Just like any other school, Loyola University has a set of tips that make life ten times easier, especially when it comes to adjusting. While some of these tips are told to you outright by administration, many are not. Here are 20 tips and tricks to help you adjust and succeed as Freshmen at Loyola University Maryland!
1. Download Tapingo, it is a life saver on a busy day.
A great deal of the food vendors on campus and even in the surrounding area are connected to an app called Tapingo. This app allows online ordering for either pick up or delivery all around campus. This gets bonus points for introverts since you literally do not have to speak to anyone.
Imagine this: You are running from one class to the next and you are beginning to question if you are going to pass out from exhaustion. Never fear, with just a few taps, you can have a Starbucks beverage in your hand in minutes (without standing in line).
2. Invest in a way to keep track of your swipe and key.
You cannot survive on Loyola’s campus without a student ID. It is your way of getting meals and the way you get into buildings. If you are without an ID, I can guarantee you will be standing outside of your residence hall doing what is comparable to the walk of shame. This is when you wait for someone to enter or exit the building so you can slip through the door, and no matter what, it is always embarrassing. The same goes for your key to your dorm. Nothing is worse than standing outside waiting for your roommate to get back to let you in.
Let’s not forget that these things also cost money. If one key gets lost, you will be the one to pay for the new lock and keys that will be made because of the campus protocol.
The best ways to keep track of your key and swipe are through a lanyard or wallet. The bookstore sells lanyards and card holders at a reasonable price, so it isn’t much trouble to get one. For those who prefer not to use a lanyard, other popular choices include small wristlets and a credit card holder that sticks to the back of your phone.
3. Midnight Breakfast is one of the greatest things to ever happen.
Honestly, who can beat french toast sticks at midnight? Midnight breakfast is run every single week with a different menu, and you will find that you start to revolve your Friday night plans around it.
Not a breakfast person? That is alright, Saturday nights is Midnight Snack, ranging anywhere from a potato bar to pizza bagels. There is nothing too extra when it comes to late night snacking!
4. Download the Outlook and Moodle apps.
Your life will come to revolve around these two sites. There is no way around it. You will be checking your email constantly and you will always be scrolling through your assignments on Moodle, the platform Loyola uses to keep students and professors in contact in regards to assignments and grades.
Professors are constantly sending out reminder emails and important notices, so without keeping a close eye on your email, you are done for. Plus, who doesn’t want to wake up to that lovely push notification that your first class has been canceled rather than showing up to find out nobody is there?
5. The Humanities building is confusing.
The Humanities building is the crown jewel of Loyola’s campus. They post pictures of it all over the place, in fact, it is on the front of student IDs. There is no denying that it is one of the prettiest buildings, but unfortunately it is also one of the most confusing.
This building is easily described as a labyrinth to those who are unfamiliar with it. One wrong turn and you are done for. If you have a class here, especially as a freshman, it is probably best to go find it BEFORE the first day of class. Nobody wants to be wandering around lost their first week of school.
6. Get a Zipcard.
Zipcar allows college students to rent cars for roughly $10 an hour. For $15 you can become a member (granted you pass the background check) and you will receive a card that will act as a key. This can much cheaper than an Uber when it comes to things like going to the grocery store and not to mention, you can blast your own music with your friends.
While this can be financially more beneficial for short trips, it can add up over long periods of time, so I wouldn’t suggest planning a day’s shopping trip with it.
7. Student Spotify is half price.
Spotify is a saving grace in college. Whether it be studying or just walking around campus, it is something that is a staple to many students. Take advantage of the half price student premium option. It is only $5 rather than $10, and it comes with Hulu! You can’t beat that!
8. Take advantage of the late night Insomnia Cookie delivery services.
To those of you who have never had or may not have heard of Insomnia Cookies, you are in for the greatest adventure of baked goods ever. Insomnia will deliver fresh, warm cookies straight to you until 3 am.
There is nothing better than sitting around on a weekend with a box of Insomnia Cookies and some Netflix binging. Plus, if you are willing to share you can make quite a few friends in a snap.
9. Go on all of the Messina trips.
Messina is a program exclusively for first year students. It helps students adapt to their first year of college and you can make some good friends through it. The school works hard to make this program possible, as well as your Evergreens, the upperclassmen who serve as mentors to you.
You will be forced to go on trips with your class, and yes, sometimes they will be nothing but a pain. There are, however, a good number of great ones that let you explore Baltimore at no cost to you. They literally hand you money for food (and you get to keep the change). These trips range from free movies in Belvedere Square to the Baltimore Book Festival in the Inner Harbor.
Even if the trip is not your ideal trip, it is nice to get off of campus once in a while, especially when free food is involved, there is no beating it.
10. Go to the FAC.
The FAC is the fitness and aquatic center on Loyola’s campus. In more simple terms, it is the gym. The FAC is massive. It has an Olympic sized pool, basketball courts, an elevated running track, a room jam packed with machines, and even rock climbing. The best part of all of this, it is absolutely free to students.
They offer a huge array of fitness classes such as spin class and zumba every day of the week. It has something for absolutely everyone. It is a great way not only to stay in shape, but also to get away from your books for an hour or so and de-stress.
TIP: Make sure to sign up for classes early, some classes fill faster than others. Spin class is always full so make sure you register ASAP if you plan on going!
11. Learn how meal points work.
At the beginning of the semester, most people start out with $200 worth of meal points. This is like campus cash that you can use for just about anything, and yes, that includes Starbucks. Learn how these work though and be aware of how you are spending them. Don’t use points on something that a meal swipe can get you if you can avoid it.
There is nothing more miserable than running out of meal points within the first three weeks of the semester, and I wish I could say that it doesn’t happen to people.
12. Hampden is the place to be.
Not too far off campus, within walking distance if you are up for it, is a small area that has some of the coolest shops that you will ever see. If you are a hipster, this will automatically become your favorite spot.
The main strip has tons of antique shops and restaurants, as well as a few oddities such as Baltimore in a Box and Bazaar (the single most odd shop you will ever set foot in). These are the sort of places that give Baltimore such a unique personality.
During Christmas they also have a massive and crazy lights display called, “The Miracle on 34th Street” that is (surprise, surprise!) on 34th street. It is a must-see at one point while you are in Baltimore. There is absolutely nothing else like it.
13. The Women’s Center is fabulous!
This one is specifically meant for all of you girls out there. They offer all sorts of stuff, and best of all, it is free. Some activities require a donation (usually soaps or other hygienic products) but they don’t ask for much.
Activities that they host include tons of DIY beauty products such as sugar scrubs, but they even offer free massages sometimes. It is a great thing to get the squad together to do, especially during a stressful week.
14. The sunset from the roof of the Student Center is to die for.
It is surprising how few people actually know about the roof. If you go to the top floor of the student center, there is a door to the roof where they have some tables and chairs. One of the best places to take that perfect picture for your Snapchat story.
This is also a nice quiet place to go if you want to just hangout and study a bit since it never is really crowded.
15. Go to floor and building programs, there is usually free food.
Your RAs work very hard to put these programs together, and it is always upsetting when nobody comes to them. There are so many benefits to going to these programs though. First off, there is usually free food. The best part is it is not Boulder food. Besides for the free food, it gives you a chance to meet some of the people not only on your floor but also in your building.
But really, go for the food. Loyola loves to bribe students with free food and it always works. Tons of students will come out to just about any event if they are promised Chick-fil-A and Insomnia cookies. It isn’t hard to understand why either.
16. Not everyone parties/drinks, and it is totally ok if you don’t.
Students love to push the party scene to the front lines of social media. This can lead to the false idea that EVERYONE parties in college. That could not be further from the truth. Of course every school has it’s party scene, but a good portion of the student body does not go out every weekend.
If you want to stay in and go to bed early, do it. Don’t let let anyone tell you that you can’t. Some of the best nights are spent with your close friends just watching TV.
If anyone makes you party or drink when you don’t want to, they aren’t good friends, do what you want to do!
17. Uber and Lyft, yet another college kid staple.
Just about everyone has heard of Uber or Lyft. If you haven’t though, it is pretty much a fancy taxi service. You request a ride, someone shows up, and they take you where you want to go.
In Baltimore, everything is fairly accessible by these means. Whether you just want to go to the grocery store or you want to go to the Inner Harbor, you can get there usually for a fair price. Freshmen in particular count on Ubers since they’re not allowed to have cars on campus, so it is best to download both apps ASAP since sometimes one is cheaper than the other.
For those who choose to drink, this is also important. It guarantees that your DD can’t bail. It also saves you a lot of worrying if you have a friend that is not in any shape to be driving also. Nobody wants anything bad to happen to themselves or their friends.
18. Use the Writing Center!
Loyola is fortunate enough to have a writing center where you can take any sort of written assignment to be proof read. They also offer suggestions to improve your paper and an extra set of eyes is always great to have.
If you do take a paper to the Writing Center, they also email your professor to let them know that you were there and got help too, so it shows your professor that you took that extra step to improve your paper before you turned it in. This can go a much longer way than you expect.
19. On the first day of class, make sure to check the inside Loyola webpage for buildings and room numbers.
This is a tip that can save you from an immense amount of embarrassment. Loyola loves to change rooms last minute as well as buildings. Nobody will ever understand why. You can be pretty sure after the first day that it won’t change, but honestly, you need to keep a close eye on it. There are always a handful of kids that get up mid class the first day and leave because they are in the wrong room. You do not want to be that kid if you can help it.
20. Invest in a really good pair of noise cancelling headphones.
This is probably the most important tip. Loyola is very much a work hard, play hard sort of place. Because of this, many students partake in a “college weekend” which starts on Thursday. Some students start their party week even earlier though. Sundays through Tuesdays are relatively quiet days. Wednesday is when it all begins though. Wednesday is “Wine Wednesday”, Thursday is “Thirsty Thursday”, then of course the expected Friday and Saturday nights.
This can be rather aggravating when you are just trying to get a good night’s rest the day before a big exam. It is best to just invest in headphones to play some nice relaxing music to avoid being kept up until some ungodly hour.
Got any more tips for freshmen at Loyola University Maryland? Let us know down below!
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Hi! I'm Mariah! I am a biochem major at Loyola University Maryland and I love just about anything to do with art or music. I have been writing as long as I can remember and I am super excited to write for all of you!