Freshman year of college may seem like a daunting time, but there are many ways to make things a lot less stressful. Here are some helpful tips that I hope help you as much as they helped me. Keep reading for 20 things no one tells you about freshman year at Loyola University Chicago!
1. Your classes are going to be hard.
This isn’t high school anymore, so your classes are going to be harder. Your professors are going to be expecting more out of you and will not baby you so be prepared.
2. Your grades may not be as good as they were in high school.
This may come as a shock to some people, but since the classes are harder, your grades may not be as good. However, that does not mean that you are not as smart as you were in high school, it just means that you are being challenged more.
3. The freshman 15 is real.
Even though I wish it wasn’t true, the freshman 15 is definitely real. Gaining weight is just a part of life though. So while you may not get fat your first year of college, you can expect to put on a few pounds. Trust me, this is not something that’s easy to deal with, but it can be managed with eating right and working out regularly in in our very own Halas fitness center.
4. Go and see Tivo as often as possible.
By now, many of you have probably heard of Tivo, Loyola’s very own therapy dog. I highly recommend seeing him as often as possible, whether you are stressed, worried, miss your pets back home, or are just an all-around animal lover like myself. Tivo comes around campus most days for his sessions of “Talk with Tivo” and you can find out his whereabouts by following him on Twitter, Facebook, or on the Wellness Center website.
5. The friends you make freshman year may not be your friends for life.
Though this may sound harsh, it’s true. Some of the people you meet during your freshman year are not meant to remain in your life forever. The good thing, though, is that you have four years ahead of you to make those long-lasting friends.
6. Whenever they are showing free movies in the Damen cinema, go to them.
When else are you going to be able to see recently released movies for free? Probably never, so make sure to check out the movies playing and get a group of friends together to go. Or go by yourself. Either works.
7. Any time an event is held in the Damen multipurpose room, you know there will be free food.
The Damen multipurpose room, also commonly known as the sister jean room, is the hub where a lot of larger groups gather for events. Located on the second floor of the Damen student center, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be lots of free goodies there for you to enjoy.
8. Go to as many sporting events as possible (you will almost always get free stuff).
This is something I definitely regret not doing from the beginning, because once you start going to Gentile Arena you just can’t stop. The atmosphere of the games and seeing sister jean there in her maroon and gold scarf really makes the experience something to remember (plus they often give away free stuff if you go to the games).
9. Get on the L and explore the city.
Whether it be going to nearby downtown Chicago or even Evanston, the city really is your oyster. I strongly urge you to use that Upass that came with your tuition to go and experience new things. Some of the best things I’ve done while living in Rogers Park have been going to explore new places in the city.
10. Go to office hours, even if you don’t have questions.
One of the best things I’ve ever done is go to office hours and really get to know my professors. I, along with many of my classmates, go whether we have questions or not. Because of this, I have formed some really solid relationship with both my professors and TA’s, which will be really useful if you ever need anything in the future.
11. Eat the chicken nuggets in De Nobili.
This is pretty much self-explanatory. Just trust me, those nuggets will change your world.
12. Constantly try new restaurants and coffee shops.
Two of my favorites are Pete’s Pizza and Metropolis, both located near the Granville L stop (my favorite thing from Metropolis is their chocolate chip scone). Another good thing is that a lot of these restaurants take Rambler Bucks (Metropolis doesn’t sadly) and you will most likely not need to really worry about having enough cash.
13. Go on the 360 retreat, whether you are religious or not.
By far one of the best decisions I’ve made at Loyola, going on the 360 retreat gave me the opportunity to meet people I never would have otherwise met and a chance to challenge myself in new ways. Plus, getting to spend the weekend at LUREC on the challenge course was a major plus.
14. Always do your homework in Palm Court.
It is, in my opinion, the best place on campus to study. Located on the fourth floor of Mundelein Center, it is something that I did not know about until about two months into my freshman year, but boy am I glad that I did.
15. Never skip class, even if you really want to.
We all have those days where we’d much rather stay in bed than go to our 8 am class. Try to go to class as often as possible, though, because the class doesn’t stop moving just because you weren’t there and you will quickly begin seeing your grades suffer for every time you don’t attend class.
16. If a teacher gives you the opportunity for extra credit, take it.
As explained earlier, this is not high school anymore. When a teacher tells you about an extra credit opportunity, it may be your only chance to bring your grade up. Unlike in high school, some of your classes may only have three or four grades per semester. So extra credit is especially important.
17. Join a Christian Life Community (CLC).
Also an activity for both the spiritual and non-spiritual, CLC’s are a great way to meet new people who share the same values as you. Even though I am Catholic, I spent a large majority of my summer and beginning of freshman year questioning God. Being in a CLC gave me the opportunity to get my questions and worries answered. Plus, it gave me the chance to meet Oliver Goodrich (the man in charge of CLC) which was definitely a highlight of that.
18. Take advantage of what the Wellness Center has to offer.
Whether it be for your physical or emotional needs, the Wellness Center has much to offer you. This is something that I really wish I would have taken better advantage of. There is always someone there to help you, just make sure you make an appointment first.
19. Make sure you keep food in your dorm if you are an early riser.
Especially if you have 8 am classes or get up early on the weekends, make sure you stock up on food. The dining halls open at 8 am Monday through Friday and open at 11 am on the weekends so I suggest you plan accordingly so you aren’t stuck hungry waiting to be able to eat.
20. Make sure to continuously check your Rambler Bucks balance.
It may be fun getting to use Rambler Bucks pretty much everywhere around campus, but make sure you check your account to make sure you aren’t running low or even out of money. The worst thing that could happen is you go to by your morning caramel macchiato and the cashier says you are out of money.