Student Success Blogs

HSU President presents a plaque to a graduating student.“Success” can be a tricky term to define. That’s because success is completely contingent upon your goals and values.

If you don’t already know, we want to help you discover these things. Whether you value tradition, service, justice, connection, curiosity, adventure, creativity, or anything else, we want to provide you with support and challenge during your journey towards success.

That’s what this site is about: supporting your journey towards success. We will offer you tips for succeeding at college and in life, as well as constant opportunities for getting involved and developing community while at HSU. Now let’s get started!

by Emma Ellison

When people come to college, they are given an (almost) overwhelming amount of choices.

“What major? What church? Which friends? What organization? What extracurricular activities?”

The path you create for yourself is exciting; and sometimes scary. But, at the end of the path lies a degree and, along with it, a new career.

But finding a career and building your résumé can be intimidating. Luckily, at Hardin-Simmons, a student service exists to help you in starting your journey.

Career Services describes themselves as a service that:

“Provides you with expert guidance and all the tools you need to begin and thrive in your career. Whether you are exploring career options, looking for a way to build your résumé, or anxious about the post-grad job search process, we are here to help.”

That’s all well and good, you might say. But what do they do for you practically? Well, here’s just a short list:

  • Career Coaching
  • Career Assessment
  • Document Reviews such as résumés, cover letters, personal statements, etc. (in-person and distance reviews)
  • Building and using a LinkedIn profile
  • Mock Interviews and on-campus interviews with employers
  • Handshake online career platform (on-campus and off-campus job postings, employer reviews, networking, professional development resources, and more)
  • Various Events (e.g., career fairs, Adulting 101, Résumés & Lattés, and networking seminars, among others)

What’s more, these services do not only apply to current students, but alumni as well! So, even after graduation, Career Services is still a good resource for you to use.

Personally, Career Services helped me by reviewing my résumés for off-campus jobs. They corrected grammar, formatting, and word choice on my résumé so that it looked as professional as possible for my application.

Possibly the most helpful aspect of Career Services is Handshake, which is a website that acts as an online job database. Not only can you create and build your own profile, but it also pairs you with potential jobs that you might be interested in and allows you to access employer reviews from students all over the country. Every Fortune 500 company (and A LOT more) use Handshake to recruit new college graduates!

You can simply upload your resume into Handshake, and Career Services will review it for you and send suggestions for strengthening. After you make the changes, you submit your application and you’re on your way to a new job! Students can attest, Handshake is a helpful tool that makes applying to jobs a lot simpler.

If you’re concerned about getting a job, or even what you want to do with your career, Career Services has your back. They want to help get you on the career path you will excel in. Amanda, Graduate Assistant for Career Services, says this about the importance of the resources they offer:

“I wish I would have taken advantage of career services while I was in undergrad. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, it’s always good to have a plan B. I can’t stress the importance of a good résumé and our mock interviews. Careers services can help you develop yourself as a professional before entering the working world.”

by Holly Edwards

This is a unique time for ALL of us. Our lives are being turned upside down, and it’s hard to know how to feel about it. Some of us might be excited that we have some “down” time, time away from others. For others of us, the thought of social distancing creates panic. Here are some tips to navigate through these days:  

Be gracious. Be gracious to yourself and others. We are all trying to just figure today out.  

Do something that feels normal. After having my babies, my life turned upside down. Some days, I just longed to feel “normal.” My husband and I would try to do one “normal” activity a day, usually a walk around our neighborhood or a drive. Have something that felt routine made all the “newness” manageable.  

Connect. We were MADE for connection (like God’s design). So, just because connection might look different, do not forego it. Be creative in how and what you connect over. Connection doesn’t always require depth (but depth is good). Connection can be over a silly video! 

Mind your mind. I read this the other day in a Bible Study. The importance of being attuned to where my mind is taking me and knowing I have control of that. If I spend 4 hours on the CDC website … I MIGHT not be ‘minding my mind’ well. Be aware of what you spend time thinking on and dwelling on. Are your thoughts leading to more anxiety than peace? 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 

 by Nathaniel Jack

Time is the one thing that all college student feel like there isn’t enough of. Balancing responsibilities at your job, home, and school is not easy. No matter what, you’re always left with the same 24 hours in a day to do homework, spend time with family and friends, work, and unwind. By planning and using your time wisely, you’ll be able to accomplish more and enjoy added free time.

These time management tips and strategies will help to ensure that you meet deadlines, are well prepared for exams, and have time for yourself while pursuing a college degree.

  • Identify Time-Wasters and Set Goals: It’s easy to get distracted. Pay attention to what draws your focus away from your studies and assignments. No matter what is wasting your time, set a goal to not engage in that behavior during dedicated study time. Instead, use those activities as a reward or breaks for staying focused and accomplishing the tasks you set out to complete.
  • Plan Ahead by Creating a To-Do List: See what you need to do, and then prioritize the tasks based on when the assignment is due and how much time you need to complete it. This gives you a set plan for the day. Whether it’s just a list of priorities or a full schedule for the day, having a plan will ensure that you know what to do and when.
  • Prioritize: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by large projects and big exams, and the anxiety can make you want to procrastinate. Start with small, simpler to-do items and then move on to the more difficult assignments.
  • Use Breaks Wisely: The time between work, classes, activities, and meetings can be used to complete tasks. People who use the Pomodoro Technique. Here is a link to more information on the Pomodoro Technique https://lifehacker.com/productivity-101-a-primer-to-the-pomodoro-technique-1598992730.
  • Take Time Off: It’s important to take time for yourself. Long study sessions should be broken up with time away from screens or textbooks. Your mind needs rest also.

by Adrienne Morgan 

A new semester! How does that feel? Anyone already stressed? It’s ok if you are! Like it or not, stress will always be a part of our lives both positively and negatively. There is no clear definition of stress, but The American Institute of Stress quotes a popular definition of stress as “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources that individual is able to mobilize.” The National College Health Assessment reported 98.4% of undergraduate college students experienced stress in a 12 month span.

During a 12 month span you will spend approximately half of that time at Hardin-Simmons, and that’s not including any summer classes you might choose to take! So let me give you some resources and ideas on how we are here to support you through a fun, enlightening, challenging, and stressful time of your young adult lives.

· Manage your time well: College comes with a lot of free time that high school didn’t. Commit time to figuring out a schedule that allows time for friends, school, and yourself. If you do this well, you can fit it all!

· Exercise! Get outside: Don’t let that “E” word scare you. Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk outside around campus. The Fletcher Fitness Center is also an option, but exercise doesn’t require equipment or being drenched in sweat, just get out of your room/the library.

· Think positive thoughts: Positive thoughts bring positive vibes. Don’t wallow in your negative thoughts, be aware of your perception of yourself and make it positive.

· Get organized: Binders, folders, calendars, whatever helps you keeps things orderly so you are losing things and creating more unnecessary stress.

· Procrastination is NOT your friend: Do the difficult things first! Typically we avoid the things we are dreading putting time into, but in reality when we do them first we are left with the list of things we are more willing to happily give time.

· Baby steps: Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by your entire semester. Instead prioritize your assignments and commitments and take them on at a manageable rate.

· Hang with your friends: Loneliness is shown to increase stress.

· Water therapy: Drink water! A lot of water! It will help you brain stay alert but it also will keep you healthy. Enjoy a hot shower, maybe an oil diffuser.

· Do something for YOU: Find a hobby that you love and look forward to. Let it be something to alter your mood when you get stuck in a rut.

Being stressed is normal. Your friends are stressed too, so are your professors, the HSU staff, your siblings, and your neighbor living next door. You aren’t alone in your stress. If you feel overwhelmed in your stress or just need some direction to help you start managing your stress, talk to someone!

Student Engagement: Moody Center 226 Email: Engagement@hsutx.edu

University Counseling: 2nd Floor Moody Center

Text: (325)-480-1649

Adrienne Morgan

by Emma Ellison

The first few days of a new semester in college is a whirlwind of syllabuses, new faces, and expectations. In almost all of those new classes, a textbook is required. Textbooks can pile up on the to-do list at the beginning of the semester, and so some students end up getting them last minute at very expensive prices.

However, if you take time to look at your options,

buying textbooks can be much more affordable. So, here are some tips and tricks to buying college textbooks:

Check the Syllabus

First off, you need to check the class syllabus for whatever textbook you are buying. Often times professors put vital information about the textbook, such as the proper edition to purchase, where specifically to buy the book, what supplemental materials you’ll need to go along with the book, etc. Some professors even refer you to cheaper options themselves.

Whatever the case, you always need to check the syllabus before you buy. The last thing you want to do is walk into class with the incorrect textbook.

Learn About the Class

In some courses, the textbook is rarely used in class. In others, it is used every day. Before purchasing, try to find out how often you will use the book from people who have taken the course before. If it is used frequently, then go ahead and buy your own copy. If the book is rarely used, but still needed, then consider sharing with another person in your class. Some people even buy textbooks together and share throughout the semester.

Compare Prices

Once you have found a textbook, whether online or in the store, don’t buy it immediately. Search for alternatives and determine which is the cheapest option. Be careful when choosing the cheaper option online, though. Make sure the textbook will be shipped to you within a week, or else you might fall behind in classwork while you wait for your book to arrive. Here are some websites that I have personally used (and found to be reliable):

CHEGG

Chegg is an online book rental site that is student friendly. They ship fast and they are many times the cheapest option. When the semester ends, you simply send the book back to Chegg (they give you instructions on how to ship it). On top of all that, Chegg also sends little snacks with the textbooks. So, bonus I guess?

AMAZON

If you have Amazon Prime, many times they will have the textbook you’re looking for. Amazon ships really fast, and does free shipping on most orders. However, they do not always have the right edition, and sometimes their books are most expensive option.

SCHOOL BOOKSTORE

Every university has a bookstore, but sometimes their books can be expensive. From my experience, prices depend on the book and subject material. At the Hardin-Simmons Bookstore, some students are able to rent all their textbooks for very little. Some don’t have as much luck in other areas of study. You should definitely check the bookstore first, and then compare them to online options.

Rent, If You Can

As I said, I rented most of my textbooks from my college bookstore. It’s cheaper than buying, and you can always purchase the textbooks at the end of the semester if you end up wanting to keep them. Sometimes there is no rent option, so take advantage of it whenever you can.

Some people prefer not to rent simply because they don’t like used books that might already have notes or writing in them. That’s totally fine, but expect to pay a little extra for the new textbooks.

eTextbooks

eTextbooks are not for everyone, but they are useful for those who can use them. For one, there is no physical copy to lose, and no missing the due date for returns. The eTextbook will simply expire after a certain date. You only need to make sure that the date is after your class ends.

Some courses use online components in addition to class, such as reading quizzes. For this reason, eTextbooks can be helpful to use alongside the online components.

Buying textbooks seems overwhelming at first. But if you follow some of these tips, finding the right book can be simple, as well as easier on your wallet.

Emma

Thanks for the Red Bull, Chegg.

by Adrienne Morgan 

Last Tuesday we celebrated and encouraged our sophomore students to continue their goal to Graduation, and almost more importantly that HSU bling! The Alumni Association at Hardin-Simmons introduced this detailed ring in 2004. This ring boasts 25 distinct details that encompass the spirit of the university, it’s commitment to education, tradition, and faith in Jesus Christ. Each semester a special ceremony is held in Logsdon Chapel to award graduates their HSU class ring where they hear the significance and details of the ring.

If you look closely at your keychain, you are able to see most of the details of the official ring. You can see 6 flags that represent the 6 flags of our great state of Texas, our historic red brick, the campus bell now found at the reflection pond, Leggett Memorial Bridge, the stained glass in Logsdon Chapel, our school motto, a first-year beanie, and the fire hydrant marking Dam-it’s grave. These are only a few of the many intentional details found within the ring. Make sure to attend your Ring Ceremony! It is a great tradition and special ceremony. HSU Ring Ceremony for our December graduates will be held on Friday, November 1, 2019.

More information about the HSU Ring can be found at the following link.

Official Class Ring

by Nathaniel Jack 

You may think that this year will drag, since it is your last year of college and you can’t wait until it’s over. You’re wrong! Senior year is by far the quickest and is gone before you know it. It is a time for reflection. I remember looking back on all of my college years and I still feel as though my freshman year was only yesterday. As a senior you will look back at the friends you’ve made and lost, parties you’ve crashed, times you’ve fallen in love, and it all seems like a huge, sped up blur.

Your years in college are much shorter than you think, and most likely you will be a completely different person than when you started (which is a good thing). My senior year was filled with disbelieve at how quickly my collegiate athletic career went, along with the pressure of finding a career soon after. It made me feel that life in general must go by this fast. Suddenly I’d be getting married, having children, and becoming old and wrinkly. Here are three ways you can make the most of your senior year of college at HSU:

1. Have Fun.
Even though there are a lot of serious decisions to make during your senior year and a lot of important things to take care of, you should still leave time to have some fun. You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and you should be able to enjoy all the festivities related to your upcoming graduation. Attend athletic events and campus activities to soak in how wonderful your college experience has been.

2. Use Career Services.
They are there to provide you with expert guidance and all the tools you need to begin and thrive in your career. Whether you are exploring career options, looking for a way to build your resume, or nervous about the post-grad job search, they are there to help. They have resources for professional development, personalized career counseling, tools for self-discovery, and more.

  HSU Career Services Upcoming Events
• Adulting 101 for Seniors (1 of 5) – October 3, 7-8pm (Moody 233)
• Suit Up! with JCPenney – October 6, 6-9pm (Mall of Abilene)
• Government/Non-Profit Career Fair – October 10, 3-6pm (ACU)
• Etiquette Dinner – November 13, 6-8pm (Johnson 103)
• Resumes & Lattes – November 20, 2-4pm (Gilbert’s)
• Adulting 101 for Seniors (2 of 5) – November 21, 7-8pm (Moody 233)

3. Connect with Faculty and Staff.
Most of them would love to connect with you. At one point in their lives, they were in the same boat as you. Trust me. Ask them about their experiences, what steps they suggest you take to land the career you want, how they became successful, and most importantly, good networking for your future.

by Ryan Voss Carlson

For a lot of people, the start of college is an exhilarating experience. That feeling of exhilaration most often builds over the several months in the summer leading into that first semester as you’re anticipating a new level of independence, new relationships, and getting to study things that you truly love and are passionate about.

But then, you get there. You arrive at college and all that anticipation melts away and you are faced with reality. That reality may be living in a small room with another person who you don’t really know. That independence, you now realize, comes mostly in the form of being responsible for getting enough sleep, waking up on time, finding food for yourself when you get hungry, and doing your schoolwork. Oh, and if you need some money, you need to find a job too.

For many, the summer before college is a dream! You’re caught up in this vision of what it will be. But then the reality of college takes some adjustment.

That adjustment, I believe, is called homesickness. Student Studying in Gilbert's Coffee Shop in the library

You see, homesickness isn’t just experienced when we are away from a particular place. We experience homesickness as we are left longing for something familiar, something that makes us feel safe. “Homesickness has everything to do with attachment,” says Joshua Klapow, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Tamar Chansky, a psychologist and author, says that homesickness is about a period of adjustment. “It could be about missing home, but really it’s also about not yet feeling comfortable where you are.”

So how do you get more comfortable? Here are three quick tips, adapted for college, from Karina Martinez-Carter’s advice to people who have moved overseas.

First, hang on to some of home. Whether it’s a favorite food that you can treat yourself to or an album that you listen to on Spotify, find ways to carry traditions from home into your new life at college.

Second, reach out. Regularly connecting with friends and family via social media, text messages, phone calls, and even letters can be a great way to stay in touch and stave off some homesick feelings. (And be honest about how you’re feeling homesick. It’s okay to not always be okay.)

And finally, take care of yourself. Feeling homesick can go deeper than missing certain people, places, or comforts. It might be that you’re missing a different version of yourself. So, don’t just watch Netflix and drown out the bad feelings. Engage them with some time set aside for self-reflection. Go for a walk around campus. Find a quiet place and try just being silent for a while.

Homesickness does not mean you’re failing or that you’re not supposed to be here. It means that you’re connected to something that isn’t here. So as best you can, bring some of home here! Don’t just stew in bad feelings. Engage those feelings of separation and reach out for help if you are struggling.

We are here for you. And we’re so glad you’re here.

To read more about homesickness, click the links below: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/what-happens-mind-body-homesick_n_5b201ebde4b09d7a3d77eee1 https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20140428-combat-expat-homesickness

by Austin Hennesay

Move-In Day is an exciting time for us here at HSU. This is the day when you can feel the life return to our campus! This is the day when our service to students begins as we again have the opportunity to plant the seeds of the future. Our staff and faculty have been working all summer preparing for this day. This day, although exciting for us, may be difficult for some for you. Let me give you all a few things to think about that may ease your minds before arriving at HSU.

Best Practices

  • Put your room number on your boxes: There will be plenty of volunteers helping you move in and this guarantees your stuff makes it to the right room.
  • What NOT to bring: It is against HSU policy to have a space heater, microwave, air conditioner, deep freezer, toaster oven, candles, or a George Foreman grill in your room.

When?

You may be wondering when you are supposed to move in to your ResHall. If you are a football player, you are to move in to your ResHall on August 13 at 12 p.m. If you are not participating in a fall sport, your move-in day is August 19 and times vary based on floor you live on. Below are the move-in times:

  • 3rd & 4th Floors – 9 a.m.
  • 2nd Floor – 10 a.m.
  • 1st Floor – 11 a.m.

Where?

  • Where do I find my room number?  Your ResHall and room assignment can be found in ResLife Central by logging into HSU Central and clicking on the ResLife Central button on the left side of the screen. You will log into this portal using the same login you used to log into HSU Central.
  • Where do I check in? Check-in will be in your respective ResHalls with our ResLife staff (you can’t miss them). They will have a table/desk where you give them your name and they will get you checked in.
  • Where is my ResHall? I won’t explain where your hall is, but I can generally tell you how to get there on August 19. Any student living in Ferguson, Nix, or Anderson Halls will need to arrive from Ambler Avenue and turn north onto Hickory Street. You will be greeted by HSU staff and they will help you get to where you need to be. If you are living in Behrens or Lange Halls, you will arrive from Ambler Avenue and turn north onto Cedar Street. Here you will also be greeted by HSU Staff and guided to your ResHall.
  • Where do I check in for Stampede? Stampede check-ins will happen in two locations. If you live in Ferguson, Nix, or Anderson Halls you will find the table that is located on Anderson Lawn (between the pond and Anderson Hall). If you live in Behrens or Lange Halls, you will locate the table under the trees between Behrens Hall and the parking lot.
  • Where can I park? Parking for Behrens and Lange is located east of those buildings and, after your car has been unloaded, you may park your car there. If you live in Anderson Hall, the parking lot is between Anderson Hall and Simmons Avenue. Once your car has been unloaded, you may park your cars there. There is also an overflow lot across the Simmons Avenue in the Nix parking lot. If you live in Nix Hall, the parking lot is across Simmons Avenue, and you may park there once your car has been unloaded.

by Ryan Voss-Carlson

Photo of graduates walking.At this point, it’s become cliche to talk about success as both a journey and a destination but, in my experience, that statement could not be more true.

When I came to HSU after high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I came here to play basketball, and did so for three years before a bout of knee tendinitis ended my playing career. But beyond the court, I only thought I knew what I wanted.

Now, that’s not the experience for all people. A lot of students come to college knowing exactly what it is they’re going to be doing with the rest of their lives.

I thought I wanted to study physical therapy so that I could continue working with athletes after my playing career was over. Nope.

Then, I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher so that I could work with young people. Closer, but still not quite there.

By the time I finally got my degree (which I believe to be the measure of a college student’s success), I had had four different majors and two different minors. It took me six years to graduate. I took a gap semester at one point.

That’s why I do what I do now. My road to success was filled with obstacles, with self-doubt, and with shame. And I want to make sure that students don’t have to feel as lost as I did. I never want another student to feel like a failure because they didn’t graduate in four years.

I’m Ryan and I’m a Student Success Specialist at Hardin-Simmons University, and I’m excited to be a part of supporting you on your journey towards success!

by Ryan Voss-Carlson

Three young ladies chatting and laughing over coffee drinks.When people talk about college, one of the first things you tend to hear about is how tired everybody is. You sit in class all day. Maybe you’re an athlete or involved in a social club. You might have an on-campus job. And, you’re up late most nights either doing homework or connecting with your classmates.

And all that leaves you oh so tired by the time you are trying to wake up the next day.

But here’s a tip that I just recently learned about that can help you combat the very normal fatigue that comes with being a college student: coffee naps.

Now hear me out, because some of you may be reading this and thinking that the idea of a coffee nap sounds ridiculous. And some of you might have seen coffee nap and thought, “Perfect, I never have to sleep again!” Both of those are wrong, so keep reading.

The science is actually quite simple. Several different studies have demonstrated the impact of sleep and caffeine separately, but only within the past few years have scientists begun studying the effects of using the two together.

A coffee nap is as simple as it sounds. Drink a cup of coffee and then take a quick nap (no longer than 15 to 20 minutes). As illustrated in a Vox article from 2015, “experiments have shown [coffee naps] are more effective than coffee or naps alone in maximizing alertness.”

You see, there’s a chemical that builds up in your brain when you’re fatigued called adenosine. Adenosine is something that your brain naturally clears as you sleep but, if you nap longer than 15 or 20 minutes, “your brain is more likely to enter into deeper stages of sleep that take some time to recover from.”

Photo of the Gilbert's coffee shop logo on the library building.20 minutes is key. 20 minutes is how long you can sleep before entering deep sleep that leaves you groggy. And 20 minutes is also how long caffeine takes to enter your bloodstream.

So, if you nap for 20 minutes immediately after drinking your cup of coffee, you’ll arise just in time for the caffeine to begin working and it’ll make you super alert!

Pro tip: drink your coffee quickly to ensure that you’re awake when the caffeine is just entering into your brain. Consider an iced coffee or espresso instead of a hot cup of coffee if you struggle to consume hot drinks quickly.