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Billiken Bulletin Newsletter

Happy November, Billiken Families! Thanksgiving is almost here. This can be a challenging and interesting time for your Saint Louis University Billiken. In this edition of the Billiken Bulletin, we continue to share supportive resources available to your students as they wind down the semester and prepare for finals. We also include information on how you can support your student as they continue to make important decisions that will impact their college journey. SLU understands and sees you as a valuable partner in this process.

What Now?

Resiliency Strategies for College Students

Written by Emily Tuttle, Ph.D., Interim Assistant Director of Academic Support and Student Success Coach

With midterms behind us and finals on the horizon, students may have encountered setbacks in their classes. While learning to cope with challenges is an important life lesson, it can be hard to see your student struggling and navigating difficult situations. In moments like these, you might be wondering how best to support your student, so let’s talk about how to help students build resiliency, particularly when it comes to academic challenges.

Students sitting and socializing togetherResiliency is the successful adaptation to adversity and refers to how we perceive, manage, and cope with everyday stressors and traumatic events. No one is born with resiliency; it’s a skill that is practiced and honed in the face of stress. As we effectively manage and respond to stressors, we improve our ability to overcome future adversities.

So what makes a student resilient? What qualities and skills should be engaged? Broadly, resilient people understand that challenges happen to everyone in life. This recognition counters the feeling that you’re the only one that bad things happen to, which can lead to isolation. Resilient people also focus on what they can change, and they accept what they cannot change, turning their attention to the future and the positives, instead of the past and the negatives.

Other aspects of resiliency include:

  • Cognitive flexibility: To be resilient means that you’re able to adjust your thinking in light of new information. Resilient people remain open to the idea that there is more than one way forward and that they can change how they approach a situation.
  • Optimism: If you’re only focusing on what has gone wrong, it can be difficult to find motivation to move forward. Resilient people look for the positives and remain hopeful about the future.
  • Active coping skills: Avoiding the problem can seem like the easiest solution, but resilient people engage in problem-solving to tackle a challenge directly.
  • Emotional self-regulation: Just like you can’t avoid the problem, you can’t avoid negative emotions in response to the problem. Resilient people feel their feelings and healthily process them.

Additionally, resilient people have a strong support network, and this is where you, as your student’s loved one, come in. It’s important to talk to your students about how they’re feeling. After a setback, students may feel disappointed, frustrated, discouraged, ashamed, anxious or overwhelmed. These feelings can be very isolating, and students may feel like they’re the only ones struggling. Talking helps to process these emotions and takes away some of their power. If your student is only focusing on the negatives, remind them of their strengths: the core parts of themselves that remain unchanged by this challenge and that they can draw on in the future. These conversations help students feel seen and supported in a way that will enable them to begin moving forward.

When students feel discouraged, emphasize that this one challenge does not define them or their future. While they may only be able to think of the situation as a failure, moments like these can be framed as opportunities. There may be upcoming assignments or tests that will help offset the points lost in this instance, and they may end the semester in a stronger place than expected. Sometimes, though, their grade isn’t salvageable, but this does not mean the situation is hopeless. There are many opportunities to move forward, such as withdrawing from the class or retaking it in a future semester. If your student feels like they are struggling in a class or several classes, it can be a good time to explore if they’re in the right major or if another major might better suit their strengths and interests. Once students overcome initial disappointment, most academic challenges can be a chance to learn and adapt.

To adapt and move forward, it’s important to exercise cognitive flexibility and to remain open to different ways of approaching the situation. We know we can’t do the same thing and expect different results. Here, students need to take an honest look at how they prepared for a test or project and assess what they might do differently next time to improve their results. They might consider seeking the professor’s feedback on their next draft, begin studying earlier or change their studying or testing strategies, or make sure they’re getting enough sleep before the test. Determining a new plan can give students concrete steps to take and help them feel in control of the situation.

Taking steps forward like this can sometimes feel overwhelming, so remind students that they are not alone. Of course, they have you and other loved ones at home, but they also have a wide network of people and offices on campus who are here to help. If your student struggles in a class, encourage them to talk to their professor. This can be intimidating for many students, but professors are great resources for both the course content and tips on how to succeed in their classes. Beyond professors, students can also talk to their academic advisors and their RAs, and access the resources in Academic Support and the University Counseling Center, among many other options on campus. We’re all here to support students as they navigate the ups and downs of college.

Lastly, it is difficult to effectively face a challenge when feeling exhausted and rundown. For this reason, check in with your student about how they care for their physical and mental health. Remind them of the importance of eating healthy meals, staying hydrated, moving their bodies, and getting enough sleep — but also about the need to regularly engage in self-care activities that help them to destress and recharge. By taking care of themselves, students are better positioned physically and mentally to handle challenges when they occur.

While setbacks are inevitable, these moments do not have to derail a student’s progress toward their goals. By helping your students build resiliency, they will be better positioned to handle future challenges. As we move toward finals, remind your students of the steps they can take and the resources on campus that are here to help.

The Last Day to Withdraw from a Class is November 5

How Does My Student Make a Decision?

Written by Peggy Dotson, Assistant Provost for Academic Advising

Midterm grades for undergraduate classes should be posted in Banner Self-Service by Wednesday, October 25. While some instructors post midterm grades in Canvas, Banner is the official platform for all grades. All students are encouraged to check their midterm grades.
Fall Hammock
Similar to progress grades in high school, midterm grades are not part of a student’s formal record but provide insight into how students are currently doing in their classes. Students struggling in a particular class would benefit from the many available resources SLU makes available.  
Depending on their situation, withdrawing from a class may be an option. The deadline to withdraw from a class in the Fall 2023 semester is Sunday, November 5. If a student withdraws from a class at this point in the semester, they will have a “W” on their transcript for that class. A W merely indicates that the student withdrew from the class and has no impact on their GPA. One or two Ws on a transcript is typically not a problem for most students, but a pattern of withdrawing from a class every semester is something students should avoid. Having numerous Ws can also affect financial aid.  
Withdrawing from a course can be the right decision, especially if the student is likely to fail the class. Withdrawing from one course can also be helpful by freeing up time for the student to focus on remaining courses or simply helping them achieve a healthier balance.  
Before deciding to withdraw from a class, students should:

  • Discuss their grade with their instructor. How many points are left in the semester? Can they raise their grade to where it needs to be?
  • Discuss the impact of withdrawing with their primary academic advisor.
    • What are the implications of withdrawing?
    • Will it delay the time to graduation or the courses they can take next semester?
    • What are the implications of staying in the class and earning a low grade?
    • How does grade replacement work?
  • If they intend to apply to medical, law, professional or graduate school, students should check with the appropriate advisor or mentor to determine what impact a W may have on that application. Their academic advisor can direct them to the appropriate person for this conversation.
  • If they receive scholarships or financial aid, consult Student Financial Services.
  • International students should consult the Office of International Services

Keep in mind that November 5 is a Sunday, and most faculty/staff are not available on the weekends. We recommend that students have the above discussions by Friday, November 3

How to Withdraw

Health Promotion and Education, Campus Recreation and Wellness

Written by Jesús Quiñones, Assistant Director for Health Promotion and Education

As we move into the last few weeks of the fall term, and as the leaves change and the weather turns colder, the Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness continues to provide opportunities for students to care for the whole person — mind, body, heart and spirit.
 Students walking through campus in the fall
In October, our peer health educators — the Health Education Action Team, or HEAT — organized several events aimed at helping students prioritize activities that promote well-being and reduce overall stress levels. On October 10, our peer educators hosted a fall-themed pottery painting event where over 65 students gathered and expressed themselves creatively. Our peer educators also organized an alcohol education and prevention event, Putt-Putt & Pints, on October 23. The programming included playing on an LED-backlight mini golf course, mocktails, sandwiches, Halloween candy, and some alcohol educational content directly shared by the HEAT.
With midterms already past us and finals just around the corner, our Health Promotion and Education team has several events planned to help our students end their fall semester successfully, including:

Learn more about what the Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness offers to students by visiting our website.

Updates on JED Working Groups and Strategic Plan

Written by Knieba Jones-Johnson, LMFT, University Counseling Center

Greetings, Billiken Families! While approaching this upcoming holiday season, you all need to know how much we appreciate your support in continuing to build a sustainable environment where the health and well-being needs of our campus community are prioritized. Please know that your voice and input are both welcomed and valued. Zumba class on the quad

As we continue our journey to creating a culture of well-being on campus, I wanted to update you regarding our JED Campus partnership, as year two of this effort is well underway. Earlier this semester, our interdisciplinary team of task force members met with their respective working groups to begin implementing our strategic plan. Each working group is organized around seven domain areas ranging from life skill development to improving help-seeking behaviors amongst our student population. Progress made within each objective of the plan will be reflected on our strategic priorities webpage.

For those families who are interested in learning ways to best support the needs of their student(s) as it relates to wellbeing, the JED Foundation offers several articles and resources here.

Billiken Families, Did You Attend Fall Welcome 2023?

We Want To Hear Your Feedback!

Billiken families with an incoming freshman or sophomore student at SLU...We want to hear from you! If you attended Fall Welcome this August, let us know what you enjoyed or provide any feedback on how we can improve.

Please Fill Out This Quick Survey. It Only Takes Five Minutes

Did you know SLU Students love to give back? With over 500 local partnering organizations and more service-focused organizations, the SLU community completes an average of 1.6 million community service hours.

Important Calendar Dates 

*Note that the new FAFSA form will be available in December 2023, not October 1

November 5: Last day to withdraw from a class
November 6: Social Justice and Advocacy Training applications due
November 8: National First-Generation Day
November 11-13: Campus Ministry Connections Retreat
November 13-17: International Education Week
November 14: Etiquette Dinner, Busch Student Center, Saint Louis Room, 5 p.m.
November 22-24: Thanksgiving Break. Residence Halls close at 8 p.m. for Thanksgiving Break
November 26: Residence halls open at 10 a.m.

Registration Dates

Registration for spring classes opens on the following dates at 7 a.m. Central Time (CT) unless otherwise noted. All new students are required to meet with their academic advisor before registering.

November 2: SOAR Spring 2024 Registration Event, Cook Hall, Room 234, 5:30 p.m
November 6: Graduate students 
November 6: Seniors with Priority Registration
November 7: Seniors 
November 13: Juniors with Priority Registration
November 14: Juniors
November 14: Madrid Campus: Priority (Juniors, Seniors, Honors and Veterans (9 a.m. CT, 4 p.m. Madrid)
November 15: Madrid: Open Registration (9 a.m. CT, 4 p.m. Madrid)
November 20: Sophomores with Priority Registration
November 21: Sophomores 
November 30: Freshmen with Priority Registration
December 1: Freshmen 

Registration classifications are based on the following earned (completed) credit hours:

  • Seniors: 90 or more earned hours
  • Juniors: 60 or more earned hours
  • Sophomores: 30 or more earned hours
  • Freshmen: 29 or fewer earned hours

Additional University Resources

University Newslink

University Academic Calendar