[MUSIC PLAYING] RYAN LOMBARDI: Good morning. How's everyone feeling this morning? Pretty good? Feels good to be at Cornell, right? You bet it does.
Does it feel good to be a Cornell or what?
Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. We get a little energy going. I know it doesn't feel like a very energetic Saturday morning with a little bit drizzly and rainy. But we're going to try and have some fun this morning, enjoy our time together for the next 45 minutes or so.
Really pleased to be with you this morning. My name is Ryan Lombardi. I serve as the Vice President for Student and Campus Life here at Cornell.
Going into my seventh academic year in that role. Really love being a part of the Cornell family. I may have met some of you via Zoom, or you've gotten emails from me or other things like that over the months or the years. Really nice to have a chance to be with you this morning.
I'm joined by my colleague Dr. Amy Godert, who's the Executive Director for Academic Student Success Program. She's down front and will take the stage in a little while after I finish my opening remarks. She's got some advice for you today too.
So today, we're going to spend like I said, about the next 40 to 45 minutes just talking about the transition to Cornell. Some of our advice-- I'll start a little bit more generally from my seat, what I've seen over the last 20 to 25 years in terms of college transitions and how those go, just a little piece of advice for students, for families, and everywhere in between. And then, my colleague will continue with a little more of a focus into the academic sphere, and how you can really set yourself up for academic success while you're here, students. And families, how you can support students in their academic success.
So hopefully you'll enjoy it. Sit back, relax. If people are looking for seats, point them out. If you have empties seat next to you, let them come on in and fill in.
Appreciate the masks this morning. It's not easy. I know it's not always enjoyable. It's not that easy presenting with a mask on. But we're going to do our best as well. So I think it's really important to help keep our community safe right now so we can keep this semester going.
So I mentioned, my name and my title. And I just thought I'd explain for a minute, when I talk about student and campus life what that means. So my role at this University is really to focus on the life outside of the classroom. Whereas my colleague will focus a lot about your classroom experience and your academic experience, my team and I really think about how we can support your holistic experience here at Cornell, because there's a lot of time where you're not in the class.
All the different resources and programs and services that we have to support you during your time here-- think about the places that you live. Everyone's moved in, yes? Has everyone already moved in? Yes?
Anyone still waiting to move in? Not yet. OK, so most people have gotten in. So your residence halls, the places that you'll eat, our health center will help your health and well being-- think about all the clubs and activities you might consider being a part of. Those all fall in student life.
We spend a lot of time thinking about that. Recreation and wellness and physical education, athletic activities, career services-- we'll help you think about your future. We'll support your identity development through the Dean of Students Office and our other support centers.
We'll help you when you get into some difficult times with our crisis services, if you ever need a hand working your way through a difficult moment while you're here at Cornell. So a whole range of support functions that happen outside of the classroom to try to make the most of your experience here at Cornell. And I'll talk about that in a little bit when I get into some of the advice and some of the things that you might think about while you're here.
But before I do that, I want to get a little sense of who is here this morning. So first of all, I know we've got students and families and parents and folks supporting students. So first of all, students, let's see your hands. Who are students in the room?
All right, the class of 2025. If you're a first year student, transfer students, it may be a little different. Welcome. We're so glad you're here.
How about families. Raise your hand if you're a family, a parent supporting a student. Wonderful. Thank you for being here this morning, families. Really appreciate it.
Students, if you're with your families this morning, if they happen to be with you, or those supporting you around you, make sure you thank them. Thank them for all their help getting you here and everything they'll do to support you in the coming years. Make sure you take that time.
Do it now. Do it often. That's my advice.
I'm going to ask a couple of questions for families-- parents and families. Would you do me a favor and raise your hand if this is the first student that you've sent off to college-- first student? OK, a lot of first timers here. OK.
I know there's a lot of emotions going on right now, a lot of mixed feelings, probably some enthusiasm, probably some anxiety. Totally normal. Students are going through that too.
I will try to give you some advice as you think about that transition and what it's like sending your first off to college. I know some of our parents here in the room though, have sent others off to college. So I want to, by a show of hands, ask for families who maybe they're sending their last kid off to college. Anyone here?
Did anyone notice how much quicker those hands went up?
Like, yes! And now, I've got a home weight room. I've got a sewing room, an extra study, whatever it is. They're ready to go.
All joking aside, I know that's a transition too, if it's your last student to go off to college. Very much appreciate that too. You're going back to the empty nest.
Maybe there's some excitement there based on how fast the hands went up. Maybe there's also a little bit of anxiety. So totally appreciate that all the way through.
Let me come back to the group that-- families that just raised their hand that's sending their last off to college. If you would, raise your hand back up if you have sent two students-- two or more students off to college. Would you put your hand up? Two or more students off-- and keep them up for a second.
OK, keep them up if you have sent three or more students to college. So put them down if not three or more. Keep them up high so I can see-- three or more.
OK, we've a couple-- any four or more? Four or more? Right-- is it five-- five or more? Six, seven-- five? OK, five. I was like, oh, my gosh.
OK, hang on a second. Five or more in the back-- what I'm going to do now-- yeah. That's right.
Absolutely deserves a round of applause and then some. And what I'm also going to do is turn this mic over to her, and let her get-- she's like, no, no, no, no.
But if you noticed, she'll truly be the one that has the great advice for you having sent five or more to college. Congratulations. That's quite a feat. I won't even ask you what the emotions are going through for you right now as you go through that.
All right. Thanks for joining along with that and getting a sense of who's in the room this morning, and appreciate all of the transitions that everyone has gone through, either this year or in previous years. All right, so the things I want to talk about today, just a couple of things, one, what to expect from your student. What some of the things you are might expect from your student.
And again, I know some of the veteran parents in here might have a perspective on that or two. I want to talk a little bit about what to expect from yourself, as a family member, as someone supporting your students. What you might expect from yourself. And again, some of the things that I may have learned over the time in supporting students and families.
Third, I want to share a little bit about what you can expect from Cornell. What the Cornell experience is hope-- we hope it will be like, and the partnership that we hope to form with you in that journey. And then, I'll end with just a little bit of advice from my seat, before I turn it over to my colleague to talk about academic success. So I'll end with a little bit of advice.
So those are the four things I'm going to hit-- what to expect from your student, what to expect from yourself, what to expect from Cornell, and some advice. And I know what the students in the room-- when I say what to expect from your student, you got to check me on that and make sure that those are accurate things. I was talking to a couple of students earlier this morning as they're getting settled. And I know you'll keep me honest, right? All right.
So first of all, what to expect from your student. First of all, it's a time of growth and development. We genuinely hope that their time here at Cornell allows them to continue to grow and thrive and figure out what's most important to them, how to become the best versions of themselves, and to really continue that development.
It's not a time where they come to college, and they should be the same exact person when they leave that they came in with. They should continue to grow and develop and learn. It's not the point where you say, OK, we're done. They're done growing. All they're going to do now is go assume some knowledge and that's it.
It's really about that continued growth. One of the things I encourage folks to do is think back, rewind four years ago. For family members, rewind four years ago, and think about where your student was as they were getting ready to start high school. Think about that young person at that point, how you remember them, what they were like, all kinds of things-- academically, as a person, everything in between.
And then think today. Look at them sitting next to you if they're with you. If they're not with you, think about them. So much has changed in those four years, so much growth, so much development.
You should expect a similar amount of growth and development over the next four years. Expect that. Don't be surprised when it happens. Don't get anxious when it happens. That's part of the developmental process. That's part of what should happen for young adults-- continue to grow, continue to learn about themselves and the things that are important to them.
For some students, this might be the first time living away from home. For others, not so much. Maybe they've attended school elsewhere, maybe they've traveled extensively. Everyone is going to respond to this transition differently. Every student will be different in the way they respond.
So be flexible. Know your student. Know what they might be going through or not going through. And be flexible with them.
Remember that your students-- they will make mistakes. This is going to be a hard time. College is not a coast. It's not a glide job. It's not easy.
And we make mistakes as human beings. We do things that we regret. We make a mistake. We think we would make a decision differently if we had the chance to do it over.
That is part of how we develop and grow and learn and become better people. So don't get anxious if that happens. Students, don't get anxious if that happens to you. That is part of life.
Sometimes, at places like Cornell, students and families can put so much pressure on themselves that they feel like they can never make a mistake. I hear this quite a bit. The stakes are so high.
You will and you can make mistakes. And this is actually the place where you can do it. And it's a relatively safe place to do it, so that you can learn and grow and become a better person, so that after college, you're less prone to make some of those mistakes or some of those missteps. So know that those will happen.
And then parents, I'll give you some advice about how to respond when that does happen. Families, your students are still going to need you. You're going to get the frantic call. You're going to get the emotional call or text or however you communicate. Your students will still need you.
So figure out how that relationship is going to work, how that communication is going to work, how you're going to lean in when you need to lean in to make sure to have that continued relationship. And students will surprise you.
Students, you will surprise yourselves, unquestionably. Embrace that. Enjoy it. And cherish it. That is part of the journey, absolutely part of the journey.
Now, families, parents-- and I know we've got parents, we've got families, we've got grandparents, we've got everyone who's supporting students here-- what to expect from yourself. It's going to be hard for you too. It's a transition for you too, whether you're sending your last away and you have the empty nest, whether you're sending your first away and there's a lot of emotions that go along with that too. Wherever you are in that journey, acknowledge that it's going to be a transition.
And you're going to have to think about your role now as that supporter, as that ally, as that advocate for your student, and how that's going to transition. So be intentional about thinking about that. I'll tell you now, you are going to want to save the day, unquestionably. Those of us who are parents, that's what we always want to do.
I wanted to do it this morning before I left the house to come in when my youngest was struggling with something. Sometimes, you just have to know when you have to let the student work their way through an issue on their own and know that that's going to help them grow and learn those lessons that we just talked about. You are going to want to save the day. Know when you need to step in, and know when you should stand back and let them figure it out for themselves.
Now, families, one of the most important skills and strategies you can provide your students is to help them figure out how to seek help. Best thing you can do is help them understand all the resources that are in a place like Cornell and how to seek out those resources on their own, because we're all going to need help. We all need help at some point in our lives.
Students, you will need help at some point while you're here. And that's OK. That's what we're here for. That's why all these people get up every day and come to Cornell to help support your experience, to help you.
So don't feel like you're being a burden. Families, don't feel like you're being a burden if you ask for help-- if you help your student ask for help. Families, encourage them to figure out how to do that, because you won't always be there to do it for them. Best thing a student can do is figure out how to ask for help.
So I'll confess that my kids aren't in college yet, just a couple of years away. That'll happen. But I've talked to an awful lot of parents over the years who have gone through this journey, whether it's one time or multiple times. And they always tell me that parenting is as hard as it's ever been when your students are in college.
Again, I'm not saying that from my first-hand experience. I'm saying that from many, many other parents that I've spoken to. And the reason is not because you have to watch over them 24/7 the way you might have when they were younger or going through the teenage fun that I'm going through right now with my daughters, anything like that. But because you have to figure out a new relationship and a new dynamic and what that means. And figuring out that relationship, and figuring out that communication, is more challenging than ever.
And then finally, advice to families, parents, don't be too hard on yourself. And don't be too hard on your students. We all want to push our students to do better, to do great.
Let me give you a newscast. The students sitting in this room this morning, all the students who are coming to Cornell this year, are the very best and brightest students in the world. Yes.
There are 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Cornell is routinely in the top 20 of those institutions. And I know there's always like, well, number 16 or number 14 or number 18.
I mean, come on. There's 4,000 universities. So don't be too hard, students, on yourselves. You belong here. You were accepted because you're wonderful. And we want you to thrive.
And families, don't be too hard on them. I remember a story from years ago. I was working at Duke University. It was the end of the first semester. I was doing a session with parents. And it was just a parent's session, kind of debriefing after the first semester.
It was a real shock to me. A parent raised their hand, very concerned looked on their face. They said, Dean Lombardi, I have a question. I have a question for you. I'm really concerned.
I said, what is it? Said, I don't know what to do. This semester, my student got their first B.
I was about to say, congratulations. And I wasn't sure exactly how I would respond. And I was really fortunate that another parent saved me, because they quickly chimed in and said, I wish my kid got a B.
Just bringing a little levity excuse me, to the conversation again. Just don't be too hard on yourselves. Don't be too hard on the students.
Now, what to expect from Cornell. Let me just tell you that Cornell University has really, one primary goal-- I'm making sure that's not my phone-- one primary goal in mind here for all the students in the room, families, for your students, we want them to be successful. We want them to thrive. We want to get a wonderful education. We want them to have a wonderful time while they're here, to be happy, to be fulfilled, all of those things.
So we have shared goals, shared goals of what we want for students. We really do want the same thing. We may not always agree on how we think we should get there, or the right decision at this point or that point. But the end goal is the same. We want students to be successful, to be happy, to be fulfilled, to have a great experience here at Cornell, and to be ready to go conquer the world after they leave Cornell.
I assume all the families in this room want the same thing from their students. I'm just going to make that assumption. Maybe that's not the case for everybody. I hope it is. But maybe, that's not the case.
So we're going to do everything we can towards that end. We're going to challenge students, but we're also going to support them, like a good coach. A good coach is always going to push you to do your best, to work your hardest. But you're always going to know they have your back too. They're always going to go to bat for you.
That's the way we like to think of our relationship with students. So just know that. We have a lot of resources in place to help students.
Dr. Godert will share a few more of these when she gets up here. But please know again, help your student seek those resources. Give them some advice about how to pursue those resources.
One of the most fundamental things I want to just touch on briefly, as one specific resource is around health and well-being. Health and well-being is really a foundational element to everybody. We have a lot of resources here on campus to help students from a medical perspective, from a mental health perspective.
I encourage you, families, check out a new website we just launched a few days ago, mentalhealth.cornell.edu. A lot of resources on there about how you can help and support your students. There's a session right after ours this morning around health and well-being, where they'll get into a lot of discussion about this, can answer questions about it, and give you a lot of good information around those ends.
So we consider ourselves to be partners with you in this journey. Know that our goals, I think, are largely the same in what we hope for the outcomes. And we're going to be with you every step of the way.
Now, I will say, the conditions around which we plan to have this academic year continue to change. You know, six months ago when we were planning for fall, we didn't think we'd be wearing masks. We didn't think we'd have to do many of the things that we now have in place for this fall.
We'll continue to communicate with you. We'll continue to share information, be as transparent as possible, as we try to respond to the emerging conditions around us. Appreciate your patience with that.
And now finally, cause I need to make sure to get Amy up here, I want to give you a couple of pieces of advice from my seat. And I know Amy has a lot of things to share with you as well.
Parents and families, take advantage of that network of parents. I know there's some great resources out there. Meet other parents.
I know there's a pretty active social media presence for parents too, on Facebook, right? Yep. I get a lot of emails after discussions happen on Facebook, as you might imagine.
Students, don't even go there. Students are like, don't worry. Facebook is so old. Parents, families, take advantage of those resources, make the connections that are out there.
Have the difficult conversations with your students early on. Set those expectations about what this relationship is going to look like now. How are you going to communicate? What it's going to be like.
If you think your student's going to have a heck of a time waking up on their own, let them know now that you're not going to be the alarm clock anymore. That's not going to happen. Still happens in my house, but I'm very excited for that to end, for all the first timers who are going through this.
Give them space. And stay connected at the same time. So figure out that balance. Have the tough conversation, but figure out that balance.
My colleague will speak about this. But the greatest piece of advice I can give you, students and families to encourage your students while you're here is to connect with the faculty. We have the world's greatest minds at this university, the best professors there are. And it is a waste of your education not to get to know them, students, and not to get to utilize their expertise.
I always suggest a very, very simple thing. Every semester, you're going to have four or five classes. At the end of the first class or the second class, maybe the first week when you've gone to a new class, students, walk up to the professor at the end of class. Take 20 seconds out of your life, walk up to them, introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Ryan Lombardi. I'm in your class this semester. I'm looking forward to it. Have a nice day. That's all it takes.
You've just-- you've just helped the professor put a name with the face. They'll see you in class when they're teaching, if you bump into him in the hallway. It'll make a difference. Over four years, you'll build relationships with these wonderful faculty members that can help you and support you in your educational journey.
Students and families, students, get involved in campus. Families, encourage campus involvement. But don't overdo it.
So most of you probably, when you're in high school, were involved in everything, right? 20 different clubs and organizations, a varsity athlete, you know, president of like six of them-- you couldn't do enough, right? I see some people looking next to each other.
Get involved here too. It will enrich your academic journey, whether you're playing a sport, whether you're getting involved with a club or a student organization, or fraternity, sorority, whatever it is, do get involved. It will make a difference for you.
But resist the temptation to do what you did in high school and get involved in too much stuff. Instead here, I suggest you pick just a couple of things that maybe you're really passionate about, that you really want to dig into. And get involved in those things.
Or maybe, it's something that you've never done before that you really want to explore. You really didn't have a chance to do it in high school, and you want to dig into it now. So do get involved.
But remember to moderate. You've got to stay focused on your academics, and on your health and well-being. We'll talk about that more. I know, Amy has a lot to say about that. Get plenty of sleep and rest.
I advise a student organization years ago. They used to wear a T-shirt proudly that said, I'll sleep when I die. That has a bad logo. Even when you get to my age-- and I like to think I'm not that old, but my kids tell me differently-- sleep really does matter. So make sure you do it.
Students, we are so glad you are here. Family members, were so thankful to be a partner with you in this journey. We wish you nothing but the best.
Stay connected. Have an amazing time. And soak it in. Stop worrying about what's happening next to you. Stop worrying about what's happening next. And enjoy this moment.
It's a very special time in your lives. Family, it's a very special time for your students. Do all you can to help them on this journey.
I appreciate you being here this morning. I'm really pleased to introduce Dr. Amy Godert, who as I said, is the Executive Director for Academic Student Success Programs to give you a little advice about succeeding academically here at Cornell. Thank you very much.
AMY GODERT: Thanks, Ryan. Good morning, everybody. How are you today? Good.
So my name is Amy Godert. I am Executive Director of Academic Student Success Programs here at Cornell. I've been here now in my role, "ish," for about 10 years. I was actually a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology here for about five years.
So I have a lot of familiarity with Cornell. I've been here for a little bit. And I'm going to share some things with you about the academic experience here, and the transition to college.
So first, I actually want to say one thing. So how many people found it hard to get here, to find this building and this room within the building? All right, you don't have to admit it. I get lost all the time on campus. And as you've heard, I've been here for a few years. So don't feel bad about getting lost.
But if you know your schedule, students, take a look at the buildings and the rooms that you're going to be some. Take some time to navigate this campus. Good exercise, walk to those rooms, find those locations before your first day of class, so you're not running around looking for places. And the campus can be a little bit difficult to navigate at times.
So I'm going to share with you a few things, like I said, about the transition here to Cornell. But I wanted to share first, some things. I have the opportunity to talk with some incoming first-year students every summer. And I ask them a couple of questions every summer.
They are, what are you excited about, and what are you nervous about. Interestingly, the answers to those two questions are very similar. And I'm guessing, students here, you're going to have some of those same exciting things and same nervous things. Parents, you might share some of those as well.
So I'm just going to mention what they are, so that way, you know that this is actually quite normal. Like, if you're feeling any of these things, that's a really normal experience. So some of the things that the students-- many of your peers-- said this summer were about being excited and nervous about the changes, being in a new environment, learning a new context here at Cornell, being here in Ithaca, which might be very different from the place that you're coming from, meeting new people, making new friends, making those connections.
And I'm going to talk more about that. And you heard VP Lombardi talk about that as well. Students are also really excited and nervous about what I'm going to be talking a little bit more about today, the classes, and the intellectual challenges that they're going to face.
You're certainly going to be pushed here at Cornell. And that's part of what we do here in the educational experience that you have. I'm going to talk more about that.
But before I go into challenges that you're going to face and a little bit more about the academic day-to-day experience that you might have, I want to take a big step back. And I want to do a quick activity with you all. And I'm going to invite your participation in this.
So what I'm going to ask you to do is that if you are a student, I want you to think about this for yourself. If you're a parent, I want you to be thinking about your student. You've all had different paths here, lots of opportunities that were presented to you on your way here. You're going to have even more that are going to happen while you're here at Cornell.
I want you to think about, what are the two to three skills, qualities, values, characteristics that got you, students, to this day, to where you are right now? So I'm just going to give you a minute to think about those things.
Turn to the person next to you. Share them. If you want to share with the family next to you, because you're really excited about your student, you can certainly do that. I'm sure you are.
So please, take a minute. I want to hear some talking going on in here. Think about what those two to three things are, and then, share them. I'm going to be quiet.
All right, I'm going to have to cut us off. Some faculty have different techniques for stuff. So students, if this is like your first like academic kind of thing, experience, you might-- you're going to probably see something like this in your classes a lot, something we call like, a think, pair, share. You think about something. You pair up, and you share it with someone else sitting next to you.
Something that's going to happen quite a bit in some of your classes that you're going to be taking here. So this is just a sneak peek.
But I wanted to do this, because I think what's important is that as students, as parents, what's good to remember is that these things that you just talked about or thought about-- these are what ground you. This is what got you to where you are today.
This is what's going to get you through. This is your scaffolding to get you through the four years here, and not just here, but wherever you decide to go on your past beyond Cornell. Go back to those skills, values, characteristics, whatever they are, and remember, those are what makes you who you are. And that's what's going to carry you through your journeys here.
OK, so you have what it takes to be here. You do belong here. You wouldn't be here if you didn't have what it took. So go back to those things.
Now, I want to share a little bit about the academic experience here and go through maybe, what you might see on a day-to-day basis as a student. And, of course, what you're going to see on a day-to-day basis is going to vary depending on the day.
So I want to just mention a few things. One, is that unlike high school, where you're in classes from like 8:30 until 3:30 regularly, Monday through Friday, asterisk there, that with COVID, that might be a little bit different. I don't know what your experiences were like in high school.
And then, you'd hear a bell. And you go from one period to the next. That's not what it's going to be like here.
Instead of being in like 9 to 10 periods like you were in high school, what you're going to have here, like VP Lombardi mentioned, four to five different classes or courses that you're going to be in. Something to think about is those courses, they might meet for three hours a week. They might meet for hours a week. Some of them maybe only one hour a week.
For every contact hour that you have, so every hour you meet during the week in a course, what that generally means-- a good rule of thumb-- is that you're going to be doing about three to four hours outside of class for that particular course. So if you have a course that meets for 3 hours, 9 to 12 hours of work outside of class.
Do the math. Four or five classes-- and guess what? You've got a full time job being a student, doing your work. So I want you to remember that, right? Because there is a lot of work to be a student, to do all of the things that you need to do for these courses that you're going to be in. Remember, it is like a full-time job.
The number of classes that you have in a day might vary. Like I said, in high school, you're probably in the same classes throughout the day. You're switching periods.
At Cornell, maybe you're in the same class Monday, Wednesday, Friday for 50 minutes. And then Tuesday, Thursday, a different class for 75 minutes. Maybe you have four classes on one day. The next day, you have zero classes.
So it's going to vary from day to day. And guess what? Next semester, it's going to be completely different, because you're going to be enrolled in completely different courses as well.
So if anyone looks at social media, one of the questions I saw on one of the social media sites was, are Cornell courses harder than high school courses? Did anyone see that? I'm sure you did.
What was the answer? Yes? Yeah, they are. And so why are they harder?
The reason that they're harder is because of the level of learning that's expected in the college classroom. So a lot of the courses in high school you take, you're expected to remember certain facts, and say those facts back out, multiple choice questions, things like that. Maybe you're asked do a little bit more than that.
At Cornell, remember, you have some amazing faculty that are at the top of their fields, doing scholarly activities. They're creating new knowledge all the time. At Cornell, not only are you going to be expected to know those things that I was talking about, you're going to have to be able to apply them to new situations that maybe you have not seen in that way before.
You're going to have to adapt and be flexible and apply knowledge in new ways. Maybe by the end, if you're engaged in scholarly activities or research with faculty, you might be creating your own new knowledge, along with those faculty members. So think about that when you're taking your courses. That's part of the reason why there's that expectation of that out-of-class work that you're going to be doing for the courses you're in.
The other thing that I want to quickly mention here is that in your first semester and first year, you're probably going to be having a number of meetings, whether they be a first-year seminar, or individual meetings with advisors that you're going to have. So how many people have met with their advisor? I see a few hands.
If you haven't met with them yet, you're probably going to be meeting with someone at some point, whether it be in a seminar or some other kind of format. These are really great meetings to talk about the courses that you might want to take, to think about some of the challenges that you might face to help you focus in on some things that you're going to be doing. So talk with your advisors. They're a great resource.
The other thing I want to mention is that every college is a little bit different here at Cornell. There are seven undergraduate colleges. When I was a graduate student, I had no idea that there were seven undergraduate colleges here at Cornell. But there are seven undergraduate colleges here.
Each is a little different, as I said. Make sure that you go to those college orientation sessions to be familiar with what your college has to offer, because different colleges have different types of things that they do.
So I want to talk now about some of the challenges that you might face, particularly in the academic context. So I'm going to go over a few of these. The first is, as you heard VP Lombardi allude to, time management. There are so many things to do here, so many different classes you can take-- magical mushrooms and mischievous molds, archaeology courses, ancient Greek history courses, winemaking and wine tasting courses, so many different courses that are available for you to take.
There's also so many extra and co-curricular activities you can engage in, from social activities, sports, clubs, all of those different things that you have to pick from. One of the things that VP Lombardi also mentioned is that exploring is great, but don't over-commit. You don't have to have 5 million things on your resume.
So you want to be maintaining some focus on your academics that you are engaged in. You don't want to focus on academics at the expense of your well-being. Sleep is really important. I'm going to share a little anecdote about that in a minute.
But when I say focus in on your academics, I think the first thing I would say is go to class. And go to class and pay attention in class. Shoe shopping, watching whatever sports on your phone-- that's not paying attention in class. Go to class, and actually take notes, pay attention to what's happening.
When you set time aside in your calendars to study and to work on your coursework, do that. Don't watch whatever the latest binge thing is on Netflix. I know we can all get sucked down that little rabbit hole. But be very thoughtful about your focus and your attention when you're thinking about the academic work that you're doing.
I want to emphasize the maintaining balance. However you do that-- ways of decompressing, going out for a walk, exercising, running, whatever it is for you, making sure that you're eating. If you don't eat, you're not going to be able to stay awake in class. It's going to be really hard for you to focus. And sleeping.
So one of my favorite study strategies that I will share with you when I was in college, is that I would study for my exams-- at Cornell, exams are tests or prelims, in case you don't know, that's what we call them here-- so I'll be studying for my tests. And I would set a time on the night before my test.
And I would say, all right, at this time, I'm going to put the books away. And I'm going to go to bed. So I'd put the books on my bed, put my pillow on top of the books, and I would go to bed.
And the idea here was that the information would come up through the pillow and into my brain. OK, that didn't actually work that way. Osmosis, for those of you who are familiar with this, that doesn't actually work through a pillow.
Permeable membranes, yes. But pillows, no. So what did it do?
It forced me-- I set a bedtime. Sleeping is really critical for learning. A lot of research in this area. So don't underestimate the importance for sleep, especially because a lot of the material in your course-- it's not just do it on that prelim and then you're done with it. It actually carries over into the next set of prelims that you might have. So sleep is really important.
What are some Cornell resources that are available for thinking about your time management and focusing in and prioritizing things? I mentioned advisors for advice on coursework, things like that.
One of my biggest things for students here, calendars. Map out your semester calendar. No when those important due dates are so you can plan backwards. So that way, you have the time you need to get these things done, and so you can sleep.
Think about your weekly and daily calendars. Find time to get your work done. So that way, you can have more time-- like, during the day, get your work done during the day, so we have more time in the evening to do more fun activities, socializing, things like that.
And for more exciting study strategies, not like the sleeping with the books under your pillow, we have a Learning Strategy Center for some study strategies and tips for how you can adapt some of the things you might have done in high school for success here at Cornell. Second, and we heard VP Lombardi talk about this as well. And this is really important.
We are at Cornell for one reason. And that-- well, maybe not one reason. There's probably many reasons-- but one of the reasons you're here is to learn new things.
Now, if you go back to learning new things and past experiences, were you able to do them perfectly the first time, every time you tried something new? I see heads shaking no. No.
Part of learning is making mistakes. Part of learning is to ask for help when you make those mistakes. So one of the things, if you take nothing else away from what I'm going to share with you today, that is to learn from the mistakes that you make and reach out for help when you need it, or even before you meet it.
As VP Lombardi said, you might want to reach out to the faculty-- and I'm going to talk more about this in a second-- before you even have any questions about the material that you're studying. So mistakes are a normal part of learning.
In the Learning Strategy Center, which is where I work, one of the things that we talk about is a growth mindset. Maybe you can't do something right now. But that's because you just can't do it yet. With hard work, with practice, with working through those mistakes, you will be able to make progress on that. So remember that when you're encountering a really difficult class or a really difficult challenge in your lives while you're here.
The other thing that I do want to mention is that there's a lot of support here. I'm going to talk a little bit about what some of those support resources are. So in your courses, a few things to keep in mind-- office hours. Your instructors are going to have office hours for you to take advantage of. Office hours are a great place for you to ask questions about the material, to talk about the course and what you're learning.
Those are staffed also by something we call-- some people we call teaching assistants. These are graduate students who are helping to support learning in some of these large courses that we have. Go to them.
They're often starting in the first week or two of classes. And very few people go. So this is a great time for you to go and get some-- go talk with the instructor. Go talk with the TAs, who are part of those courses.
Your peers are also amazing resources. On the first day of class, turn to the person next to you, exchange information. So that way, you know someone else in the class. If a question comes up, you go to class one day, and you're like, I have no idea what just happened. You can talk to that other person and say, what did you think? What do you think about that?
And if you don't know, you can go together to office hours. Because sometimes, it's easier to go to office hours when you bring a friend with you.
I'm also going to recommend that if you don't want to just turn to the person next to you, the LSC has a study partner matching tool that you can use to sign up to find someone else in the classes that you're in. So you can take a look at that.
Many courses and disciplines have tutoring available. So you can reach out to get tutoring. Different departments have it. Different colleges have it. We also have it in t Learning Strategy Center. And again, the advisors-- they're a great resource for you.
One other group that I do want to mention here actually, quickly, is the Night Writing Institute. For a lot of you are taking first-year writing seminars, or you're going to be working on papers, the Night Writing Institute is a wonderful resource for writing. So make sure you look them up as well.
The last challenge that I'm just going to briefly mention, because VP Lombardi talked pretty much-- it's pretty extensively about it, is that parents, you can't solve all of the student's problems. I know as parents, I'm a parent as well, I really want to try and do that. But I know I have to take that step back. And being in college is another step for the students to become more independent.
So what are the Cornell resources that are available? I've mentioned a lot. We've heard some already earlier today as well. Keep in mind that there are so many resources out there.
The most important thing is that your student is the one in the driver's seat, and they're the ones that need to reach out to get that help and support, to make those connections. So I want to remind us all to go back to those three things that we thought about. Those are the things that are going to get you, like I said, through your academic journey here at Cornell and beyond. So keep those in mind as you're engaged in your coursework, as you're making new friends, as you're going out exploring, growing, becoming more independent.
I'm going to actually stick right here. And I'm going to say, thank you everybody for your attention today. We are actually out of time.
But VP Lombardi and I are going to be up here for a few minutes at the end. I know there's another session in here at noon. But I wanted to thank you for your attention and wish you all the best this fall semester.
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Senior leadership from Student and Campus Life and Undergraduate Education discuss ways in which you can support your student as they begin their college experience at Cornell. This program highlights what to expect the first semester at Cornell, tips for success in and out of the classroom, and typical challenges new students may face during their first year at Cornell.
Presented by Dr. Ryan Lombardi, Vice President of Student and Campus Life and Dr. Amy Godert, Executive Director of Academic Success Programs