Student Success

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 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.