One of the great things about studying at PUC is the student-to-teacher ratio. Unlike larger classes in bigger universities, PUC gives students the opportunity to get to know the faculty and build relationships with them. This allows students to not only get the help they need but build lasting and meaningful relationships.
Faculty at PUC are well known for going above and beyond to not only help their students succeed in class but in their everyday lives as well. They care about your future and want to prepare you for the real world. Building a relationship with your professor allows them to know who you are, and that can only help when it comes time to ask them to write you a letter of recommendation! Go out of your way to get to know your professors and let them get to know you as well. That will not only change how you learn in their classes, but it will also benefit your college experience.
Here are some tips to help you build relationships with your professors, and guess what? They’re really simple!
Let your professors know who you are beyond roll-call. Go up to them and introduce yourself.
Make sure you know how to address your teacher. If they prefer being called Dr., Professor, or even their first name, make sure you address them as they have told you.
Side note: Put your phone down! (unless they ask you to use your phone for class).
You don’t need to sit in the front row or raise your hand every time a question is asked. Just show you are paying attention and do your part when it comes to group activities. Who knows, you might even get called on, so listen and be prepared.
Write Professional Emails
Treat being a student as a job. Don’t write an email to your professor as if you were texting a friend. Students who write professional emails stand-out to faculty. Use the subject line of the email to let make your questions or concerns clear. Some faculty teach more than one class, so use that subject line to show what you need.
Be clear in what you need in the body of your email. If you need to schedule a meeting with your professor, have a concern with your grade, or didn’t understand something in the homework, be up front about that and be specific in what you need.
Take the time to talk with your professor about what you want out of the class. If you are struggling, let them know. Ask them for advice on how you can improve.
Check Office Hours
Faculty put their office hours on the syllabus for a reason! Take advantage of their hours and get the help and advice you need to excel in your classes. Never worry about bothering them, that is what they are there for.
Last week I was scrolling through Twitter and came across an interesting post thread. A woman, a wife and mother, decided to go back to school and get her college degree and was asking for advice for an incoming college freshman. After spending nearly ten minutes reading through the replies, some great, (actually attend your classes) and some a little less great, (don’t date the first attractive person you meet), I realized the faculty and staff at PUC have dedicated their careers to helping students reach their full potential and would likely love to impart some wisdom on this year’s incoming class!
So here it is! Have some free advice from college professionals!
“1) Talk to a teacher or staff member. Even if it is just a few words before or after class. Make contact more than once. We think you are interesting and want to get to know you! That is why we choose to work at PUC. 2) Get involved in something outside your department. Join a club, participate in a music ensemble, show up at SA events, make time to cheer for the Pioneers at home games, volunteer to help out with dorm worship, homeless ministries, vespers, The Twelve, Sabbath school, etc.” – Rachelle Davis, professor of music
“If you are interested in someday being a leader, find opportunities to serve today. Come see me and I can help!” – Kent Rufo, chaplain
“My advice is to ask students! Other students are more than happy to help you out, so just ask! Who knows, you might even make some new friends.” – Jenn Tyner, vice president for student life
“I wish I had taken the time to learn about how the brain stores complex information. If Google had existed, I’d have researched “sleep and learning” and then proceeded to get way more guilt-free sleep than I did. You may also be surprised to find that time spent zoning out in PUC’s Back 40 (without a phone!) also helps your brain to solidify information that you have been studying.” – Maria Rankin-Brown, associate academic dean
“Don’t let finances be a roadblock! Mark the finance deadlines on your calendar: Sep 15, 2019, for Fall, Dec 15, 2019, for Winter and Mar 15, 2020, for Spring. Plan ahead and don’t wait until the last minute to make sure you are financially cleared.” – Brandon Parker, vice president of financial administration (Of course the school’s CFO would give advice about finances!)
“Technology is an important resource but it’s not always easy to know how to use it most effectively for your studies. Talk to your professor about what they recommend. Practice unplugging from your phone and social media while you study until you can sustain 30 or 40 minutes of undistracted work followed by a 5 or a 10-minute break.” – Chantel Blackburn, professor of mathematics
“It’s a fresh start. Reach outside your comfort zone to say hi to someone and meet new friends.” – J.R. Rogers, associate vice president of student life
“Get Organized! In college, your success is up to you (not your parents or teachers any longer). This means you need to develop a study plan, be aware of homework/paper/finals deadlines, and communicate effectively/timely with your professor. Knowing, Who, What, When, Where, and How is invaluable!!!” – Stacy Nelson, associate vice president of human resources
“It’s helpful to get into a mindset of being excited or at least curiously inquisitive about learning new material from every course you take.” – Elaine Neudeck, assistant professor of physical science
“Your college years are when you are the freest you will ever be. Take advantage of this! Try new hobbies. Travel. Visit museums and attend events while you can still get student discounts. Ask lots of questions. Study abroad. Explore different ways of doing things. Take elective courses just to learn something new and fun. Be a student missionary. Say yes when new friends invite you out, or when your professor has a student dinner at their home. Whatever it looks like for you, don’t miss the plethora of opportunities to explore new aspects of life during college; it sets the tone for the rest of your life.” – Becky St. Clair, department of music office manager, PR writer
Keep these tips in mind as you begin your first quarter of college and remember, great advice is just a question away, so ask!
Getting accepted into college is a great accomplishment! Now, you will want to have a plan to stay on track and graduate in four years. While that’s not always possible (lots of people take five!), here are some things you can do to ensure you stay on track.
Meet Regularly With Your Academic Advisor
Your academic advisor is one of the most important individuals on your academic journey. They will help you plan your schedule each quarter and can walk you through your curriculum guidesheet and track your academic progress using the Student Planning tool to assure you’re registered for the right classes at the right time.
Complete An Average of 16 Credits Per Quarter
To earn a baccalaureate degree in four years, you need to complete at least 192 college-level credits, which is about 48 credits per year, and an average of 16 credits per quarter. That means you should plan for 16 credits a quarter. If you get behind, don’t worry; your advisor can assist you in figuring out how to fit in some extra credits or apply for summer classes!
Follow Your Curriculum Guidesheets
Every program has what’s called a curriculum guidesheet, which lists the classes needed to complete the program and contains a sample four-year schedule you can refer to when planning your schedule each quarter. Visit puc.edu/academics/degrees-programs for a complete list of programs and the accompanying guidesheet.
Note: Undeclared students can still plan to finish in four years if they take an average of 16 well-chosen credits per quarter! You may refer to the “Information for Undeclared Majors” guidesheet for a sample first-year schedule for deciding students.
Track Your Progress with the Student Planning Tool
This helpful tool (available through WebAdvisor) shows you which courses you will need to take to complete your degree. If you’re considering changing your major, you can also run a comparison for a new degree to see which requirements you have already met and how many credits you still need to complete. The Student Planning tool is available through your WebAdvisor account in the Academic Profile section (click on “Student Planning” and select “My Progress”).
Avoid Transferring Schools
Don’t leave! Since different schools offer varying degrees and requirements, earning a chosen degree on time means committing to a school’s program and tenaciously working toward completing requirements. Plus, we’d miss you.
Take Your Classes Seriously
Attend your classes and take them seriously. Did you know if your cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0, you will be placed on academic probation? That could seriously slow you down. But not to worry, if you are struggling, we encourage you to seek help from your academic advisor and the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). There are multiple resources available to you helping establish academic success.
Just remember, while stressful at times, your years in college are going to be some of the greatest! By keeping the above steps in mind and accepting the support your Pioneers family offers, you’re setting yourself up for a successful and meaningful scholastic quest.
On Sept 18, 2010, I left my sunny SoCal home and began the 8-hour trek to Pacific Union College. On June 18, 2017, I will be walking across the stage as an official graduate of this college! My time at PUC has been a compilation of the best and most challenging years of my life. As I complete my undergraduate career, here is some advice I would like to leave you as a student, prospective student, interested person, or the fourth person reading this, my mom.
Be a “Yes” Man/Woman In my time at PUC I have had the great opportunity of getting to know a variety of different people as well as hold a variety of different student leadership positions. This school presented me with an abundance of opportunities to get involved with student life and develop my leadership skills. When I first came here, I didn’t know how to get involved or if I really wanted to. Little by little, professors and fellow students began to ask me if I wanted to help with different events and/or hold different leadership positions. Hesitantly, I said yes and have never looked back. Each opportunity pushed me to get out of my introvert shell to the point where anyone reading this who has come to know me in my time at PUC will be surprised to know I classify myself as an introvert. Say “Yes.” Go and get involved. Whether becoming an officer for one of the many clubs we have on campus, getting a job in a department, or even running for an elected position in Student Association or Senate, you will thank yourself later.
Break Bread with Friends The fact we are located in one of the culinary capitals of the world means there are plenty of great places, besides the Dining Commons, to ease your “hAngriness” or your “hAttitude”. You can build your own sandwich at Guigni’s Deli, slurp a delicious milk shake from Gott’s Roadside, or share a bomb.com margherita pizza from Tra Vigne. BUT, being that most of us are on a college student budget, this means you also get to make trips to Safeway and cook your own meals with friends once in awhile. Sometimes this means ramen in your room at 3 a.m., on the floor, while your roommate is up playing WOW (World of Warcraft) and sometimes you channel your inner Gordon Ramsey and make a whole potluck for your friends on Sabbath afternoon. Whatever it may be, I know some of the best memories I have at PUC are mixing ingredients, over a stove and around a table, sharing a meal with my friends.
Family is the Most Important Thing If college is your first time away from home, you may experience one of two things. First, this may be the happiest time of your life as you are now a full-fledged adult and have finally realized you never needed your mom and dad anyway and they were only holding you back from your true potential as an independent, self-sufficient human being. OR, and this is the category I fell into, you may feel a little sad, maybe even a little alone. This is probably not due to the fact you are actually alone, but more so that you miss your parents or whomever you left back home. Let me assure you, there is nothing wrong with this, and yes, you can still be an adult and be homesick.
Hands down my favorite part of my experience here at PUC has been what I discovered when I felt most alone on this hill. You see, up here we have something I can’t fully explain to you, you simply have to experience it on your own. We call it “The PUC Family.” This family took me from Grainger Hall 209, crying on my first birthday away from home, to countless occasions of laughing until I cried. During my time here, the family has been through a lot of great times and a few very difficult times. We have laughed together, struggled through finals together, and mourned the loss of dear family members together. People often say we are kind of “stuck” up here on this hill, but let me tell you, being “stuck” has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. At PUC I have made family members who will last me a lifetime. I have met people who I can be real with, people I can cry with, people whom I love. So if you are nervous about leaving home, don’t worry, you’re coming to another one.
Juan will be graduating with degrees in psychology, Spanish, and nursing.
Trust God’s Timing and His Plan There are times in your academic career, and in life in general, when you are going to be unsure. You are going to doubt yourself, you are going to stress, and you might want to switch your major from biology and pre-med to basket weaving with an emphasis in Ultimate Frisbee. That’s OK. You probably also will experience some form of failure. That’s OK too. I have found PUC has given me a good balance of success and “gut checks.” What I mean by that is, for all the good times I have had, there were less desirable times I also thank God for. I thank God because though things didn’t always go my way, though I didn’t always get the grade I wanted, and though I doubted myself and Him many times, I am stronger because of it.
There you have it, my “two cents” on a world-class experience at Pacific Union College. If you are a current student, enjoy it while it lasts, the end comes faster than expected. If you are a potential student, get ready for a life-changing experience academically and to be part of a new family. If you are neither, but simply an interested reader, I say “cheerio” and I hope you enjoyed. If you are my mom and are crying while reading this, I say “I love you and thank you and Dad for giving me the experience of a lifetime.”
Juan Hidalgo 3rd At-Large Senator Chief Student Ambassador Senior Class President
It’s tradition at PUC for seniors to ring the historic Healdsburg Bell when they’ve finished their last final. Congratulations Juan!
After four years of living in one of America’s most beautiful locations, I am leaving with a college degree, great memories, and lifelong friends. PUC has done wonders to my life. From the scrawny, neon-color wearing freshman that showed up in late 2011, I now finish up my time as a scrawnier student leader and pleased PUC student.
There are four areas regarding PUC that I want to attribute my enjoyable undergraduate career towards:
If being able to jog from your dorm room to a lush forest in less than five minutes is ideal, then PUC is the place for you. Whenever academic stress peaked, I could always grab a friend and go for a quick trail run, mountain bike ride or an afternoon of reading in a field. PUC’s famous “Back 40” provided me with countless hours of thinking-filled solitude and helped solidify who I am today.
The only factor that limits your opportunities at PUC is there only being 24-hours in a day. PUC is the place for proactive people. Over the past two years, PUC has allowed me to serve on the following teams and roles: Student Senate, Student Association, multiple department teaching assistants, pre-law club president and TLC tutor. That is just me; you can do much more. The amount that PUC enables involvement, you will be graduating with only one problem — how do I fit all of this on my résumé?
Being away from family and trusted council is tough. However, the professors at PUC showed me countless times they care about you as a person, not just a student. When I tell my friends from other universities I go to breakfast with my professors on weekends or that professors host dinner and movie nights, I am always met with a blank stare. That is what the stare of envy looks like. The professors care, plain and simple. They care about you, your ambitions and even your personal life, as “Mama Douglas” reminds me she is a required guest at my future wedding.
Lynne Thew, David O’Hair, Brittnie Sigamoney, Mark Soderblom, and Milbert Mariano celebrate the College Media Association awards in New York City.
4) The “Fail Factor”
Most importantly, PUC allows for self-exploration. The supportive environment lets you try things, fail at them and then move on with your life. Don’t believe me? Remember my month as an art major? Neither does the history department faculty. It’s that simple, PUC lets you take chances and then helps you recover from the less fortunate ones. The support network I have found at PUC through faculty, friends and mentors is absolutely unprecedented.
Those are four aspects of PUC I will cherish my entire life. While the college experience is different for everyone, I can promise if you give PUC a shot, you will not regret it.
It’s PUC tradition to ring the Healdsburg Bell after your last final. It’s been great to hear seniors like David ring the bell all week long!
Name: Melissa Setterlund From: Nampa, Idaho Major: Nursing Graduation: AS in June 2014, BSN in June 2015
Why did I choose Nursing?
I’ve always wanted to help people, especially those who are unable to help themselves. I also find human anatomy to be fascinating. Add to that the excitement of how different medications work on the body and BAM! You have the trifecta for a desire to be a nurse. There are always a million reasons to do each job, and if those don’t appeal to you, that doesn’t mean that nursing isn’t for you. It’s okay for you to have your own reasons.
A Normal Week
Usually I have class 2-3 days a week. The other days are filled with clinical hours, one or two shifts at the hospital a week. During my free days, I try to put in as many work hours as I can and then, of course, I spent time studying and doing homework. It’s definitely a busy schedule, but if you’re able to manage your time well and motivate yourself to complete assignments and study, you’ll be just fine.
Favorite Class at PUC
I have two favorites: Pharmacology and Maternal-Newborn. Pharmacology appeals to my interest in the body and how medications work. It helps that the professor, Susan Bussell, keeps things interesting by using different candies to compare to the different medications. Maternal-Newborn, taught by Gladys Muir, interested me because of how the body changes to accommodate another human life. Again with the whole anatomy kick, the idea of creating life and your body adapting to it is fascinating.
Most Exciting Experience
Probably the most exciting experience I’ve had relating to nursing was during my clinical rotation to the Labor & Delivery Unit. I was able to see a baby being born. It was special to see how happy the mom and the dad were when they were able to hold their baby for the first time. It was probably even cooler for me since Maternal-Newborn was one of my favorite classes. It showed me the things I learn at PUC are applicable to real life and happen in the real world.
You’ve probably heard a million times that you should study hard, use good time management, and take advantage of tutoring, so I won’t go that route. Instead, I encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity for doing or learning something new in the hospital. Tell your nurse that you want to do something new and ask if there is a procedure or treatment being done that day that you could be a part of and don’t be afraid to get in there and participate. You are there to learn and become a nurse so take every opportunity you can.
BS in Exercise Science Health and Nutrition, 2014
AS in Health Science, 2014
From Redding, CA
Things I love about PUC: The people! Everyone is super nice and friendly. The professors are always willing to go above and beyond to help you, and your fellow students are more than just classmates – they are friends you will have forever.
Things I’ll miss about PUC: I will miss the PUC atmosphere – everyone I have had the privilege of getting to know here on campus (they are truly some of the most amazing people I have ever met), as well as the spiritual and upbeat vibe you get on campus. I will also miss running on the trails in PUC’s beautiful Back 40!
What I wish I had known: I wish I had known about the Napa area more. There are so many fun places to eat and explore! From restaurants and shops to beaches and hiking trails, there is so much to do! Plus, I always see familiar PUC faces when I’m out and about, which is great.
Tips for freshmen: 1. Get to know your professors! This will make your classes more enjoyable and open the door to unexpected friendships. 2. Get a job! Working on campus allows you to meet a variety of people, and make some extra cash for those lovely textbooks. 3. Get involved! Don’t be cooped up in your room too much – get out and discover more of what PUC has to offer.
Everyone calls me crazy and… they’re right
By Suwanna Vatananan
(Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared in a recent issue of The Campus Chronicle.)
You would think that when I took 21 credits last quarter, I would’ve learned my lesson. But, here I am, in the last quarter of my undergraduate career, wanting to pull all my hair out with a whopping 25.2 credits. I mention the .2 because, for the first time in all four years of college, I actually paid more attention to school when I was overloading than when I was doing the average 12-17 credits, so every little ugly detail has begun to count for me. I’m really hoping that after reading this, you will learn from my mistakes and make the most out of your time at PUC. So, here are a few pointers to make your life significantly easier than mine:
1. Plan out your class schedule ahead of time. If you can do it as far as a year in advance; even better. There’s nothing worse than having to stay an extra quarter or having to double up on your school load.
2. Believe it or not; sleep is super important. All those adults grilling you all these years were right when they said you need eight hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep builds up and when you don’t get a sufficient amount, it ruins everything. The video games, Skype sessions, binge TV watching, or whatever you do at night can seriously wait. Trust me, your health will thank you later.
3. Make time for yourself. I learned this one the hard way. It’s all fun and games until you’re suffering from pure exhaustion. Learning how to say “no” goes along with this as well. It’s not easy, I know. I’m still learning how to do that myself. If you have to think twice about whether or not you can help a friend with something or when you can pencil them in, it’s probably something you shouldn’t be doing in the first place. With six billion other people on this planet — and 1,677 other people in this school — there’s bound to be someone else that can lend a helping hand.
4. It’s okay to not be okay. I’m someone who gets overwhelmed easily, but would rather hold it in and act like nothing is wrong. I have learned there is nothing wrong with struggling. Learn different ways to help yourself de-stress. I’ll share a couple of things I do when I’m stressed. Bear with me; they are the most random combination of things in the world! I’ll either go get an espresso shake with Oreos from Gott’s; you might find me going for a run around campus; or I’m probably in my room watching something on Netflix. It all depends on your mood and who you are, but having plenty of options is what will help you get through the rough times.
5. Lastly, keep your friends and family close. I’m not talking about proximity either. I mean talk to them daily, tell them what is going on in your life, or go and do something spontaneous and fun. At the end of a long a day, it is that group of people who will drop everything just to check in with you and put a smile on your face.
College is rough, and anyone who told you otherwise wasn’t telling the truth. But you wouldn’t be here if you were incapable of getting through it. Keep your head up! If I can survive through 25.2 credits when senioritis is supposed to be in full gear, then you are going rock at anything you do.
Hi! I’m Kristen Beall and I have a few thoughts I wanted to share with you.
I am just about to wrap up my Pacific Union College career in just a few short weeks. I could not be more excited to start this next step in life but that means leaving behind my beloved school. Over the past four years I have fallen in love with not only our beautiful campus but the beautiful people as well. When I say “beautiful” I am not talking about outward appearances, but inward. PUC has attracted some of the most genuine and loving people I have ever met. As one of the student chaplains on campus I have come into contact with multiple students/faculty from all different
backgrounds and I have learned something from each one of them. PUC has provided me with a lot of opportunities to get involved such as being a student chaplain, student ambassador, desk worker, tutor at the TLC tutor, and as a Life Group leader. All of these “jobs” have been such a blessing to me. I was able to help students with their homework, life problems, and even their decision on coming to PUC.
If you are reading this then you must be either planning on joining the PUC family or
at least interested in what this school has to offer; I hope I can help reassure you
that PUC is where you need to be. You see I was not planning on coming to PUC. In
fact, I was enrolled at a community college for five weeks before deciding 5 days
before school started to make PUC my home. It took some adjusting, as any
relocation would, but after settling in I fell in love with the school. There are so
many opportunities to get involved and if you take advantage of these then I
guarantee your experience will be just as amazing as mine was. If you like sports
you can join a collegiate team or intramurals for some friendly competition. If sports
are not your cup of tea we have multiple music opportunities such as wind
ensemble, orchestra, gospel choir, and many other groups to join including a jazz
band! PUC also has many clubs on campus such as the Mabuhay Club, Math Club,
Chess Club, and more.
There are so many opportunities PUC has to offer but the last one I’d like to focus on
is campus ministries. Getting involved with the campus ministries team was the
best decision I have made at PUC. The group that I have worked with is an amazing
group and I couldn’t be more proud of the spiritual leaders they have become.
Whatever your passion is, whatever you enjoy doing, we will help you make it into a
ministry. Yes, there are specific jobs that need to be filled but more importantly we
want to accommodate to you and the needs of the campus. There are multiple
chaplains around campus that are always willing to talk and help in any way they
can. There are no prerequisites, just stop in the office and we’ll get you plugged in!
If you would like more information about campus ministries and other ways you can get involved at PUC, take a look at the Campus Culture page on our Admissions site. You can also check out the Student Association Facebook page for upcoming events such as banquets, vespers speakers, and more.