Mentoring Monday: How To Make a Good First Impression

How to Make a Good First Impression

Angelica Grau, School of Music Mentor


During your first few weeks of school you will meet a ton of new people: professors, ensemble members, directors, and friends. Upon meeting these people, you give them your first impression. This isn’t something that many people consciously think about, probably because of quotes similar to this one by my favorite author, Lemony Snicket: “I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”

While I believe this to be very true, many of the people you meet will not exactly agree with me or Mr. Snicket. It is imperative that you make a good first impression, for any slip-ups could cause some real damage to your reputation. Allow me to give you three big tips to help you create a good name for yourself in Swope.


1. Appearances matter.

I know, getting up for that 8AM is hard. So you just roll out of bed and walk to class, clad in your PJ’s from the night before. Many people do this. You’ll see them in sweatpants and t-shirts on a regular basis. However, from conversations I’ve had with a handful of professors, they’re not the biggest fans of these students. One professor even went so far to tell me that, “I can tell the ones who wake up ten minutes before class by the way they dress. It shows in their performance in my class”. Unless you want to be branded as “that student,” I’d take a couple of minutes to choose an outfit in the morning. You don’t have to go all-out, but at least put some effort into it.


2. Watch your language.

This is probably the most important one. Yes, college is a lot different than high school. You’re an adult now. Regardless of this, foul language (A.K.A “swear words”) is not well-received. I have seen students swear during class and it really hits the ear wrong—not only to your fellow students, but to your professors too. Nobody likes a dirty mouth. Even if you are very frustrated at your aurals grade or at the piano piece you just can’t get, find some alternative words to replace those unforgivable. Not only will the School of Music be thankful, but your parents will too when you come home not speaking like a sailor.


3. Think about what you do and/or say before you do and/or say it.

Common sense, right? Many people forget. Being in a new place surrounded by new people may make you feel like you want to impress these people. You may do or say something that is outside of your usual comfort zone. At times, this can be a good thing! Maybe you’ll make a new friend, or hit it off with a professor. Other times your peers may find these as reckless. That joke you just made in the Swope lounge you thought would cause a riot just severely offended most of the people in the room. Did you talk back to your professor in class for no good reason? Expect future problems to arise if you don’t try and resolve it. Just use your head. Think about the consequences of your actions. Nobody is going to tell you how to act, so use your gut.


I don’t mean to scare you with threats of your reputation. I just want you to realize that people don’t forget. Ever. Not just in Swope, but in the real world. These years are the most important for your career as far as networking goes. Make the most of it! You can have fun, just be mindful of what you’re doing and how you come off to others.


Mentoring Monday: The Roommate Situation: Dealing with the Agreement Forms

The Roommate Situation: Dealing with the Agreement Forms
Rebekah Powell, School of Music Mentor

At the start of the year, your Resident Assistants will ask you to fill out a Roommate Agreement form. It may seem tedious and unimportant, but at the same time, it is extremely important to take these forms as seriously as possible. You are going to be living with your roommate for the entire school year, and this agreement form is an important part of living with your roommate without as many problems. Here are a few things to consider that they will ask you to fill out on your form.

1) Lights Out!– One of the questions is what time lights should go out in your room. If you are not a night owl, really consider having lights out around 9-10. If you like to stay up later, then consider a later time. If you and your roommate have conflicting ideas on what time lights should go out, try and make a compromise. If he/she wants to have the lights go out at 1 AM, and you want lights out at 10 PM, then try and make a compromise to 11:30-Midnight. As a music major, you will have nights where you may need to stay up later so between the hours of 10 and 12 is a good bet. If they still have an issue, talk to your RA’s and see what they say about it. They are there to help you out so if you need to talk to them they are always there for you.

2) Visitors– It is inevitable, your roommate, or even you, both have friends and significant others that you want to visit your dorm room. Set ground rules for your roommate, but be willing to follow them yourself. If you do not feel comfortable with your roommate’s significant other or friends being over every weekend, tell them upfront, and they will most likely understand. If you have a significant other or friends who want to stay over every weekend be sure to ask your roommate how they feel about that and be flexible about what your roommate wants as well as what you want. You are both living there and both paying to stay in that room, so think about what both of you want in this situation and make good compromises.

3) Your Personal Space!– Think about everything in your room that you will bring to college. If there is anything that you do not want your roommate using, such as personal hygiene products, clothing, shoes, or even food, put it down for things you do not want your roommate using. If you do not put it down and your roommate starts borrowing stuff without your permission and you go talk to your RA about it, and they pull out your agreement and see that the item he/she is using is not there on that list, there is nothing that they can do about it and you must try and talk it out with your roommate on your own. On the other hand, there is also a section where you can name things that you don’t mind them using, such as office supplies. Be sure your roommate and you have a good conversation about what you want to share and what you don’t want to share.

4) The Thermostat (Affiliated only)– You like the room warmer, while your roommate likes the room colder, what do you do? During each season, it will ask you for the maximum temperature and the minimum temperature you want the room to be. Try and be very willing to compromise on this. If you like the room colder and your roommate prefers the room to be warmer, try and set the temperature where you can both be happy, (maybe like 65-70 degrees F). It says on your thermostat to not make the room hotter than 75 degrees on the heat setting, and no colder than 60 degrees on the A/C setting. try and obey these settings. Some people didn’t my freshman year and the first night after winter break at 1 AM all of the room’s control systems started rattling to the point where I thought the building was going to explode. It took 2 hours to fix the problem and no one on my floor could sleep. So be compromising. It does not have to be really hot or really cold in your room, so compromise with your roommate and follow the guidelines your dorm has set for you.

5) Music to your Ears?– You have a big test the next day, and you decide to study in your dorm room. Meanwhile, your roommate wants to watch a movie or a YouTube video on their laptop. How do you compromise? If you do not mind listening to music or the video, then this scenario would not bother you. If you need silence when you study, ask them if they could wear headphones while listening to their music. If you are the one watching the video while your roommate is doing homework or trying to study, then do not be offended if your roommate needs you to put headphones on. They just want to do well in class and need total silence to do their homework. Headphones are the best option for you and your roommate to do your own thing without interfering with their studying or homework.

6) Make a Copy– When you and your roommate finish your agreement form, you will eventually give the sheet to your RA and they will store it for you throughout the year. Make a copy for you and your roommate or scan it onto your computer so that way you have it and will not forget anything you put on that sheet. I never did this either year and it would have helped me this year with some issues I had with my roommate about people visiting our room, so I can see what we agreed on. It is a way that you can solve many situations and keep it between you and your roommates without having to get the RA’s or directors involved.
Rooming with another person may be a new experience for you. Being an only child it was a new experience for me. The agreement form may help you learn to live with another person for the first time. Keep these guidelines and it is sure to be a great experience.

Mentoring Monday: Get Involved! Now!

Get Involved! Now!
Michael W. Pettis, School of Music Mentor

West Chester has over 260 organizations on campus that reach every aspect of life for out of classroom enrichment. WCU prides its self on this and continues to support and encourage organizations to keeping doing what they do.

What organizations are there?
Academic Groups
There is pretty much every single club here at West Chester University. In the Academic/Professional groups there is Accounting Society to Honors Student Association. Italian Club to Philosophy Club. And Political Science Club to Women in Science as well. And if you have seen the group here, I’ll bet it’s already in the process to becoming a recognized organization. It is also important to notice that most of the departments have some kind of club associated with it. WCU truly believes in the education in and outside the classroom!

Other Activities
Every Friday night at 9:14pm (weird time to start something), Sykes put on a show called Sykes After Dark. One thing to remember is that there is always free food! Always free food! The Rec Center is the perfect way to avoid the freshmen 15 or is it freshmen 20 know…

Student Government Groups
There are several student government groups on campus. Those that I will mention here have the most effect on you as a first year student. The Student Government Association, which recognizes all clubs, gives budges to about 130 of them, and governs the organizations on campus. They meet every Tuesday night at 7:15pm in the Sykes 115. The Residence Hall Association, which is in support of enriching the dorm life experience is in charge of all of the dorms extra activity, which is what the Resident Assistants or RA are not doing.It is a great way to get involved and expand on your leadership skills that you have taken from high school to college. You will see postings and hear hall announce throughout the year in your dorm.

There are also other different categories of organizations. There are about 15 Service Groups on campus. Most of then are in the form of honors Greek organizations suck as Alpha Phi Omega. There is also a Circle K international Chapter and a Relay. There are Religious Groups such as the CrossSeekers, Hillel Jewish Student Union and the Muslim Student Association. West Chester also has one of the most diverse campuses; these organizations in the Social Equity/Diversity categories keep West Chester updated and in the know for diversity involvement. There are Sports clubs, Honors fraternities and sororities, and Interest groups. One of the biggest interest clubs is Student Activities Council, or SAC. They host some of the biggest events on campus, especially their Bingo Night, which usually occurs at the end of the semester, they give out outrageously expensive prizes, like cruises, plane tickets, iPads, and then of course the silly stuff.

Time Commitment
Everything in college comes at a price when it comes to devoting time to something. And of course, we music majors have the worst schedules ever, but only because we have the best major ever. For joining extra curricular activities devote what you can to the organization. Be up front and talk to the secretary or president about your interest in the club, but you are a first year student looking at what west Chester has to offer. On the other end, be somewhat committed to what you signed up for. You never know what you might want to do in the organization in the future and you don’t want your pass hunting you!

What I recommend?
Go to the Fall Involvement Fair on Wednesday, September 5, 2014, over 200 organizations will be in the quad looking to inform you about what it is their club does. It is truly awesome to see what WCU has to offer in one spot. It is usually held in the Academic Quad, and is usually hot out. So plan on wearing sunscreen because I bet you will be out in there for a little bit longer than you expected!

Don’t be afraid to take some friends and go to an interest meeting for a club or an event the club is sponsoring. More than likely they will be happy to see you and invite you in with open arms. If you don’t want to do that or are already busy, but do not want to miss out on the opportunity (like me) send a quick email telling them who you are and that you are expressing some interest in the club and want to know more about what it is they do.

For more information go to

P.S. Shameless plug for Swope; some of the clubs based out of Swope can help you get acquainted with the world that is outside of Swope.

Announcing: Mentoring Monday!

Many of you know that this year we are launching a new and improved School of Music Mentoring Program.  We have incredible mentors lined up who have undergone training for the program and are ready to go! Aside from their duties to the new students, they’ve volunteered to write down their thoughts on different topics for you throughout the year! Each Monday we’ll post a Mentoring Monday article written by one of our School of Music Mentors.  They are already hard at work writing their articles, but if there is something you’d like to see, please let me know at

Site Launch

Good afternoon, School of Music Students!

I’ve noticed that our website lacks resources and information for our current students, and I wanted to create a space that I can manage and update easily that will be a great resource for all of your School of Music-needs.  From that came the idea to start a wordpress page which can be used to post pages full of information as well as blog-style updates and announcements.  Each time I post to this site it will also post to our Facebook account, Ask Sommy.

Today is the first day I’m releasing this blog to the public.  Please explore the different pages and let me know what more you’d like to see. I’ll be continuing to develop this site all summer so that by the time you need these resources in the fall they will be available to you.  This site will also be linked to our website so that you can find it easily.