September 9, 2016

Alumni Offer Back-to-School Advice for New and Returning Students

Back to school takes on a whole new meaning for SUNY Empire students. Just ask the college's 78,000 alumni.
The phrase “back-to-school” takes on a whole new meaning for SUNY Empire State College students. Just ask the college’s 78,000 alumni.

The phrase “back-to-school” takes on a whole new meaning for SUNY Empire State College students.

Just ask the college’s 78,000 alumni.

For SUNY Empire nontraditional, adult students, many of whom already have sent their children off to K-12 and/or dropped them off on a traditional college campus, the fall term begins Monday, Sept. 12.

It is their turn to go back to school and complete an undergraduate or graduate degree as they juggle family, job and career, community and many other commitments.

Many SUNY Empire alumni responded to a post on the college’s Facebook page asking them to share their advice for new and returning students headed back to school this fall.

Much of the advice shared by college alumni focuses on time management and taking care of oneself.

Michelle Roberts ’15, B.S. in human development, said: “Good luck new students. Make sure you take a breather for yourself. Yoga and meditation are great ways to relax and stay focused. Always remember to keep your eye on the prize (completing a degree).”

Daryl E. Tillman ’16, B.S. in business, management and economics, said: “Please take advantage of the activities (events and student clubs) (SUNY Empire) has to offer.”

U.S. Navy veteran P. Shane McAfee ‘16, B.S., interdisciplinary studies, said: “Remember that even the toughest professor is in your corner. Your success is part of their success. Lastly, the only place you'll find success before work is in the dictionary. Someday, you might even graduate with your wife.”

In fact, his wife, Renee Cansdale McAfee ’13, ’16, B.S. in community and human services and an M.A. in social and public policy, with an advanced graduate certificate in nonprofit management, said: “Never, ever give up.”

The McAfees participated in the college’s 44th annual commencement event at Rochester. Renee said that their daughter is a currently enrolled student and that their son will be enrolling in the spring.

Jami Ortung ’09, B.A. in human development, said: “Get organized early. As soon as class deliverables schedules are ready, add them to your calendar – color code by class and or type of deliverable – so you know what is due when.”

Paulette Lawrence’16, B.S. in community and human services, said: “Make sure to prioritize. Do not leave assignments for (the) last minute. Self-care is very important (in order) to avoid burnout.”

Jeremy J. Rubitsky ’13, ’15, A.S. and B.S. in science, math and technology, said: “Set a bedtime and stick to it. Once it's time for bed, put everything away and get some sleep.”

Tonya Coley ’16, B.S. in human development, said: “Create a schedule and stick to it.”

Marlea Sutton Andolora’14, ’16, A.S. and B.S. in business, management and economics and a currently enrolled student in the college’s MBA program, said: “Build a support system. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your support systems. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes.”

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