Elaine Penn’s seven tips for success for new students

Today’s students shoulder many responsibilities, and everyone knows how exhausting and overwhelming the first year of college can be. ELAINE PENN aims to encourage students about the possibility of success in life and their ability to leave a mark on their campus.

The current state of the economy and all that’s happening outside of campus is also a source of concern for students entering their first year of college, given business closures, higher education budget cuts and tough competition for highly desired jobs. What can these incoming student expect in four years once they’ve earn their degrees and are thrown into a nebulous employment pool?

“Our country’s economic issues are having an enormous affect on this generation,” Elaine says. “Many students spend each day wondering how they will pay back college loans and make it in the competitive employment market.”

New student orientation needs to be the first step in giving students the tools and confidence they need to handle the stress and anxiety they are inheriting. “The great thing is that students don’t see these issues as someone else’s problem. They want to be part of the solution,” Elaine says. “It’s our job to give them the tools to do this, right out of the gate.”

Her advice for new students is based in experience and wisdom, which she offers in spades in her college keynote “Journey to Success in College and in Life.” Combining discussion, stories, activities, music, and humor, Elaine energizes students with practical and meaningful tips that will make them more confident as they begin their college journey.

“Amid all the stress and worry, students are looking for authenticity, so it’s important to put speakers in front of them who are real,” Elaine says. “My primary goal is for students to be healthy, happy and successful. To do that, I share personal stories that resonate with the challenges they are facing in their new lives on campus.”

The following are seven inspirational tips that students can refer to again and again for a happy and successful life in college. Want to know more? Bring Elaine to your campus where she will personally motivate college students to excel.

Tip #1: Put Your Academics First
You have heard this your entire life, but your education is the most important reason you are in college, so it is worth repeating. So, how best to do this? First of all, you must prioritize. On campus, everything is happening at once. There are numerous potential distractions. Time management can be a challenge for many college freshmen. The key is to develop a priority list each week, and check it often. Spend extra time on the subjects that are hardest for you. Create a daily schedule and refer to it throughout the day. It is also important to find a peaceful place on campus to study, where you are able to center your mind and really focus. And remember, your campus has numerous resources to help you succeed…from tutors, to classes on time management, research, and writing. The important thing is you have to be willing to ask for help if you need it, and always do your best. You are CAPABLE of academic success!

Tip #2: Make Wise Choices
As a college student, you are responsible for your own decisions. It is up to you to make wise, productive choices, or poor choices that could negatively affect your life. Each day, you will have numerous opportunities to make important choices: choices about what you eat, what you drink, how much you study, how much you party, how much sleep you get, how you treat other people. Sometimes your choices will be as simple as not doing what everyone else is doing. Other times, they will be as difficult as standing up for what is right. But whatever your choices are, don’t forget, there are consequences to every decision you make; and, you will have to live with the consequences of those choices. We all do. So before you make a choice, pause, take a deep breath, and make sure this decision is the best one for you.

Tip #3: Believe In Yourself and Be Positive
You CAN achieve your dreams in college. However, you must first believe it is possible and have a positive attitude, because you WILL get what you focus on in life. The most successful college freshmen I know make a concerted effort to maintain a positive attitude. They think positive thoughts about themselves and others; and they say positive things, too. There is real power in belief. When you believe in yourself and have a positive attitude, you are more likely to succeed. You will also experience less stress, and make a positive impact on others. People would much rather be around someone who “sees the cup as half-full rather than half empty”. Remember, a positive attitude spreads out and touches everyone around you.

Tip #4: Build Healthy Relationships
It is vital that you build healthy relationships while you are in college. Create an empowering network of friends and others who care about you. Take the time to get to know your roommate and the people in your residence hall. These students can relate to what you are experiencing, so they will serve as your support group and safety net in college. Also, make an effort to know your professors. Find out when their office hours are, and schedule regular appointments with them. If you have an academic issue during the semester, you will be glad you cultivated these relationships. Finally, broaden your horizons regarding the type of people you get to know. Campuses are very diverse, so be open to meeting new people, discovering new ideas, cultures and experiences. Some of your closest friends may be the farthest from your expectations!

Tip #5: Step Out of Your Comfort Zones. Get Involved
College is what you make of it. And to make the most of your college experience, you must take risks and step out of your comfort zones. When you do, amazing things can happen. One of the best ways to step out of your comfort zones is to get involved on your campus. Join a club, organization, fraternity or sorority. Participate in intramurals or club sports. The happiest students are involved in at least one extracurricular activity. Involvement helps you feel more connected to your school as well. Another way to step out of your comfort zones is to make an effort to meet new people on campus. Embrace new friendships, including others from different backgrounds. The key is simple: get involved, meet new people and fully participate in your life!

Tip #6: Take Care of Your Health and Manage Stress
While you are in college, one of your main responsibilities is take care of yourself: your body, mind and spirit. College can be exhausting and overwhelming. It is easy for students to become stressed, burned out and even sick. Your well-being must be at the top of your priority list. Make an effort to eat a balanced diet of healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get lots of sleep. Take the time to exercise at least 3 days a week. Exercise increases your energy and lowers your stress. It is paramount that you give special attention to your mental and emotional health. Be proactive about it. Do something to eliminate stress everyday, like yoga, mediation, writing in a journal or deep breathing exercises. Finally, seek a balance. While it is important to make great grades and get involved on campus, the secret to a happy life is finding balance and staying centered, so be good to yourself!

Tip #7: Volunteer. Make a Difference
One of the greatest ways to give back while you are in college is to volunteer your time in your community. There are so many ways to help. You could volunteer at a senior center, animal shelter, or the Red Cross. You could coach little league, tutor a child and just help one person who needs a friend. Never forget, when you help one person, it has a ripple effect across the community and the world. Now is the time to decide the kind of person you want to be. What acts of kindness can you contribute to the world? You don’t need to travel to a developing country to find a person in need. Nor do you need to wait for a natural disaster to find someone who needs a hot meal. There is always something to do, and always someone to help. As a college student, you may not have much spare time, but if you spare just a little, you can make a huge impact on the world. Volunteerism is an incredible way to develop leadership skills, too. So, find what you are passionate about, and go make a difference!

Elaine has a variety of programs that can have an impact on almost any student or student group on campus. To find out more about Elaine and her keynotes, or to see a video of her in action, please visit campuspeak.com/penn.