Alumni Advice

We asked alumni, former students, faculty and staff to share some of their advice for new students. Here are their words of wisdom to help you get through your first year.


"It’s never too early to start planning your career."

–Brooke Abelsen ’12 Business Administration



"Find a senior and ask them about the art of scheduling classes so you don't get stuck going back to PSU after you walk at graduation. Also, if there are classes, say in your cluster, that aren't offered during a particular term and you want to stay on track, go to the department and ask to substitute another class. The petition process is easy (although advisors will tell you it's hard and not worth it)."

–Lee Daly, Public and Community Health


"Challenge yourself to take a new course, or learn about something that's always fascinated you. "

–Pamela Dusschee, executive Director, Graduate Business Programs, School of Business Administration


"Meet with your advisor. They're really nice and can help you with all kinds of stuff, including finding two extra majors you earned but didn't know about until your senior year. True story. Seriously, just make an appointment."

–Chelsea Karpa, History


"Visit your instructors during office hours even when you don't have questions or need help. Take advantage of the opportunity for a little 1:1 time; use it to make yourself known to the instructor: Ask a related question, chat about the reading, or just say hello." –Patrice PJ Morris Ball



"Apart from everything you can learn from your instructors about their subjects and careers in their fields, they are connected to the community and can help you to network, and recommend you for scholarships or jobs."

–Rebecca Einolf, Career & Academic Advisor, School of Business Administration



"Ask for help: visit teachers during office hours, form a study group, see an advisor. Whatever you need, ask for it. The resources are there, and you're paying for them whether you use them or not."

– Maria Escobar '10, Health Studies



"Study anything you want, get your degree in anything you want. But learn a skill while you're there. Learn Spanish, Russian, ASL, Information Systems, something. Something that will give you an edge in the job market later."

– Jeff Stell '90, History



"Make a plan and take advantage of all PSU has to offer. Enjoy every minute on campus and soak up as much of PSU as you can."

–Zack Smith '10, Criminology and Criminal Justice



"Discipline! getting assignments done first. Never accept an incomplete credit. they tend to stay that way. Discipline first... fun and that social life come second."

–Paul Jackson '78, Speech Communication


"Coffee is not sleep, and rent textbooks when possible."

–Em Zimmer '10, History



"Consider study abroad or internships abroad with IE3 Global Internships. You'll never have more freedom of movement than when you're in school. See the world!"

–Rebecca Einolf, Career & Academic Advisor, School of Business Administration



"Always challenge yourself with new classes, meet new friends, always ask for help from advisors and teachers to help you become successful in college."

-Trevor Lee '14, Communication Studies 



"To have a clear purpose about your journey...Go to the advising center and let them map out your degree, unless you shave declared a major--go to the department directly. Good luck and remember the journey with a thousand steps start with one step."

–Bader Ghaleb AL-Sukhun Business Administration



"My advice is to find that club or organization that allows you to grow as a person as well as a student, and really put your heart in it. Go VIKS!"

– Larry Lowen '97, History