Thursday, April 18, 2024

Freshmen have ‘hope’ after first week of college classes at LSUS

by BIZ Magazine

Hope is more than a wish. Hope is belief that one can improve their situation through setting goals, having pathways to meet those goals and the willpower to stay the course.

That’s the message that Dr. Tracie Pasold delivered to freshmen as they finished their first week of college courses.

“Researchers tell us that higher levels of hope positively impact areas like mental health, physical health, academics and relationship health,” Pasold, an LSUS associate professor of psychology, told the crowd at Freshman Convocation. “In academics specifically, students of similar intellectual ability with higher levels of hope perform a full GPA point better than students with lower levels of hope.

“Hope has real impact.”

Pasold delved into three areas needed to foster hope – goals, pathways and willpower.

Goals of all kinds – short-term, long-term and crisis-oriented – need to be set.

“Because when you achieve short-term goals and can put things in your ‘done’ basket, your hope increases,” Pasold explained. “You can’t spend all your time thinking about that long-term goal of finishing your college degree when you’ve just completed your first week.

“Sometimes in life, you have so much going on that your goal is to make it through the day.”

Students can’t achieve those goals without multiple pathways or routes to reach those objectives.

“These are our roadmaps,” Pasold said. “And we need more than one pathway because life happens and can disrupt a pathway.”

Willpower is the mental energy to begin and sustain the journey to achieving goals.

“Willpower is like gas in our tank – you only have so much willpower every day and you have to refill it,” Pasold said. “Whether that’s through family and friends or the resources here at LSUS, you need those sources.”

Computer science freshman Alex Morgan said he’ll remember the message about hope when college gets tough.

“You have to have hope and determination to finish your degree,” said Morgan, a Bossier City native and Parkway High graduate. “This is a different experience than high school.

“I have one class one day and four classes the next day. I’m using that extra time to study and make sure I keep up.”

Chancellor Dr. Robert Smith guaranteed the freshmen class of 2027 will experience challenges.

“You’re going to have to work harder than you’ve ever worked – I know I did when I got to college,” Smith said. “But we’re confident that you have what it takes to be successful – that’s why we chose you specifically.

“I know there are some out there that are unsure about this or have doubts about whether you’re cut out for college. But you’re well prepared to do this, and you have faculty and staff here at LSUS that will support you.”

Pasold emphasized that students should carefully monitor their hope levels, especially when they begin to drop.

“Repeated failure reduces hope, and decreasing levels of hope can lead to rage, despair and apathy,” Pasold explained. “These emotions are normal, but it’s about what you do when you experience these emotions that will determine whether you continue your journey.

“LSUS has faculty, advisors, mental health counselors and all kinds of personnel that are standing by ready to help.”

Students accepted a Freshman Convocation pin and walked out of the University Center Theatre with one week of college in the ‘done’ basket and many more weeks ahead.

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