identities and journeys. We facilitate access to the broadest range of academic and professional enrichment opportunities at Cornell and beyond.
We try to decrease traditional financial barriers to academic and professional enrichment opportunities. We do that through direct funding, as well as collaborations with campus partners. And I think most important, we provide an additional space on campus where students create community, where they can be their authentic selves.
Now, due to COVID-19, things are going to look a little different as it relates to the amount of in-person things that we're able to do. But we're still are committed to creating that community and fostering that among staff, amongst peers, amongst all of our students that we serve, whether it's in person or in a virtual world. Our goals are pretty simple. We're about access. We want to ensure students have equal and equitable access to the various opportunities to take full advantage of their educational experiences at Cornell.
We want to make sure that students are confident-- we like to call it efficacy in higher education-- in their ability to access the broadest range of these opportunities and successfully navigate these experiences. And lastly, it's all about student agency. We want to position students to be intentional about taking advantage of various opportunities on campus with minimal barriers to access and success.
We have several signature programs that do that. We have our access programs, our New York Student Opportunity Program that's made up of the Higher Education Opportunity Program as well as the Educational Opportunity Program. Those are for our first-year students from the New York area.
We also serve students who are already on campus through our Opportunities Programs as well. We call it P3, which is made up of our Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and our Cornell Professional Opportunities Program. That is one of the opportunities for students to really get engaged in undergraduate research, meet with the many of our alums, get actual mentoring for some of our graduate students as well. And so that's really about-- once you're here, taking advantage fully of the various opportunities that are available to you.
We also have a federal program called the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program. That's an opportunity to address underrepresentation as relates to students going for their doctorate. But we also, on a weekly basis, foster and facilitate lunch and learns, inviting guests from across campus from industry, as well as alumni to share information about the various opportunities are out there, as well as words of wisdom.
We talked about undergraduate research. We actually have a OADI Research Scholars Program, ORSP. Our goal is to expose a broader range of students to high-impact practices, such as undergraduate research, as it relates to training and various opportunity.
I mentioned funding. We have a competitive funding program so students are able to take advantage of the various study abroad, service learning, undergraduate research opportunities that exist. But also, we have co-funding, which allows students who are work-study eligible to take advantage of various employment opportunities on campus as well.
Now, we have some on-site resources. Some of these will be virtual, obviously this fall. We have a computer lab, where schools are able to come and use our computer facilities, do free printing. We have a laptop lending service, as well as working with our partners in the Learning Strategy Center to provide tutoring services as well.
But I think the most important thing that we do again, whether it's in the virtual world or in person is provide a safe, affirming space for our students to be their authentic self, to connect, to reconnect, to not only OADI staff, but their peers. And sometimes it's all about just taking a nap, just relaxing.
It can be tough at Cornell. That's why the degree means so much, and that's why we're going to position you be as successful as possible. And so we look forward to meeting you, whether it's in the virtual world, and hopefully soon in person. And welcome to Cornell, and welcome to the OADI family. Go Big Red.
ZEBADIAH HALL: Hi, my name is Zebadiah Hall. I work in Student Disability Services. I am here to welcome you, engage you in the ways that Student Disability Services accommodate students at Cornell University. It is important that you understand that at Cornell, the motto is "Any person, any study." That is really key to the work that we do in student disability services.
We actually approach to work from a civil rights or social justice framework. A student with a disability-- it's their civil right to receive accommodation. We want to make sure those accommodations are enacted from a socially just framework.
It is important that disability is one of the student's identity as they're connecting with our office. There are other demographics and identity that that student may hold. That is important to the process in understanding how we go about accommodate students.
We are going to really try and times, and we understand that there are difficult times and disparities prior to COVID. COVID has highlighted some of those disparities. It's important to know prior to COVID, we did not medicalize a process for a student or receive accommodations. We understand that there are health disparities, so everybody does have the same access and opportunity to clinical providers.
In knowing so, we are also willing to use information from a youth provider that might understand how that chronic illness might affect the student. We're also willing to have the teacher write something about how the disability might manifest within the academic setting. It's important for that information to be understood so you know that it's not always a medical documentation that determines accommodations at Cornell University.
It's also important to note that the student voice is so important in determining accommodations at Cornell University. How do you empower your student to understand the nuances, or equip them with the understanding and information so they can advocate for those accommodations? It's important for us to help them find their voice during this time.
When you think about how does a student connect or receive services from Student Disability Services, there's only two steps a student may go through. The first step is to fill out a self-disclosure form so we can have an understanding of their disability. Their disability could be a health condition. It could be mental health related.
It could be a chronic illness. It could be a learning disability. There could be several reasons of why, from a health standpoint, that a person needs to receive accommodations and major life activities are being compromised for various reasons.
The second step in registering with our office is for a disability counselor to reach out to that student to figure out what access barriers are really at play and how are they being impacted. I think it's important to understand that also, we want to accommodate, if the accommodations are appropriate, the whole educational experience. What do I mean by that?
If a student needs a certain accommodation in their living space, we work with residential life to make sure they can obtain that accommodation. If there is a certain accommodation that a student needs to eat a certain way, we work with dining to make sure those accommodations happen. Even if we're talking about co-curricular activities, we can work with students to figure out how they can participate fully in those activities. As I alluded to before, the student voice is so important. It's also our job to help students learn how to self-advocate for themselves.
I will leave you with this in closing. In Student Disability Services, it's our job to allow students to change the world with their ability, while giving them a platform to educate the world about their disability when they see fit and they're suited to do so. Once again, congratulations on working and connecting with Cornell University as we engage with how we might accommodate your student in Student Disability Services.
DEVAN CARRINGTON: What would I tell families as they have their students entering their first year? Trust, trust us. Housing Residence Life is here for your students full holistic support and development. And so in order for you to really embrace your first year at Cornell, you got to take some risks. And you got to trust that we're here is a resource for you.
So the big piece of advice I would give families is to tell their students to reach out, to tell the students take full advantage of the things we have to offer in the residence halls. Leadership opportunities-- our staff is there to support, not just the get-in-trouble aspect of what you all think of residence life when you're in the halls, but we're really here to support your whole growth. So whether that's joining our hall councils, or community councils, becoming a resident advisor after your first year on campus, we really hope that we're the bridge to the rest of the community here Cornell.
We are able to network and give you opportunities across campus. We're able to build your confidence on campus. And we're able to give you all a solid ground to stand on as you navigate the waters of higher education.
You start with us, and we hope that whether you become an RA or stay involved in our communities, you end with us. But at the end of the day, you do start with us. And our goal is to help you start a good foot and maintain your academic integrity and academic success here at Cornell.
CATHERINE THRASHER-CARROLL: So it is really important to remember that your student's mental health and well-being are just as important as their physical health. And here at Cornell, we consider ourselves to be a caring community where we encourage each other to take care of our mental health and well-being.
As first-year students, and all through the college experience, we think of our students as young adults. And we know that they are learning. And we encourage them to learn about independence and the freedoms and the responsibilities that go along with independence. But also to remember that it's very important to develop a sense of interdependence, meaning that when things aren't going the way that they would like them to go or they're struggling in some way that there are many, many, many of us here on campus who are available to provide support, to help problem solve, and sometimes, just to be a friendly face and ask them some questions and encourage them to figure out some things for themselves.
This year is going to be a unique year, because we are still in the COVID pandemic. And what we want you to know is that we have many, many safety measures in place. And we look forward to welcoming your student here on campus in person, or welcoming your student virtually to our Cornell community. It will be really important for you to stay up to date with the information that will probably continue to evolve and to encourage your student to stay up to date. And there are web pages for that that you can easily access.
One other thing I want to say about the first-year experience and students when they first come to college is that it's really important that they begin to think about their definition of success. And that you, as the parents and family members think about your own definition of success and to recognize and to realize that pretty much everyone here, on this panel I know, when we went to college, we struggled in different areas a little bit. It's not uncommon, because we have to learn how to effectively work with the academic rigor.
We have to learn about, as I mentioned already, the freedoms and responsibilities. And so if your student shows you a grade on something that's lower than they've ever received before, that is OK, because they can turn that around and use that as a learning opportunity to understand how it is that they may need to shift the way that they study or read or prepare for a test now that they're in college.
MIRANDA SWANSON: The transition to college is not easy. In addition to the academic expectations, students are coping with so many changes. They may be in a completely different environment, they're going to be making all or mostly new friends, and they're adjusting to a completely different way of managing their time.
Some days they may have no classes, while on others thing may have four. They're sharing space for the first time and navigating how to interact with people from very different backgrounds. Managing all of these changes that once was hard.
And this year in particular, we have a layered on what is already a difficult transition-- the complexity and challenges of navigating COVID-related guidelines and expectations. I hope that all of you will partner with us to check regularly on our new students to ensure that they are staying safe and healthy while adjusting to college.
AMY GODERT: So what would I tell families about the first year of college? There are a couple of things I would mention about the first year. One is the transition, which you're going to hear others talk about, which you've already heard a little bit about. This transition to college is exciting and challenging at the same time, both for you and for your student.
The other thing I think is important to keep in mind are some of the new terms that you might be hearing. And when I first came to Cornell, there were some things that I had never heard before. I'm going to share a few of those with you here.
So the first, and one that confused me for a while is prelim. And that really is just a test or exam. So that's the way you will hear if your student says prelim, they are talking about a test or exam that they're taking for a course.
Office hours is another term that is not something you might typically encounter in high school. But this is something that if you don't know about, you want to make sure your student is aware of. Office hours are times that instructors set aside to answer your student's questions.
They can go to these office hours with questions on homework or confusing topics. And students should really expect that the faculty are going to ask them questions in these office hours to help guide them to an answer, rather than just giving them the answer. And we know a lot about that's the best way to learn is by asking questions and trying things out and learning things by doing, rather than just being told the answer.
The other one that I would quickly mention is teaching assistants. And these are also referred to as TAs. They are graduate students, most of whom they've already finished college and are working on their post-college degrees.
They're part of the instructional team of a course. And they work with the faculty to teach classes and to help students learn. And they'll often have office hours as well for students.
There are some glossary of terms that are out there. And we have some things on our Learning Strategy Center web page. And I'll share that you know, I've been at Cornell for a while, and I still learn new terms whenever I'm working with a new office or group. So encountering new things is completely normal.
And just building on some of the things that you've already heard, the last thing I wanted to mention is that successful students ask for help. Everyone needs help sometimes. And no one has all of the answers.
If you're thinking about a pro athlete, they have trainers and coaches. And here in the academic realm at college here at Cornell, students have faculty, Teaching Assistants, also called TAs, and tutors to help them out. So remind your students of all of the support that Cornell has available for them, both from the people in this virtual room and from others all over campus.
WAYNE HILSON: Within OADI, what we try to do as it relates to our mission is empower students, to utilize their natural strengths and experiences for them to be successful, both as it relates to academic and career goals. As we think about transition, sometimes we can forget that we're bringing all of these strengths and abilities to a new space.
And so what I would-- the advice I would give to families and to students is to understand that your student is ready. You have navigated, your family has navigated, your student has navigated an unprecedented spring semester as it relates to COVID-19. And your student has been successful academically, they've gotten into a wonderful institution like Cornell. And those strengths, those talents, those experiences to navigate on the fly and still stay focused on your goals are going to be critically important, not only as a first-year student, but also as you navigate your time through Cornell university.
The other thing I would mention-- you've heard about it on several occasions as it relates to utilizing resources is to use them early. Often, students, particularly students of talent, can come into a new space not wanting to come across as not feeling like they belong, or maybe they shouldn't be at a Cornell. That's definitely not the case. What we want is not for snowflakes to turn into avalanches as it relates to you utilizing resources.
So use your resources early. Understand that your student has all the abilities and talents and experiences to be successful. And I know that they'll do well.
ZEBADIAH HALL: We have heard from Residential Life and talked about leadership and connected. We heard from learning strategies that a successful student actually asks for help and guidance. We
Heard from OADI that we know that you, personally, the student personally is capable. The support system that they had has gotten this far. And it's on us to help them get further.
We also heard from Catherine talk about many ways in how the Skorton Center connects so many different people within the community. As I think about engaging and how can you play a vital role in that student first year, I think about the things that you know from supporting the student that the student doesn't even realize you may do to support them.
When I think about it from an accommodation standpoint, I think about what are those nuances, or what are those things that you know that gives that student access and opportunity to participate fully. And if there is information that you know, if there is nuances that you know, it's important to equip and empower that student with that information, so we can work with that information and put an appropriate accommodation in place.
Most importantly, reach out, engage, connect. We're here to support the students in the ways that are appropriate so they can engage with the Cornell experience that's appropriate for them that achieves their goals.
DEVAN CARRINGTON: All right, so from a housing and residence life perspective, how can parents, families support their students throughout the first year? Encourage them that they're enough, that they're able, that they're ready. We've heard about this from our fellow panelists here. But it's really going to be the additional coaching and additional cheerleading that's going to come from the families.
You know, my staff and our student leaders that are in the halls, are going to be able to be there for your student. But we don't know all those daily routines. We don't know when a student's going to not feel right, when they're going to feel pressure and anxiety.
They may not be willing to tell a peer or one of my staff members they're not doing well, because they might feel like that's a burden that we're putting on someone. Or they might feel that if they show their vulnerability, or show that weakness if you will, that they're not good enough to be here.
Well, your job as families is going to be there to support them on the back end. And also remind them that they're enough. That everything that they are accomplishing here is because of their own hard work, their dedication, and that we're just here to help them out. We're just here to back them up if they need it.
We're here to back you up. If you think that your student needs to hear from someone else that they're enough, tell them, go talk to the RA. Our RAs are all upper-level students who have probably been through similar situations as your student. They've all been first years, or transfer students here who have gone through it. They recognize it.
All of my professional staff that live in the halls are all master level. They've gone through it. They've gone through it several times over and seen students much like yours succeed here at Cornell. So remind them that they can do it. It's possible.
And also, if they need another boost, another high five, another socially distant hug, then they can come through us. And they can ask for that additional support. If they need to find some friends, if they need to build their network a little bit more, encourage them to do that. We, as human beings, need social interaction.
We need those basic things to really feel like we belong in our hole. And that's where we come in. You may not be there physically. But we can be there for them. Just remind them of that.
CATHERINE THRASHER-CARROLL: So families can help their students by encouraging the student to address any challenges or struggles when they first arise so that they don't actually snowball into bigger issues. Along with that, it's really important that the student hears from their family that seeking support is a good way to handle things, that seeking support from one of the resources here is actually a sign of strength and intelligence. We don't want anybody suffering in silence. And we are here to actually provide support, resources, and help with problem solving.
The other really important thing that families can do is remind the student that you believe in their ability to figure things out, either by themself, or with the support of a friend or a professional resource and that you love them no matter what. So I think that's really what I want to say about family support.
MIRANDA SWANSON: As my colleagues have mentioned, your role as parents and guardians is really in transition now. You're shifting to a role of influencing your student. It's impossible to control when they go to bed, when they get up, what they eat, whether they go to class, any number of things. It's important for you to shift from being the one in control to being a mentor for your student.
One of the most important things you can do is just to be supportive and encouraging. It's important to listen without fixing. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your student is to help them believe in their own ability to make decisions.
Try not to tell them what to do unless asked. Remember, the resources are here, but students need to activate them. I also want to add that the ways in which you may have supported your student in high school, for example, proofreading and editing drafts of papers, are not appropriate now that they're in college. In the same way that your student is now responsible for their own time management, they're responsible for their own academic work.
To be explicit, I'm referring to our expectations regarding academic integrity. Many academic integrity offenses result from poor decisions made in moments of stress or not knowing or understanding certain rules. You can help your student by encouraging them to be proactive about reaching out for support when they are struggling. And you've heard this. They should do it early, not late in the game.
So using office hours, tutoring opportunities, and resources like Learning Strategy Center are just a few examples of people in places that can help. You've heard this from my colleagues, which tells you just how important it is. So I want to reiterate it again. You can support your student by reminding them and encouraging them to use the services that Cornell has available.
AMY GODERT: I want to reiterate something that Miranda just mentioned. The LSC does have time management resources that are available for your students. And they can access those on the LSC web page. High school and college are different in terms of schedule, time, autonomy, expectations. Just because your student is in less classes, it doesn't mean that they have less work, and it doesn't mean that they have more time.
College classes are almost always going to ask them to do more than just memorize things. They need to be able to apply and evaluate, and probably by the time they're graduated, create new knowledge in their fields and in their disciplines. Your student is going to have much more autonomy in how they use their time while they're here. And it's really helpful that for them to set up calendars and schedules so that way, they can use their time effectively.
I want to just say one other thing, and to emphasize again what you've heard, that listening to your student is probably going to be one of the most important things that you're going to be able to do for your student while they're here. As you talk with your student, celebrate their successes and the things that they're excited about in the various activities that they're engaging in. And just listen when they need to vent.
And think about how you're asking your questions. You know, as a parent, if you ask a yes/no question, you're probably going to get a yes/no response. If I ask my daughter, how was school today, she's going to say, fine. So think about how you frame those questions, and so you can try and get a little bit more information.
And remember, sometimes your student just isn't going to want to talk that day. So instead of asking, are your classes going OK, yes or no. Ask, what's interesting? Or what are you learning about in your favorite class? Or have any of the classes you're in changed the way you think about something or change something you used to believe or thought to be true?
That's what Cornell's about, these transformational experiences for your student. Instead of asking you know, how was orientation. Try, what was something interesting you learned in orientation? Or what is the strangest group, office, organization, major, discipline that you may have heard about when you were going through orientation? Or instead of, how was your day, which they might respond, fine. Ask, what is something that made you laugh recently? Or what is something that you're excited about next week or the following week or that happened this last week?
Provide some simple and sincere reassurance that you're going to be there for your students. And remember, as you've heard before, they've been successful. They're smart. They're motivated. They have the tools they need to be successful here. And they're going to continue to grow as learners here at Cornell.
WAYNE HILSON: It is coming. I remember back when I was an undergraduate engineering student. And I was the straight-A student coming out of high school. I thought I was Teflon.
But the bad grade came. The extra work came. The sleepless nights came. The 3:00 AM finally getting to bed came.
It's just part of college. The fact that you've been accepted and admitted to Cornell, one of the best institutions in America, if not the world, says that you are indeed ready for that challenge. But there are going to be times where you're going to question, why am I doing this?
And as a family, I think it's important to continually and periodically reflect on the why. Why were you there to support your student doing their educational journey? Why is this educational transition to Cornell such an important piece of, not only the goals and objectives of your student, but also, if you think about the legacy of your family?
And so it'll be during those times where you're questioning whether you're good enough, where you're questioning why am I up at 4:00 in the morning, where some of you may be questioning-- it's a lot of money I'm putting into that check every month-- the why is critically important to not only helping you manage expectations as it relates to understanding that your student may need that extra time to get things done-- that that student may not be able to call you as much as you would have liked because they're going to be studying, and things of that sort. Understanding the why, understanding why as a family it's so important to support your student, and why this education is so important to your student is going to be key moving forward.
I think the last thing that I would say it's critically important to as it related to supporting your student-- and you've heard about resources and things of that sort-- is to help your student, encourage your student to explore as much as possible. We talked about the importance of recognizing and affirming the strengths and talents and capital your students bring to Cornell and how that will inform the way in which they navigate this space. Well, the Cornell experiences are going to inform how they navigate the world once they graduate.
And so we encourage students, and I would encourage you to speak to your student and encourage them to continually explore, continuing to network, but be strategic as it relates to what they commit to. Remember why they're here and remember the why. And I think if you're a student does that, I think they'll be incredibly successful.
ZEBADIAH HALL: We have heard words like trust, listen, explore. How do you actually do those things? Well, I work in Student Disability Services. So I think about this work from a universal design standpoint.
Part of universal design is tolerance of error. As you work in supporting your student, how do you transition and give them the space for tolerance of error when he talked about the first time that he actually failed the class or a test.
We had others alluded to integrity and when people tend to make bad academic choices. Tolerance of error based off the pressure that you, as the family member as the support of structure for that student-- the pressure that you put on them is going to be very important. As I talk about universal design, I think we have to talk about universal design for learning. You are learning to be in a different role now that you're a student and your child is no longer in your house.
So your engagement has to be different, no different than we want them to engage very differently with the academic material. Representation and how you show up in spaces has to be very different, because we're worried about the tolerance of error. And how do you express yourself? How do you have action as you're interacting and engaging with your student that might be struggling, with you're student that might be having success right now? How do you keep it grounded and focused on the goal and the why we are here?
We're here to support your student. We're here to support you. But you have to engage differently as we all grow and learn and transform to close out so they can graduate with a Cornell degree.
BRANDON AXELROD: In terms of a resource that I would think is really, really helpful, and the one that nobody knows about, but everyone should know about is the Knight Writing Institute. So this is a free service offered to all Cornell students where you can submit a piece of writing at any point in the writing cycle, and they will help you with it. So these are English majors and graduate students.
And you can come in with just a prompt within any discipline, or an entire completed draft. And they were super skilled at latching on, understanding what you're trying to say, and will ask you the right questions to guide you to kind of get that-- you know, from nothing on the page to a completed draft with a great grade in the classroom. So I would definitely say take advantage of signing up for Knight Writing Institute sessions.
THOMAS PETLUCK: So when it comes to people and just resources in general that I feel that's helped me with my Cornell journey so far, I think of like two. The first is like more university wide. I actually found them through CU IMAGE, which is one of the organizations I'm a part of.
And it was the Undergraduate Admissions Office. I went to them one time-- well, actually several times-- for financial aid issues. But I go to them beyond that just to like talk and do some volunteer work. Like, they're open and engaging with the student body. And honestly, I'm very thankful to have the opportunity know them on kind of a more like, interactive level. They do the behind-the-scenes work. So it's kind of nice to, I guess, see what they do.
And the other resource that I lean towards is AP Connect, which is like the Career Services and Internship Office that [INAUDIBLE] at Cornell. And for me, like I go there time to time when it comes to like, internship advise or just resume review. And Brista and Marjorie, those are the two that work in AP Connect. Like honestly, they're like my go-to people when it comes to like, that kind of advice and just like, career advances.
ABIGAIL PIO: A person that has been helpful to me during my Cornell journey has been my Spanish professor. He's actually my advisor now. And I come to him, not only when I need advice on how to write a paper or what I need to add or take out, but I also come to him when I'm feeling anxious or when I have concerns.
Sometimes I have not so great days. And I feel like maybe this isn't my major or maybe this isn't my minor, maybe I don't want to be a professor anymore, or I don't want to go into this career anymore. And I go to him to kind of figure it out. And a lot of the times, he shares with me his stories about what he has gone through and how many times he has changed his mind and when he found his passion.
And it's just nice to have that person. Even though you look up to them so much and maybe you feel like they're perfect or they have the dream position, they got there through a lot of hard work and a lot of change. So I go to him for that.
MELISSA LOUIE: So like I said, I was part of AguaClara, which is a research group. And my professor in that research group for the first two years was Monroe Weber-Shirk. He was a professor in the civil and environmental engineering department. And he has been really helpful in my growth at Cornell.
He taught me how to set up experiments and do really good research and get really thorough results, but also, how to ask questions in the right manner and how to just be really humble while working with a lot of different people, how to work with people from different countries and different backgrounds and always be humble while doing so. And he also really valued my input even as a freshman, even as an underclassmen. And that really made me feel valued at Cornell. So that was-- he was one person who really helped me grow.
MORIAH ADEGHE: So there were a few different people and resources that were helpful to me within my Cornell journey. The first was one of my professors, who also happened to be the dean of Undergraduate Studies for my major, which is policy , analysis, and management. And so he was a great resource to talk to about academic affairs and different classes I was taking, as well as extracurriculars and study abroad and different things that I wanted to get involved with.
And he was a really great person to reach out to. And he had open office hours often. And I would go in and talk to him, and he was a great resource for me and helpful to me within my studies in PAM, and then also just within my extracurricular life.
And then as far as other resources, I felt that the online resources that Cornell has were really incredible. And there's a plethora of them online. I would usually just Google search different questions I had. And I could either find the answer on one of Cornell's websites, or at the very least, I could find the person that I needed to talk to get the answers. So definitely taking advantage of the advising staff within the college, and then also just on-line resources, because there's a lot of them. And the websites that Cornell has there are usually really in-depth.
ALICIA TAN: I think academically, one of the biggest resources you could have is in Katherine Wood Library, which is a research center. If you have papers and you don't know where to begin, or if you have assignments and you want to know more, they are so useful. They basically help your research in any way, whether it's about where to start or where to continue from or how to give you other ideas about roads to go on that maybe you might not have heard of. They are a great resource. And ILR in general, has done a great job in building the support system for their students, whether it's academically with the research center in the library, or whether it's like, personally with how kind and welcoming the faculty is.
ROHAN DESAI: So as far as people and resources that have been helpful to me at Cornell, specifically within the Dyson School, we have the Dyson Office of Student Services, which has a vast breadth of resources available to students. And whether it's just something small academically or a career question, this office is very flexible and willing to meet students needs whenever. And that really helps just being able to ask a question whenever about anything.
And as far as specific people, I would say Dyson professors are also just very helpful. Going back on how classes in Dyson are relatively small, you have a lot of opportunities to interact with professors personally. And they have a lot of availability at office hours.
And they're really willing to help students who seek help. So it's definitely important to try to keep in touch with them. And also, utilize the Office of Student Services whenever possible.
HUNTER KANE: The resource that has been most helpful to me in my Cornell journey is the Office of Student Services. They help students plan their schedules. They reach out and check in on students. And they inform students of the many resources available to them.
SPEAKER: Thank you for watching this installment of The Family Orientation video information series. We hope that you will join us for the other sessions in the series, which are listed here.
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The Office of New Student Programs created this six-part video series to educate and connect you to the services, programming, and support available to Cornell students. In this video you will learn how to best support your Cornell student both in and outside the classroom. You’ll also receive tips from current students.