All posts by Dr. Scott M. Helfrich

2024 Annual Benchworks by Elentra Residential Student Survey

Starting on Monday April 15, 2024, the Department of University Housing & Conference Services will have the annual Benchworks by Elentra survey administered. All non-staff residential students (i.e., Shenks Halls & the Villages) will be invited to take the survey through Friday, April 26, 2024. Students will receive an email invitation with detailed information on how to take the survey. Two follow-up reminder emails will be sent to those who have not completed the survey.

This assessment is crucial for the Department of University Housing & Conference Services as it helps us to understand the successes and areas of improvement of our program, and the services of various campus partners in comparison to other colleges and universities across the country. The survey assesses 21 different factors, which include the following:


  • Hall Student Staff
  • Hall Programming
  • Hall Environment
  • Facilities*
  • Services Provided
  • Room Assignment
  • Room Change
  • Safety & Security
  • Roommates
  • Dining Services*
  • Community Environment


  • Personal Interactions
  • Sense of Community
  • Diverse Interactions
  • Self-Management
  • Alcohol and Drug Use
  • Sustainability
  • Living-Learning Community (LLC) Connections & Support


  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Overall Learning
  • Overall Program Effectiveness

*University Housing & Conference Services does not supervise these areas but works as a partner with the departments responsible for these services.

Residence Hall Winter Break 2023-2024 Bulletin

1. Winter break housing will start at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, 2023. The residence halls will be closed during winter break. Resident students who are continuing in the residence halls to spring 2024 may request break housing for all or portions of the winter break by completing the “Break_Winter_2023-23 Application”. There is no additional cost to stay over the break, but you must apply to be approved. All students that apply to stay are approved and you will receive and email confirmation once you have completed the application. The application will close at 4pm on Thursday, December 7, 2023. The residence halls will reopen for the spring semester at 12 noon on Sunday, January 14, 2024.

2. Students that are graduating or working graduation on Saturday, December 9 are permitted to stay, but must be checked out of the residence hall before 6pm on Saturday, December 9, 2023.  You must email your Residential Area Director (RAD) to receive permission to stay till 6pm on Saturday, December 9, 2023. The University Housing and Conference Services Office will confirm with the Registrar’s Office students who have requested to stay due to graduating. Once confirmed, you will receive additional check-out instructions from your RAD. You do not need to complete the Break Housing Application.

3. If you are requesting winter break housing and you have scheduled a room change for the spring semester, you must complete the room change before the start of the break. If the room change cannot be completed prior to leaving for the break, you may be asked to take all personal belongings home. This is to help the housekeeping staff clean and prepare for the spring semester. Please see your Residential Area Director (RAD) to make that arrangement. Students assigned to continue housing in the residence halls for spring 2024 are not required to surrender residence hall keys to the staff prior to leaving for the break nor need to move out all your belongings.

4. Students not returning or are thinking of not returning to Millersville University for the spring semester must contact their Residential Area Director (RAD) to receive instructions for checking-out of the residence halls. You will need to follow the instructions given to you by your hall director. Failure to properly check out will result in your being billed.

East Village –Yvonne DeBlois –

Shenks Hall – Matthew Rutkoski –

South Village – Kei-shon Graham –

West Village – Philip Watson –


  1. Log into your MAX Account
  2. Select Student Services
  3. Select Housing and Dining
  4. Select MyHousing
  5. In your MyHousing Account, go to the Applications tab on the left side and complete the “Break_Winter_2023-24Application”.
  6. Once you complete the application, you will receive an email stating that your application was completed.


  • 24-hour quiet hours go into effect at 9:00 PM on Friday, December 1, 2023, and continue through the end of the semester.
  • The residence halls will be closed during winter break except for returning residents who have requested and been approved for winter break housing by University Housing & Conference Services.
  • Card access for all resident students will be discontinued during the winter break. Only returning residents who have requested winter break housing will have card access privileges.
  • Guests and visitation are not permitted during the break.
  • See Dining ServicesHealth ServicesSMC, and The Hub websites for hours of operation.
  • For non-urgent police and campus calls during holiday closing times dial (717) 871-4357. For fire, police, and EMS emergencies, always dial 911.
  • Students assigned to continue housing in the residence halls for spring 2024 are not required to surrender residence hall keys to the staff prior to leaving for the break nor need to move out all your belongings.
  • The Housekeeping and Facilities Management Staff will be working in the campus residence halls to perform maintenance tasks during the break that may require entrance to resident rooms. The University Housing & Conference Services staff may post a courtesy sign on your door indicating that the room is occupied during the winter break. This sign will ensure that workers will not enter your room without knocking. Please leave it in place for the duration of the winter break.
  • All students assigned to the residence hall for fall 2023 are automatically assigned to continue in the residence halls for spring 2024 unless you have filed an official withdrawal from the University, filed and been approval for an official leave of absence for spring 2024, filed for leave of absence due to call to active military service for spring 2024, filed or been approved for study abroad for spring 2024, or are a current study abroad visa international student not returning for the spring 2024 semester. All these circumstances require that you are not registered for classes at Millersville University for spring 2024.


The residence hall staff will conduct health and safety inspections in each residence hall suite at the start of the winter break. Please carefully review the following instructions and information to avoid violations of the Student Code of Conduct for improper maintenance of your residence hall suite/room.

Prior to the start of the break, all resident students returning for the spring and not registered for the winter break period MUST:

  • Dispose of all trash by removing it to the dumpster in the parking lots outside your residence hall.
  • Clean the room/suite including sweeping the floor and wiping down furniture.
  • Clean your bathroom and report any issues with constant run toilets, sinks, showers to the residence hall staff.
  • Remove food from your refrigerator and properly dispose of it through proper trash removal.
  • Defrost your refrigerator.
  • If you are leaving for the break, turn off the lights.
  • If you are leaving for the break, set the thermostat to 70 degrees.
  • If you are leaving for the break, close and lock your room window (Villages).
  • If you are leaving for the break, lower the blinds halfway but leave them open.
  • If you are leaving for the break, lock your bedroom door and your suite door.
  • If you are leaving for the break, please take any valuables home with you.
  • If you are leaving for the break please move all items from your residence hall floor, especially computer equipment and any items that can be damaged by flooding.
  • If you are leaving for the break and you have an approved animal through Learning Services in your room, you must take the animal with you. You may not leave animals in the residence hall in the care of another student or staff member.

Congratulations to our December 2023 graduates!

Happy Holidays and stay safe!

Navigating Thanksgiving Break: Safety and Wellness Tips for College Students

As the semester winds down, college students eagerly anticipate the much-needed Thanksgiving break—a time to relax, recharge, and reconnect with family and friends. However, amidst the excitement of heading home, it’s crucial for students to prioritize their safety and wellbeing. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential safety and wellness tips tailored for those students living on campus.

  1. Travel Smart

Whether you’re flying, driving, or taking public transportation, planning your journey is key to a safe and stress-free trip. Check the weather forecast, ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and inform someone about your travel plans. If you’re flying, arrive at the airport early to avoid unnecessary stress. Utilize transportation services provided by a ride sharing service, local transit, or travel with friends when possible.

  1. Secure Your Living Space

If you’re leaving for the break period, take a few moments to secure your bedroom and suite. Ensure all doors and windows are locked. Please move all items from your residence hall floor, especially computer equipment and any items that can be damaged by flooding. Remove stale food from your refrigerator and properly dispose of it through proper trash removal.

Learn more about all closing procedures by reading the Residence Hall Thanksgiving Break Bulletin.

  1. Maintain Healthy Habits

Regardless of where you spend Thanksgiving break, prioritizing your well-being is crucial. The Thanksgiving break can be a time of indulgence, but it’s essential to maintain healthy habits. Get enough sleep, eat balanced meals, and stay hydrated. Consider packing healthy snacks for your journey home to avoid relying on convenience foods. Maintaining a balance between festive treats and nutritious choices will help you return to campus feeling refreshed. If you’re staying on campus, use this time for self-care. Take walks, try out new recipes, or engage in activities that bring you joy.

  1. Communicate Effectively

Keep your family, friends, and roommates informed about your plans. Provide them with your travel itinerary, including departure and arrival times. In case of any unexpected changes, make sure you have a reliable means of communication, such as a fully charged phone or a portable charger. Regular check-ins with loved ones can also provide peace of mind for everyone involved.

For those staying on campus, staying connected is essential. Reach out to friends, classmates, or neighbors who may also be in the area. Consider exploring nearby events or activities that foster a sense of community and connection. You can also attend the Fun Fest on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 from 2-6 p.m. in the Quad and South Village Great Room to foster connections and build a supportive community. Effective communication can be a bridge to forming meaningful relationships during the break.

  1. Be Mindful of Mental Health

Thanksgiving break can bring a mix of emotions, from excitement to stress or even homesickness. It’s important to be mindful of your mental health during this time. Take moments for self-reflection and relaxation. If you’re struggling, reach out to friends, family, or campus resources for support.

For help with a mental health crisis or emergency after Counseling Center hours, please call:

  • MU Police at 911
  • Crisis Intervention (Lancaster): 717-394-2631
  • National Suicide Hotline: 988
  • Crisis TEXT Hotline: text “HELLO” to 741741

The break can be challenging for those facing difficult home situations or spending the break alone on campus. Be gentle with yourself and recognize the importance of your mental health. Seek out virtual support groups or online communities where you can share experiences and find understanding. Surround yourself with positive influences, even if they are virtual, to create a supportive environment during this time.

6. Manage Your Time Wisely

While Thanksgiving break is a time for relaxation, it’s also an opportunity to manage your time wisely. Set aside dedicated study periods to review class materials or work on upcoming assignments. Creating a study schedule can help you balance academic responsibilities with holiday festivities, ensuring a smoother transition back to campus life. Use this time to get ahead on coursework, reducing stress as the semester comes to a close.


Thanksgiving break is a well-deserved opportunity for college students to unwind. By following these safety and wellness tips, you can make the most of your break, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in creating a Thanksgiving break filled with joy, relaxation, and peace of mind.

Residence Hall Thanksgiving Break 2023 Bulletin

Thanksgiving Break will begin at 10pm on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, after night classes. All students planning to stay for Thanksgiving Break must register by completing the “Break_Thanksgiving_2023 Application” that is in your MyHousing Account. There is no additional cost to stay over the break, but you must apply to be approved. All students that apply to stay are approved and you will receive an email confirmation once you have completed the application. The application will close at 3pm on Monday, November 20, 2023. Students not staying for Thanksgiving Break can return to the halls starting at 12 noon on Sunday, November 26, 2023.

To complete the application, follow these instructions:

1.      Log into your MAX Account

2.      Select Student Services

3.      Select Housing & Dining

4.      Select MyHousing

5.      In your MyHousing Account, go to the Applications tab on the left side and complete the “Break_Thanksgiving_2023 Application.”

6.      Once you complete the application, you will receive an email stating that your application was completed.

The Residence Hall Staff may conduct Health and Safety Inspections in each residence hall suite at the start of the Thanksgiving break. Please carefully review the following instructions and information to avoid violations of the Student Code of Conduct for improper maintenance of your residence hall suite/room.

Thanksgiving Break Housing Information:

  • All University Administrative Offices will be closed on Thursday, November 23, 2023, and Friday, November 24, 2023.
  • Guests and Visitation is not permitted during the break. Guest visitation will start back up at 12noon on Sunday, November 26, 2023.
  • Residence Hall Offices will have limited hours of operation during the break – see front desk for contact information.
  • See Dining Services , Health ServicesThe Hub websites for hours of operation
  • The Housekeeping and Facilities Management Staffs may be working in the campus residence halls to perform maintenance tasks during the break that require entrance to resident rooms.

Thanksgiving Break Preparation Procedures:

Prior to the start of the break, all resident students MUST:

  • Dispose of all trash by removing it to the dumpster in the parking lots outside your residence hall.
  • Clean your room/suite, including sweeping the floor and wiping down furniture.
  • Clean your bathroom and report any issues with constant run toilets, sinks, and showers to the residence hall staff.
  • Remove stale food from your refrigerator and properly dispose of it through proper trash removal.
  • If you are leaving for the break, turn off the lights.
  • If you are leaving for the break, set the thermostat to 72 degrees.
  • If you are leaving for the break, close and lock your room window (Villages).
  • If you are leaving for the break, lower the blinds halfway, but leave them open.
  • If you are leaving for the break, lock your bedroom door and your suite door.
  • If you are leaving for the break, please move all items from your residence hall floor, especially computer equipment and any items that can be damaged by flooding.
  • If you are leaving for the break and you have a Learning Services approved animal in your room, you MUST take the animal with you. You MAY NOT leave animals in the residence hall in the care of another student or staff member.

 Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Break!

Student Marketing Manager Paid Internship Opportunity

Exciting Undergraduate Student Internship Opportunity at Millersville University!

Are you a dynamic and creative Millersville University undergraduate student looking to gain valuable marketing experience? Do you want to work with a team that values professionalism, creativity, and innovation? Millersville University is thrilled to announce an incredible internship opportunity for a Student Marketing Manager within the University Housing & Conference Services (UHCS) department. We are seeking student candidates in their senior year with majors in Business Administration, Business Analytics, English / Writing Studies, Interactive and Graphic Design, Management, and Marketing.

Position Overview: As a Student Marketing Manager intern, you will play a pivotal role in representing the UHCS department and engaging with students, families, visitors, and the wider MU community. You’ll be at the forefront of promoting departmental initiatives and events through various marketing channels, including the department’s blog, social media, and traditional media.

The UHCS blog serves as a vital educational resource for residents and their parents, addressing current topics related to housing, applications, and department-sponsored activities.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Create and promote engaging content for the UHCS blog, social media platforms, and print materials.
  • Collaborate with various university stakeholders to boost the reach of departmental content.
  • Manage and monitor social media accounts, including Instagram.
  • Record and analyze metrics related to marketing strategies and departmental goals.
  • Conduct research on industry-related topics to identify student needs and trending subjects.
  • Maintain confidentiality and uphold ethical standards.
  • Develop audiovisual presentations and written materials for the department.
  • Attend training workshops and professional development opportunities, supported by the department.


To be eligible for this internship, you must:

  • Be a full-time student at Millersville University.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.30.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Office.
  • Possess experience in social media, particularly Instagram.
  • Showcase strong writing, proofreading, and editing skills.
  • Exhibit excellent research, organizational, and time management abilities.
  • Be flexible to work during university breaks.
  • Show a commitment to diversity.
  • Successfully complete background checks (Act 34, Act 114, and Act 151).

Preferred Skills:

While not mandatory, experience or familiarity with the following will be advantageous:

  • Blogging, particularly using the WordPress platform.
  • Understanding of SEO best practices.
  • Experience with digital publishing and generating traffic.


In return for your dedication and hard work, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • Competitive hourly wage of $11.00.
  • Personalized mentorship from the Director of University Housing & Conference Services.
  • Opportunities to learn from and network with marketing professionals through professional development and training opportunities.
  • Paid professional membership to the American Marketing Association for one year.
  • The chance to build a portfolio of work for future employment.
  • Potential for continued paid student employment in this role if you remain enrolled as a Millersville University student, including full-time during the summer months.

This is an exceptional opportunity for aspiring marketers to gain hands-on experience, work with an experienced team, and leave their mark on the Millersville University community.

If you’re ready to kickstart your marketing career and make a difference at Millersville University, apply today. Don’t miss the chance to enhance your skills, develop your professional network, and contribute to our vibrant campus community.

Application Deadline: Friday, November 17, 2023, by 4:30 p.m. 

You can apply through the Millersville University Handshake portal using your MU credentials. For more information, please contact Dr. Scott M. Helfrich.

Tips for 2024 Course Registration

Attention, Marauders! It’s that time of year again when course selection for Spring 2024 is just around the corner. It may feel like you were starting your Fall Semester courses just yesterday, but planning ahead and staying organized can significantly benefit your studies at Millersville University.

Here are four essential tips to help guide you in the right direction:

1. Consider Your Credits and Course Schedule for Self-Care
When selecting your courses, it’s crucial to not only focus on academic performance but also allow time for self-care. Planning your schedule to accommodate study, rest, and peak performance on campus is a significant undertaking, but the effort is always worthwhile. Depending on your credit hours, look into the course timings and ensure they align with your availability. Remember, it’s vital to set aside time for your mental well-being as well.

2. Open and Honest Communication with Your Academic Advisor
Communication is key, especially when it comes to completing your degree. Have an open and honest conversation with your academic advisor about your course load and employment opportunities. Your advisor is there to support you and can provide valuable insights on tailoring your schedule to meet your needs effectively. Remember that your advisor was once a student like you, and their perspective can be a tremendous asset to your academic journey.

3. Meet with Your Academic Advisor in Advance
To ensure a smoother course selection process, meet with your academic advisor well ahead of the selection date. This way, you’ll already know which courses you need to take before they fill up. The earlier you prepare, the more seamless your upcoming semester planning will be.

4. Leverage Your Current Courses and Professors
Your current courses, particularly your core classes, provide a glimpse of what’s to come. Stay focused on your academic performance and don’t hesitate to seek advice on course selection from your professors during their office hours. Building an honest connection with your current professors is an excellent way to ensure academic success and receive occasional assistance. Just like your advisor, your professors were once undergraduate students, and their valuable insights can guide you.

Remember that thinking ahead is a wise practice, especially when it comes to course registration. Registration begins on Thursday, November 2nd, 2023, and we hope that these four tips we’ve provided will be of great help when the course registration date arrives.

Join Our Team: Explore the Exciting World of Event Management with Conference Services

Are you an enthusiastic Millersville University student looking to gain real-world experience and earn a paycheck while you study? University Housing & Conference Services (UHCS) is on the hunt for dedicated and creative students to join our dynamic team. At UHCS, we are the driving force behind the seamless execution of year-round events, including indoor/outdoor athletic camps, conferences, tournaments, and external group facility rentals. If you’ve got a knack for problem-solving, a flair for creativity, and a passion for organizing unforgettable experiences, this is your chance to shine!

Why You Should Apply:

1. Dive into the World of Event Management: Event management is a thrilling and multifaceted field that combines creativity, precision, and innovation. When you join UHCS, you’ll get hands-on experience in planning, organizing, and executing a variety of events, from corporate conferences and sports camps to weddings, music festivals, and charity fundraisers. This role will set you on the path to a bright future in the event industry.

2. Shape Events with Purpose: Your work at UHCS will be integral to Millersville University’s mission and vision. Whether it’s an educational symposium, a promotional extravaganza, a celebratory gala, or a charity event, you’ll have a hand in making events align with our EPPIIC Values and leave a lasting impact.

3. Gain Invaluable Skills: Event management is all about adaptability, organization, and problem-solving. As a UHCS student worker, you’ll develop essential skills in project management, budgeting, and teamwork. These skills will serve you well in your academic pursuits and future career.

4. Networking Opportunities: Working at UHCS means you’ll interact with a wide range of individuals, from university staff to external clients. The connections you make can open doors to future internships, job opportunities, and references.

Available Positions:

  • Student Worker – Conference Services Manager: If you’re a natural leader with a knack for overseeing event logistics, this role is perfect for you. You’ll have the opportunity to manage various aspects of events and work closely with our professional staff.
  • Student Worker – Conference Services Event Staff: This role is ideal for detail-oriented individuals who thrive on the day-to-day execution of events. You’ll be the backbone of our events, ensuring everything runs like clockwork.

The Roadmap to Event Management:

At UHCS, you’ll have the chance to explore the ins and outs of event management. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:

1. Event Planning:

  • Define event objectives, goals, and target audience.
  • Create a budget and identify funding sources.
  • Choose the perfect date, time, and venue to achieve event objectives.
  • Develop a comprehensive event plan, including a timeline, program, and marketing strategy.

2. Venue and Logistics:

  • Select a venue that matches the event’s theme and size.
  • Arrange permits and licenses, and coordinate logistics like transportation, catering, and audiovisual equipment.

3. Event Execution:

  • Supervise and coordinate all event aspects to ensure flawless execution.
  • Handle any unforeseen issues or emergencies with poise and professionalism.
  • Provide outstanding customer service to event attendees.

4. Post-Event Evaluation:

  • Collect valuable feedback from attendees, sponsors, and staff.
  • Analyze the event’s financial performance and assess goal achievement.
  • Document lessons learned and identify areas for future improvement.

Are you ready to embark on this exciting journey into the world of event management? Join UHCS, and let’s create unforgettable experiences together! Click on the links above to apply for the positions that align with your skills and ambitions.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to work with a dynamic team, develop critical skills, and make your mark on Millersville University’s event landscape. Apply today, and be part of something truly extraordinary!

Please contact Assistant Director Michael Kurland at (717) 871-4200 or with any questions you may have.

*** Graphic by Scott M. Helfrich, Ed.D.

EPPIIC Ways to Spread Kindness on Campus

College life is more than just attending classes, studying, and earning a degree. It’s also about fostering a sense of community and spreading kindness wherever you go. For Millersville University students living on campus, creating a positive and inclusive environment can make your college experience even more memorable. In this blog post, we present creative EPPIIC ways to spread kindness on campus, helping you make the most of your time at Millersville and create lasting memories.

Building Relationships

  • Smile at everyone you meet.
  • Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  • Leave cheerful sticky notes for friends, faculty, and staff.
  • Introduce yourself to others who live in your residence hall.
  • Organize a study group or tutoring session.
  • Start a book-sharing club in your residence hall.
  • Offer to cook a meal for a friend.
  • Surprise your roommate with their favorite snack.

Acts of Service

  • Volunteer at local community events.
  • Participate in campus service events.
  • Mentor a younger student.
  • Offer to help a friend with their chores.
  • Run errands for someone who’s sick.
  • Provide academic support to underclassmen.
  • Assist in set up & clean-up for campus events and programs.
  • Donate unwanted clothing to a local charity.

Random Acts of Kindness

  • Pay for someone’s coffee or meal.
  • Leave anonymous compliments on classmates’ doors.
  • Surprise your roommate with a thoughtful gift.
  • Give a genuine compliment every day.
  • Write and share inspirational quotes.
  • Offer a friendly greeting to passersby.
  • Share a helpful tip with fellow students.
  • Start a kindness challenge on social media.

Supporting Mental Health

  • Promote mental health awareness on campus.
  • Offer a non-judgmental space for friends to vent.
  • Attend mindfulness or meditation sessions.
  • Be sensitive to friends’ mental health needs.
  • Encourage peers to seek professional help when needed.
  • Share resources for counseling and support.
  • Offer to accompany a friend to counseling appointments.
  • Host a stress-relief event in your residence hall.
  • Create a safe space for open conversations.
  • Advocate for mental health initiatives on campus.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Attend cultural events and gatherings on campus.
  • Learn about different cultures and traditions.
  • Invite international students for cultural exchanges.
  • Support diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Challenge stereotypes and biases when you encounter them.
  • Engage in dialogue about cultural awareness.
  • Offer assistance to international students adjusting to campus.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Share traditional recipes with friends.
  • Attend guest lectures on diversity and inclusion.

Acts of Kindness Online

  • Leave positive comments on classmates’ social media posts.
  • Share helpful academic resources.
  • Avoid engaging in online negativity.
  • Promote healthy online discussions.
  • Share inspiring stories and quotes.
  • Offer a virtual shoulder to lean on.
  • Send encouraging messages to friends.
  • Promote online awareness campaigns.
  • Organize virtual events to stay connected.
  • Support online mental health initiatives.

Spreading Joy and Laughter

  • Share funny memes and jokes with friends.
  • Host a game night in your residence hall.
  • Plan surprise movie nights in common areas.
  • Decorate your living space with positivity.
  • Share personal stories of overcoming challenges.
  • Encourage humor and laughter in everyday life.
  • Celebrate birthdays and milestones with friends.

Promoting Self-Care

  • Share self-care tips with friends.
  • Organize self-care workshops and activities.
  • Offer to accompany a friend on a self-care day.
  • Provide support during busy exam periods.
  • Encourage a healthy work-life balance.
  • Create self-care kits for friends.
  • Share stress-relief techniques.
  • Promote regular exercise and healthy eating.
  • Offer to help friends create study schedules.
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.
  • Always be a supportive friend and peer.


Spreading kindness on campus is not only about making others’ lives better but also about enhancing your college experience. These ways to spread kindness on Millersville University’s campus can foster a positive, inclusive, and supportive community. Remember, kindness is contagious, and your actions can inspire others to do the same. So, let’s make our campus a better place, one act of kindness at a time!

*** Graphic by Scott M. Helfrich, Ed.D. 

Surviving the Second Half of the Semester: A Guide for Millersville University Students

As the leaves change colors and the crisp autumn air fills the campus, students return from their short fall break, ready to tackle the challenges of the second half of the semester. The first few weeks of the semester might have felt like a breeze, but now, with midterms, assignments, and projects piling up, it’s time to kick into high gear. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with valuable tips and strategies to help you not only survive but thrive during the second half of the semester. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, living on campus, this guide is designed to help you stay on top of your game.

1. Reflect and Regroup

Before diving into the tasks and responsibilities ahead, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the first half of the semester. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What has been working well for you so far?
  • What could you improve or do differently in the upcoming weeks?
  • Are there any courses or assignments that require extra attention?

Take notes and create a plan based on your reflections. This self-assessment will help you make necessary adjustments and approach the second half of the semester with a clear strategy.

2. Set Realistic Goals

With your self-assessment in mind, set realistic academic and personal goals for the remainder of the semester. Be specific about what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it. Setting goals will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the semester.

Consider setting both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals could be weekly or monthly, such as completing a specific assignment or improving your study habits. Long-term goals might include achieving a certain GPA for the semester or securing an internship for the next year.

3. Create a Study Schedule

Having a well-structured study schedule is key to managing your time effectively during the second half of the semester. Ensure your schedule includes dedicated time for classes, study sessions, and personal activities. Here’s a suggested approach:

  • Allocate specific time slots for each class and stick to them.
  • Set aside time for reviewing lecture notes, reading assignments, and completing homework.
  • Prioritize the most challenging or important tasks during your peak productivity hours.
  • Include breaks in your schedule to avoid burnout.

By following a structured schedule, you’ll be more likely to stay on top of your coursework and reduce last-minute cramming.

4. Utilize Campus Resources

Millersville University offers a variety of resources to support your academic success. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your learning experience:

  • Academic Advising: Consult your academic advisor for guidance on course selection and career planning.
  • Tutoring Services: If you’re struggling with specific subjects or assignments, consider seeking help from on-campus tutoring services.
  • Library and Research Support: The library provides access to a wide range of resources, research assistance, and quiet study spaces.
  • Writing Center: Improve your writing skills with the assistance of the Writing Center staff.
  • Health Services: Don’t neglect your physical health. If you’re feeling unwell, visit the campus health center.
  • Counseling Services: Counseling has walk-in service hours Monday through Friday from 1 – 3 p.m. when classes are in session.
  • Career Services: Start planning for your post-graduation career by utilizing the resources and services offered by the Career Center.
  • Center for Health Education & Promotion: CHEP provides educational resources to students on a wide collection of topics including alcohol and other drugs, body image, dating violence, domestic violence, healthy relationships, safer sex, sexual assault, stalking, and stress.

5. Stay Organized

Organization is your best friend during the second half of the semester. Implement these strategies to stay organized:

  • Use a Planner or Digital Calendar: Record important dates, deadlines, and events to keep track of your schedule.
  • Create a To-Do List: Make a daily or weekly to-do list to prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively.
  • Set Up a Study Space: Designate a quiet, organized space for studying, free from distractions.
  • Organize Your Notes: Keep your class notes, readings, and study materials neatly organized.
  • Digital Tools: Utilize apps and tools like Google Calendar or Microsoft Teams to stay organized and manage your tasks efficiently.

6. Connect with Classmates

The second half of the semester is a great time to strengthen your academic and social connections with your peers. Forming study groups, attending review sessions, and participating in class discussions can enhance your learning experience. Collaborating with classmates not only makes studying more enjoyable but also helps you gain different perspectives on the subject matter.

7. Prioritize Self-Care

Maintaining your physical and mental health is crucial during this demanding time. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. Here are some self-care practices to incorporate into your routine:

  • Get Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to stay alert and focused during the day.
  • Eat Nutritious Meals: Fuel your body with a balanced diet to ensure you have the energy to meet your academic demands.
  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity can reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness: Take a few minutes each day to clear your mind and reduce stress through meditation or mindfulness exercises.
  • Seek Support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to Counseling Services on campus.

8. Time Management Techniques

Effective time management is a skill that can make or break your success during the second half of the semester. Consider implementing these time management techniques:

  • The Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. After four cycles, take a longer break. This method can boost productivity and reduce burnout.
  • Time Blocking: Allocate specific time blocks for different tasks and stick to your schedule.
  • Eliminate Distractions: Identify common distractions and minimize or eliminate them while studying.
  • Use a Task Management System: Tools like Todoist or Microsoft To Do can help you organize tasks and stay on top of deadlines.

9. Seek Faculty Support

Your professors are valuable resources when it comes to understanding course material and getting clarification on assignments. Don’t hesitate to seek their support. Here’s how to make the most of your interactions with faculty:

  • Attend Office Hours: Most professors hold office hours during which you can ask questions, seek help, or discuss your progress in the course.
  • Participate Actively in Class: Engage in class discussions, ask questions, and show your interest in the subject matter.
  • Email Responsibly: When emailing your professors, be clear and concise in your inquiries, and always use a professional tone.

10. Stay Motivated

Maintaining motivation during the second half of the semester can be challenging, but it’s essential for your success. Try these strategies to stay motivated:

  • Visualize Success: Imagine achieving your academic and personal goals to boost motivation.
  • Break Tasks Into Smaller Steps: Divide larger assignments or projects into smaller, manageable tasks to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
  • Reward Yourself: Celebrate your achievements, whether big or small, to maintain a positive outlook.
  • Stay Connected to Your Passion: Remember why you chose your major or field of study in the first place and keep that passion alive.
  • Stay Accountable: Share your goals with a friend or roommate and hold each other accountable for staying on track.

11. Embrace Flexibility

While it’s essential to have a well-structured plan, remember that life can be unpredictable. Unexpected challenges and opportunities may arise. Be adaptable and open to adjusting your schedule and priorities as needed. Flexibility is a valuable skill that will serve you well not only during the second half of the semester but throughout your life.

12. Engage in Extracurricular Activities

Millersville University offers a wide range of extracurricular activities, clubs, and organizations. Getting involved in these activities not only enriches your college experience but also helps you manage stress and build a sense of community. Joining clubs related to your interests or career goals can be a fun and productive way to balance your academic life.

13. Reflect on Your Progress

As the semester progresses, regularly take the time to reflect on your progress. Evaluate the goals you’ve set and measure your achievements against them. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use any setbacks as opportunities for growth and improvement.

14. Prepare for Midterms and Finals

Midterm and final exams are significant milestones during the second half of the semester. Start preparing well in advance to reduce the stress associated with these crucial assessments. Review your notes, seek help from professors or tutors if needed, and practice with past exams or sample questions.

15. Utilize Online Resources

In today’s digital age, you have access to a wealth of online resources that can enhance your learning experience. YouTube, Khan Academy, Coursera, and other online platforms offer tutorials and courses that can complement your classroom learning. Use these resources to gain a deeper understanding of your coursework or to explore new subjects.

16. Stay Connected with Family and Friends

Amidst the demands of college life, it’s important not to lose touch with your family and friends. Regularly check in with loved ones, either through calls, video chats, or visits if possible. Their support and encouragement can provide you with a sense of belonging and motivation.

17. Manage Stress

Stress is a natural part of college life, but it’s essential to manage it effectively. In addition to self-care practices, consider relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, or mindfulness meditation. If stress becomes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to seek help from the university’s Counseling Services.

18. Plan for the Future

While your primary focus is on the current semester, it’s never too early to start planning for the future. Explore internship opportunities, research potential career paths, and connect with the university’s Career Services to prepare for life after graduation.

19. Lean on Your Support System

Your friends, roommates, and fellow students are also going through the challenges of the second half of the semester. Lean on each other for support, encouragement, and camaraderie. Study together, share your concerns, and celebrate your achievements as a team.

20. Celebrate Your Achievements

As you reach the end of the semester, take a moment to reflect on your journey. Recognize the hard work you’ve put in, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and the knowledge you’ve gained. Celebrate your achievements, whether it’s acing an exam, completing a challenging project, or simply surviving a tough week.

In conclusion, the second half of the semester at Millersville University is a time for growth, learning, and self-discovery. By implementing these strategies and maintaining a positive attitude, you can not only survive but thrive during this crucial period. Remember that every challenge you face is an opportunity to develop valuable skills and build a foundation for your future success.

Stay organized, stay motivated, and never hesitate to seek support when you need it. Your college experience is not just about earning a degree; it’s about becoming the best version of yourself and preparing for a bright future. Embrace the challenges, cherish the memories, and make the most of your time in college. You’ve got this!

Now, with a clear plan and a supportive community at your side, go forth and conquer the second half of the semester with confidence and determination. Good luck and may your hard work and dedication lead to great success in your academic journey.

*** Graphic by Scott M. Helfrich, Ed.D.