On Giving Advice


During Orientation, one of the best questions came from a parent.  She said, “What advice would you give my son on how to be successful in college?”  While my response was “off the cuff,” it caused, me to consider all the families whose children have chosen Loyola, and are hopeful for their student’s success. 

The reality is student success is a commitment between the university and the student; both must do their parts well.  So I have thought about that mom in the last couple weeks and because of that question, here is what I would share:

Dear Successful Student:

Your family is extremely proud right now and they have expressed their hopes to us that you prosper in your classes and have meaningful relationships with faculty, staff and your fellow students.  Your family wants you to be happy, and they want you to feel discomfort! They do not mean “pain” but the kind of discomfort that comes from learning new ideas, principles and figuring out how this fits with your values.  Your family has expectations of you. They told us in meetings and at move-in that they expect you “to do the right thing.”  They want you to make good decisions about your personal life and your college career.  Your parents have sacrificed for you to be a part of the PACK, and as another dad said, “I want her to knock it out of the park.”  Your family is cheering you on, so make yourself proud!

How to Make the Most of YOUR Loyola Experience

1.  Remember:  You chose Loyola and Loyola chose you.  You belong here.  You have a contribution to make to Loyola University New Orleans that is yours alone.  You will have many faculty, staff and students who will help you make lasting connections.  Join SGA, BSU, LUCAP or 97 other student organizations, participate in intramurals, go listen to a speaker, music or theater event on campus. Try new things and meet new people.  After all, you chose Loyola and Loyola chose you.  There is no breaking up!  This is a lifetime relationship.  You are now part of the PACK.

2Remember:  You came to learn something and you came to teach something.  We all have gifts to share with one another. One of the most beautiful things about Loyola is the commitment to curiosity and discovery about self and others. Stay open, listen well and share yourself.  Go to class and sit in a different place each time.  Do not be afraid to speak up in class, add to the conversation and ask questions.  Your professors will remember you and so will your classmates. 

3. Remember:  Call home wherever that may be and whomever might answer!  You will miss your family and your family will miss you.  Whether an immediate family, extended family or your family of friends, stay connected with those you love and who love you.  All of us have moments of doubt, sadness, fear, and it can make us anxious.  Reach out to others; we are so much more alike than different.  Call the counseling center whenever you want to share something confidentially.  Reaching out is a sign of strength; transitions are not easy and you are not alone!

4.  Remember:  Take care of yourself.  As important as your class schedule is, equally as important is the schedule you make for “you” time.  Eat healthy.  Do not skimp on sleep.  Get some exercise every day, even if it’s a walk in Audubon Park (your extended front yard!). Do not wait until the last minute to write a paper, read those four chapters, or study for a quiz when it is all due the next day. Use good judgement when going off campus with friends, know your surroundings, and do not walk home alone. Use the buddy system; the PACK stays together!

Now that you have a few tools to thrive at Loyola, we look forward to supporting you to be your best self.  Keep this list handy, refer to it often, check-in with yourself about your progress, and share how you achieved success with your loved ones.  Who knows, in the future you could be the parent asking that question about your son or daughter’s success when they chose Loyola!