As the school year came to an end last month, I heard a lot of fellow freshmen saying things like, “I can’t believe how fast this year went!” Or, “I wish I could do (fill in the blank!) all over again.” A few of those freshmen were also talking about things they wish had known before they came to DePaul. So I gathered a group of these experts to offer their five top pieces of advice for DePaul’s incoming class. Here we go:
DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU SEE ON TV!
You’re probably not going to be partying all the time. In fact, if you try this, you’re likely going to watch your grades plummet. You’ll be out of here faster than you can say “This party rocks”. On the other hand, most college experiences aren’t spent under a tower of books either. Most students are able to balance their academics with their social life. But make some good choices because your first few quarter grades will really shape your overall GPA down the road.
MAKING FRIENDS IS TIME CONSUMING AND CAN BE DIFFICULT
The first week, particularly if you’re part of the Discover program, your whole floor tries to be best friends. This likely won’t last. Depending on your res hall, you will stay social, but most of your friends will come from elsewhere. Classes are small, which is great for individualized attention from teachers, but this does not actually help that much in making friends. Aside from group projects, you most likely won’t talk to your classmates much. Your friends will come from the communities you get involved in. There are tons of different clubs, sororities, fraternities, faith-based groups, and service groups. The more you get involved, the more people you meet and the less lonely the campus feels. And sometimes joining a group that just sounds interesting cannot only turn out to bring you great friends, but you might discover some new interest or passion.
YOU HAVE A LOT OF TIME – YET NONE AT ALL
Coming from high school means that most of you probably were really busy with classwork, extra-curricular things and trying to hang out with your friends before you all went your separate ways. That final year in high school is really busy with fourteen hour days being packed full. When you get to DePaul you will find that your time is really open. You’ll be wondering how to fill the hours and you might even miss the structure and business of high school. But don’t panic. Your schedule will get packed. You’ll need to make time for classes, studying, working, social life and the groups you join. Don’t forget to add in time to go out of your building for meals and try to work in some recreation. You’ll need time to work out the stress and tension. And then, before you know it, your calendar is packed and you’re back to fourteen hour days. So be particular about what you fill your hours with. Join clubs, go out, leave time to study, and maybe, just maybe, try to squeeze in some time for sleep…and set and stick to priorities.
BEING A COMMUTER CAN BE BRUTAL
While you may not have to deal with annoying roommates and awful meal plans, being a commuter is tough. It’s harder to meet people when you’re not on campus as often. While no one really likes traffic or trains, commuters inevitably come to loathe these things, though they are experts on navigating them. The truth is, though, everyone at DePaul becomes a commuter eventually because few people live on or even near campus after freshman year. Find friends to live with off campus, find friends who commute like you, find friends who can share the grind of commuting and enjoy your time at DePaul whether in the res halls or not!
THIS IS CHIBERIA
This past winter was particularly cold, but those from warmer states or maybe even those just not used to feeling lake-effect winds may not be prepared for winters in Chicago. Get yourself some waterproof boots, a real winter coat, a thick scarf, thicker gloves, a fuzzy hat (no matter how goofy you look!), grow some of that tough Chicago skin, and start praying for spring. The quarter system lets us skip the December snow, but as you’re waiting at the Fullerton platform the first week of January and shivering, you’ll realize that we got back just in time for two or three months of ice. Someone waiting with a bunch of people on the Fullerton platform said to one shivering group, “You live in Chicago? You’re a warrior. You know that? A WARRIOR!” Yes, yes, we are warriors. And the battle starts winter quarter.
WELCOME TO DEPAUL, freshmen! You are in for a great year…and it will fly by…and then YOU can share your advice with the next new class. Enjoy!
Lindsey Echito is now a sophomore at DePaul who put her advice together with other freshmen thoughts to offer this great advice.
Photo courtesy of DePaul DeBlogs