10 Tips to a Great Start at CPCC

The start of a new school year is always exciting; from meeting new people, beginning new experiences, maybe a few new clothes, backpacks, pens and paper. But, it can also come with great anxiety and stress. For some of you, maybe this is the first time in a (long) while that you’ve been in school. For some, you’ve just finished high school and are now beginning your journey as a college student. Some of you have left your home in another country, and are beginning your studies in a very new place, perhaps with an environment that is very different from what you’re accustomed to. And some of you might be the first in your family to pursue a college education. Whatever your reasons for being a new student at CPCC, all of us (staff, faculty and yes, your fellow students!) want to offer you our congratulations and support! It’s going to be great.

Every new (and not so new) student needs a few words of wisdom for their first week. We promise that if you carry these 10 easy tips with you, you’ll be off to a great start. It’ll be graduation before you know it.

1.      Go to class.

This might seem obvious, but it’s really important. College is like running a marathon, and every class is a mile-marker. You can’t do all the things you need to do as a successful student if you’re not in class and plugged into what’s happening. College classes often have fewer assignments and tests, and the material can be more complex. Being in class is important, not only because your teacher will have an attendance policy, but because if you’re not there you’re limiting your own success.

2.      Get to know your teachers.

Guess what? Community college teachers really like students. For many of them, that’s why they choose to teach here, versus other colleges and universities. I promise you – if you go up to your teacher before class starts, offer them a handshake, a smile, and your name – you’ll be off to a great start. It’s likely that your teacher teaches at least one other class (or as many as five others), so if you can offer up a nice first-impression that can carry you a long way. Letting your teachers know that you’re going to be committed to their class is often an investment in their commitment to you.

3.      Ask for help.

No one likes to admit that they’re not good at something, or that they don’t understand something, or that they aren’t sure they can make it through the end of the semester. However, it happens to every single one of us. Every student that there ever was – at some point in their educational journey – had a tough time in a class or in life outside of school. As tough as it might be, asking for help can come with great relief. But don’t wait until the stress is too much. Ask early on. Before you find yourself inundated with confusion. Before the next exam or assignment is due. Who can you ask? Lots of people. Your teacher. A counselor at the college. The Academic Learning Center. A classmate. A lab instructor. You’ve got lots of options. Use them!

4.      Get to know someone in every class.

You’re going to be sitting next to the same people, every week, for as many as 16 weeks. Some of these people are definitely worth knowing. Why? Maybe you missed a class and need lecture notes. Maybe you aren’t sure of when the next assignment is due. Maybe they made a great score on the last quiz, and you didn’t do so well. Maybe they know a great study spot on campus. College is a great opportunity for you to make new connections and practice networking skills that will be important in your future life after college. Start practicing now!

5.      Get to know your campus.

Some of you will be at a really big campus, with multiple buildings and entrances. Some of you might be at smaller campuses with one way in and out. Either way, every campus has resources and services that will help you be a successful student. Knowing locations of places like the library, counseling and advising, financial aid, the bookstore, vending machines, student activities, security, and computer labs will be helpful for you as you make your way through the semester.

6.      Do more than just go to class.

It might seem like your life is just too busy to fit one more thing in. It might also seem like some things just “aren’t for you.” I’m going to challenge you to consider that the previous two statements are wrong. Think about joining a student organization. Consider attending a special event on campus, like a festival, a special speaker, a service project, or an arts event. Some people think that you can’t have a “real” college experience at a community college, but really, those people don’t know what they’re talking about. There are plenty of opportunities for you to meet other students, gain leadership experience, have fun, and connect with others at the college and in the community. (Oh, and one added benefit? Participating in these things often results in academic success as well.)

7.      Plan ahead.

So, assuming you’re taking me up on these helpful tips, you’re going to be a busy student! Managing classes, assignments, exams, study groups, student events, and your life outside of school is going to be a challenge. If you think it won’t be, you’re wrong. But, you can start planning now. Arrange for your children to be cared for while you’re in class. Begin looking ahead to the next semester. What might you need to take next? When is it time to think about an internship? When can you register for the next semester? When should you begin applying to transfer or for graduation?

8.      Get a calendar. Use it.

So while you’re planning ahead, you need a way to organize these plans! Whether you’re someone who loves using your iPhone calendar app or a regular paper planner, find the method that works best for you. Gather all your syllabi for the entire semester, and jot down assignments, tests, and other important deadlines. (And don’t forget breaks and days off! Those are great to look forward to!) Practicing good time management skills helps you plan and set aside study time and can help you come in to class prepared. These are great skills to take with you into the workforce!

9.      Get to know your advisor.

One important relationship is with your academic, transfer and/or faculty advisor. These individuals can help you talk about your future plans here at CPCC, but can also help you look forward to the next semester, the next college, or your future career plans. They’re also really connected on campus, and can help recommend you to other helpful resources like Career Services, the Academic Learning Center, or other good places.

10.   Have fun.

Overwhelmed yet? Doing something you like to do can also be an important part of being a successful student. Going to college is stressful. And busy. Time consuming. Sleep depriving, even. Make time to do something you enjoy – spending time with family or friends, exercising, going to the movies, cooking, reading, listening to music. Whatever you enjoy, make time to take a break from the books, connect with others, and relax. School/Life balance is a tricky thing, and lots of college students get caught in one or the other. Do your best to enjoy a healthy moderation of both. You deserve it.

Blog Contributor:
Amanda Capobianchi
Associate Dean of Student Life

Spring Festivals & Celebration

Photo courtesy of stampingjulie.com

While students and faculty are starting to prepare for finals and the end of the semester, the Office of Student Life is gearing up for our annual celebrations of festivals, honor society inductions, and award ceremonies. As we reflect on an entire academic year dedicated to programming and student leadership, we ask that you join us in celebrating our students and building community on campus. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend our upcoming spring festivals where there will be entertainment, food, games, and more.

  • Tuesday, April 8: Harris Campus at 11 am
  • Tuesday, April 15: Harper Campus at 11 am
  • Wednesday, April 23: Central Campus at 10 am & Cato Campus at 10:30 am

For detailed event information, please check the Student Life Events Calendar.

Join a Positive Community for Women

Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

TED Video – Why we have too few women leaders: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions — and offers three powerful pieces of advice to women. Sheryl Sandberg, Founder of LeanIn.org, wants all women to have the confidence and know-how to achieve their goals. This starts with an active and supportive community.

At CPCC, the Positive Community for Women (PCW) was introduced in hopes to bring about a community for women that supports positive communications and relations for women, about women and with women. The mission of PCW is to provide a positive and educational environment where women are empowered and encouraged to improve their lives through education and personal growth. PCW seeks to support and uplift women as a source of awareness of resources and events, a source of support for confidential exchange and mentoring, and a source of advocacy for student endeavors and for dedication to current and on-going issues concerning women.

PCW is hoping to receive support from faculty and students to find a true niche here at CPCC and increase retention for our female students. PCW is open to all CPCC students, faculty, and staff. PCW is currently holding meetings every Wednesday from 2pm – 3pm on Central Campus. For more information about PCW, please contact Danielle Dosunmu at (704) 330-6954 or e-mail at danielle.dosunmu@cpcc.edu.

Upcoming Event at Sensoria:

What is Beauty?
Central Campus, Tate Hall
Wednesday, April 9th
2:00 PM

Our perspective of self-image and “beauty” is often clouded by our own distorted reflections of self and by the altered images promoted widely in mass media. Join us as we explore perspectives of beauty through illustration and portraiture, considering internal and external perspectives of REAL beauty.

Student Club of the Month

Each month we will be highlighting a student club or organization at CPCC that has gone above and beyond in service, fundraising, programming, and overall excellence.

March Club of the Month: Cytotechnology Student Association

The Cytotechnology Student Association (CSA) is comprised of Cytotechnology students, practicing Cytotechnologists, and Pathologists. The CSA strives to educate the community on health issues related to the field of cytology as well as promote the profession of Cytotechnology at the local, state, and national levels.

The Cytotechnology Student Association has once again stepped up in a leadership role with advocating for the upcoming Project Life Bone Marrow Drive. Project Life is a non-profit organization that works directly with college campuses to help add more college students, faculty, and staff to the National Bone Marrow Registry. On February 19th, CSA members and other Health Science students, performed a flash mob in brightly colored shirts that say “Get Swabbed” to go along with the theme for this year’s drive, “Be a Life Saver.”

If you are interested in learning more about Project Life and how you can save someone’s life, please visit the Student Life website or stop by an upcoming bone marrow donor drive at one of the following CPCC campuses.

March 5, 2014
Harper Campus
Location: Classroom 352-D
Time: 11:30am-2:30pm

April 9, 2014
Central Campus
Location: Belk Patio (By Belk and Elizabeth Building)
Time: 9am-3pm

April 22, 2014
Harris Campus
Location: Harris Building I Atrium
Time: 11am-2pm

Get Involved in Student Life

If you are interested in joining the Cytotechnology Student Association, or if you would like to help with upcoming events, please contact Kim Kaylor. If you would like to get involved in another student organization, please visit our EXPLORE page to learn about the 40+ student organizations at CPCC. You can also visit a Student Life office at any campus to learn more about leadership opportunities.

Explore CPCC Student Organizations

One of the great things about college is the opportunity to get involved on campus. College is about making new friends, understanding different perspectives, and experiencing new things. Students should make the most of their college experience and maximize what is learned in the classroom by becoming engaged outside the classroom.

To get started, visit the EXPLORE site for a list of student organizations offered at CPCC, ranging from academic-focused to special interests. With more than 40 recognized clubs, the options are endless for getting involved. Don’t see anything that interests you? Then make sure to read our Explore Handbook to learn how you can establish a new student organization on campus.

If you are already a member of a student organization, make sure you visit the EQUIP site to get more information about club guidelines (including the most up-to-date handbook) and to access all forms related to club activities. If you have questions about completing forms, please see the Student Life Coordinator at your campus.

Current student leaders who are interested in developing their club members and growing their student organization can visit the EVOLVE site for resources and tools, including leadership tips and a list of icebreakers that you can use to re-energize a meeting or event.