Published: Aug. 6, 2015

Back-to-school tips

Contact(s): Katie Stiefel Media Communications, Melissa Delekta Media Communications, Jennifer Orlando Media Communications office: (517) 353-4355 cell: (517) 980-0076

Summer is flying by, and fall classes at MSU are around the corner.

As students make their way to the banks of the Red Cedar, there are a variety of tips and pieces of advice offered by MSU experts on topics ranging from health to finance.

Classes start Sept. 2.

Mental health

Scott Becker, acting director of the Counseling Center at MSU, said the most important idea that college students should know regarding mental health is that it is not a static condition or personality trait, but rather a process.

“The more we pay attention to our mental health, the more we take care of ourselves and the more likely we are to maintain a sense of balance and healthy functioning,” Becker said.

The Counseling Center offers individual and group counseling. The center also shares the information they have regarding stress reduction, mindfulness, coping skills and more with those involved in residence education and health education.

“While some students can benefit from practical information, others may require short-term or longer-term treatment, and we can help students decide which form of intervention is most effective,” Becker said.

Contact Becker at (517) 355-8270 or or learn more about the Counseling Center at

Study abroad

Inge Steglitz, acting director in the Office of Study Abroad, said studying abroad allows students to engage in cultures different from their own and provides a great opportunity to build meaningful skills that help position them for a successful career.

Spartans have the opportunity to study abroad in more than 60 countries with more than 275 programs available. With a long history of international engagement, MSU currently ranks in the top 10 throughout the country for both international student enrollment and study abroad participation.

“Start planning early,” Steglitz said. “Begin by searching our website, coming to the Study Abroad Fair and meeting with a peer adviser in the Study Abroad Advising Center.”

Contact Steglitz at (517) 432-2685 or or learn more about the Office of Study Abroad at

Becoming familiar with MSU

James Dorsett, director of the Office for International Students and Scholars, said it is important for international students to not just work hard and concentrate on studies, but to get involved on campus.

“Coming to a new country can be a stressful experience for new international students and scholars,” Dorsett said. “I encourage them to get involved in campus leadership, meet new people and make friends.”

Dorsett said the orientation and special programs at MSU for international students have been set up to help make the transition process easier, help them to learn about resources to assist them and make friends and connections.

Contact Dorsett at (517) 353-1741 or or learn more about the Office for International Students and Scholars at

Credit card safety

Tom Holt, associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice, said the best way to prevent credit card fraud is to monitor your bank accounts regularly so that irregular charges will be caught sooner rather than later.

“When it comes to managing your accounts online, make sure you check them from a computer that you trust on a network you know to be secured and try to avoid doing so from open Wi-Fi hotspots like a coffee shop,” Holt said. “Those networks can be monitored by hackers and it is possible to capture sensitive information about you, which may increase your potential for loss.”

Holt also said not to read your credit card number out loud while in a public place, make large purchases online from a site you do not trust or respond to emails that look like they are from your bank asking you to verify your account information. All these things open one up to credit card fraud.

Contact Holt at (517) 353- 9563 or or learn more about the School of Criminal Justice at

Getting involved on campus

Renee Zientek, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, said students should keep in mind that learning happens both in and out of the classroom.

“I recommend that students seek out co-curricular activities that will be relevant to their goals and future plans,” Zientek said. “Staying focused while allowing yourself to stay open to new opportunities usually helps keep one’s internal compass pointing in the right direction.”

One way to get involved immediately is to participate in Day of Service. MSU has several large service days throughout the year and the first one is Fill the Bus 2015 on Sept. 4.

“Establishing meaningful connections and seeking relevant and purposeful engagement early in your career as a student at MSU is a pattern that will lead to personal and academic success,” Zientek said. “There are many community engaged learning courses at MSU that will help students connect service to their learning.”

Contact Zientek at (517) 353-4400 or or learn more about the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at


Dean Sienko, College of Human Medicine associate dean for prevention and public health, said that while MSU does not require students to be up-to-date on immunizations it is definitely encouraged. All students are required to keep a web-based immunization form up to date.

“No one in the MSU community should fall ill from a vaccine-preventable disease,” Sienko said. “With high compliance rates, we can collectively mitigate the disease threats on campus and protect the many students who travel abroad.”

In addition to the standard childhood vaccinations, Sienko reccomends college students complete the following immunizations: Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis Booster (Tdap), Meningococcus, Varicella (chickenpox), Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), Influenza and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

“We owe it to ourselves and the wellbeing of our fellow Spartans to be fully immunized,” Sienko said.

Contact Sienko at (517) 432-6685 or or learn more about the College of Human Medicine at

Tracking your health

Rhonda Conner-Warren, assistant professor of health programs, said that many chronic diseases diagnosed later in life have been attributed to how health is managed during youth.

“Students need to be mindful at this stage in life,” Conner-Warren said. “We want to build a better tomorrow and that starts with being your best today.”

She works with medical professionals to determine how smartphone applications may help patients in terms of health promotion, health maintenance or to gain health knowledge.

Conner-Warren recommended applications such as My Fitness Pal for caloric and nutrient information and MapMyRun or MapMyWalk to keep track of activity and receive coaching. She also suggested to download apps for a local pharmacy for medication refill notifications and an app to help promote a healthy diet, Shopwell.

Contact Conner-Warren at (517) 355-4719 or or learn more about the College of Nursing at

For more MSU experts that may offer back-to-school tips, visit the MSU expert directory.

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