The undying curiosity building up to the first year of a student’s college career is immediately plagued by a surplus of daunting questions. What is your major? Are you going to be involved on campus? Will your random roommates transform into your new best friends?
A college freshman’s preconceived ideas of campus living – undoubtedly influenced by movies such as “American Pie” and “Old School” – are almost instantly swapped out for reality. While freshman year is certainly a year dedicated to discoveries and adjustments, the advancement into upperclassmen education and a new social life provides further insight into the old question: What would I have done differently as a freshman?
No fear, DePaul freshmen, for I have compiled a few helpful tips on what to avoid and what to further explore. It only makes sense to first harp upon the importance of education. After all, you are attending a university that is providing you with an education and a quite expensive one at that.
However, that does not automatically mean it is good to throw yourself solely into your studies. The trick is to stay on schedule and put forth the effort to never fall behind. Being bogged down by late papers, make up tests and absences are only going to create stress. Attend class, pay attention and complete your assignments. Of course this is easier said than done, but a sure method for success.
There are other practical concerns to look at. For example, even though you have left high school, it is still important to take advantage of scholarship opportunities.
“Avoid unnecessary loans and instead look into scholarships,” said Rebecca Hernandez.
In addition, using Chicago as a career building resource is something that should start as early as freshman year. Whatever it is that you may take an interest in, follow that instinct and see what opportunities await. Networking and gaining exposure is an excellent way to prepare for internships and potential job offers throughout your time at DePaul.
Now to dive into other aspects of beginning college: dorms, meal plans, saving money, roommates and living in the city.
Living on campus is an adjustment that will ultimately be rewarding in more ways than one. Be mindful that you are about to live with a complete stranger; instead of compiling a million reasons of what could go wrong, start brainstorming all the ways it could be amazing.
Discuss what will be needed for the room, what you’re excited about or shared interests. Putting yourself out there is a bit scary, but necessary to truly make dorm living go as smooth as possible.
Let’s talk food. Use your meal plan. The money is there and DePaul Student Centers provide a large array of food options that are sure to satisfy an assortment of taste buds. Treating yourself to an outside meal can be a good idea, as long as it is done in moderation. Instead of splurging on a fancy dinner, get together with a group of friends and pitch in for groceries to prepare your own meal.
However, don’t forget to visit the gym every now and then before all those late night dinner parties catch up with you. These tips are simple, yet they can go a long way during freshman year and even help make your upcoming years more enjoyable and productive.
Perhaps the best advice I can give to students, especially those who are from farther away, is to use the city and DePaul as your playground. Attending college in the city is truly a privilege and provides countless opportunities to explore, learn, socialize and ultimately have fun. Check out the museums on a free admission day, venture out to a new part of the city for a music festival, take advantage of the assortment of restaurants and don’t forget to be spontaneous. It is without a doubt beneficial to tap into the unknown and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
So get out there and enjoy your time spent here as a Blue Demon. Trust me, the time goes by much faster than expected. Take advantage of every opportunity and cherish every second because college is truly a one of kind experience. Ultimately, it is up to you to make the most of it.