PSYC 113: Career and Educational Planning: Finding Your Way

Name: Colin Mischel
Hometown: Eatonville, Wash.
Major: Undeclared, leaning Business or Economics
Instructor: Eva Johnson, dean of student development

Psych 113

Colin’s advice to first-year students: “Utilize your planner. Put down every date – when you have a test or have a paper due, this type of thing. Then check it every day."

As if college wasn’t going to be hard enough, Colin Mischel ’13 knew that being the first member of his family to go to college could make it harder. So when his academic adviser suggested he take Psychology 113, a class that helps students transition to college life – both in and out of the classroom – he knew he had to take it.

“It helped me so much,” he said. “I was in a class of first-gen(eration) students, and when you are, you realize you have so much common ground. You realize you are not here alone.”

Classes cover a range of topics, from developing study skills or landing a campus job – even how to talk to the folks about your experience in a university setting. When the goal is to help students be successful, everything is open for discussion.

“First-gen college students are in uncharted territory,” said Eva Johnson ’95, dean of student development. “The goal is to provide support and create a comfortable and safe space for students to ask questions that are at the heart of the matter to them.”

That is exactly what Mischel found.

“It helped me to understand what PLU could offer me as an individual,” said Mischel. “It helped me understand that this is my home, and this is where I need to be.”

Your First Year

There are numerous things PLU also does outside the classroom to ensure that first-year students make a smooth transition to university life and have all the tools they need to succeed.

For instance, PLU’s Charting Your Course advising program doesn’t simply help students register for classes, it advises students on all aspects of first-year student life, even before they set foot on campus.

During orientation weekend, first-year students go “On the Road,” – exploring the Pacific Northwest, from kayaking Puget Sound to volunteering at a rescue mission. During J-Term, first-year students are invited to an overnight retreat where they can discuss the meaning and purpose in life.

When on campus, all residence halls have first-year wings, which allow students to meet others in which they have much in common. For commuter students, they can choose to connect with a residence hall community through “Commuter Connections,” and take part in residence hall events.

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