Editor’s Note: Do you have a question about distance learning or coping with school in these challenging times? Each week Kelly Browning, an early childhood education/special education major and student ambassador at the Henry County Regional Academic Center, answers questions from the Mercer community. Email her at kelly.l.browning@live.mercer.edu or fill out our online form to submit your question anonymously.

Dear Kelly,

I’m brand new to Mercer. It has been a while since I’ve been in school, and I wondered, from one Bear to another, what advice might you give to a new student?

First of all, let me begin by saying, “Welcome!” We’re so glad that you chose to “Be the Bear.” You are going to love being a student at Mercer University!

There is so much to share with you that I hope I don’t leave anything out. If after reading this column you still have questions, I encourage you to reach out to your local campus. The campus contact numbers can be found at mercer.edu.

Since I mentioned the website, I definitely would like to talk about it. Mercer’s website is chock full of information. As a student ambassador at Mercer, I use the website often when students call with various questions. A tool I use a lot on the website is the magnifying glass at the top of the screen. When you click on that, a search bar appears. You have the ability to not only search for answers to most of your Mercer questions, but you can also search the directory. Let’s say you need to reach out to your adviser, but you don’t remember his or her phone number or email address; you can search the directory. Maybe you have questions about an assignment and would like to email another student. You can search his or her name in the directory. On the Mercer website, you can find out information about academics, athletics, events, study abroad programs and so much more.

In addition to the website, I encourage you to become familiar with your MyMercer account. If you haven’t logged into the MyMercer portal before, this site tells you how to access it. MyMercer is a one-stop shop for your account records and student information, such as class schedules, grades, transcripts and financial aid. The Statement of Student Responsibility, which must be signed at the beginning of each semester, is also accessible from your MyMercer portal’s homepage. In addition, before you begin classes, you will notice that on the main page of your MyMercer portal, there is a block that says, “Order textbooks.”  When you click on that link, it will direct you to the Mercer Barnes & Noble website, where the textbooks required for your courses will be listed. 

Speaking of textbooks, I recommend you wait until you have received your class syllabus to order your textbooks, since I have had professors accept different textbook editions or delete textbooks in an effort to help students save money. You can order textbooks through the Barnes & Noble website and have them shipped to you.

My next piece of advice concerns your academic adviser. As a Mercer student, your adviser is the person who will verify you are on track to meet your goals. Get to know your adviser, and let him or her get to know you. Before you register for each semester, contact your adviser and set up a meeting. Your adviser will let you know what classes you need to take when and can discuss your progress in your program. Find out more information about academic advising at aas.mercer.edu.

I would like to also strongly encourage you to contact the Academic Resource Center at your local campus. The ARC, as stated on the Mercer website, “helps Mercer University students attain academic success and degree completion by promoting independent, active and lifelong learning, scholarly achievement and personal development. The ARC offers resources, such as quiet study areas and a textbook library, and services, ranging from peer and professional tutoring to individual study skills consultations, to support the academic endeavors of Mercer University students.” If you, for instance, have been assigned a research paper but aren’t sure about APA citations, the ARC is there to help guide you through the process. Maybe you need help with an essay you are writing or have questions about your math assignments, the ARC offers math and writing tutoring. The ARC is a valuable resource and another way Mercer aids in students’ success.

My best advice, to really succeed academically as a Mercer Bear, is to develop excellent time management skills — know when your assignments are due, don’t wait until the last moment to write that paper or answer that discussion post. Get to know your professors, ask them for help when you need it, use the ARC and make your studies a priority. This is a phenomenal time in your life, a time that will propel your future success and help you reach your goals. You’ve got this! 

I would like to say that I, and all of your fellow Bears, are thrilled you chose Mercer to continue your education and reach your goals. If you have questions or concerns along the way, please reach out to your local campus, your professors, your advisers or your fellow students. They are there to help you. 

I wish you the best in this new and exciting journey!

 

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