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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

How to Make Loyola’s Campus Your Home: Advice to First Year Students From the Class of 2024

Loyola seniors share their best advice for the members of the Class of 2027 as they begin their college journey.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Student Engagement.

The back-to-school season is daunting for any student, but specifically for first-year college students. Many of you just left your family, began sharing a room for the first time, and fully escaped the comfort of your hometown. It’s a scary adjustment, but I trust that you will find your place on campus. I promise you, no one is expected to arrive on campus and immediately feel completely at home, but some do experience a “honeymoon phase”. This is when college seems to be an easier transition for some than others. Maddie Schultz ‘24 discusses how to approach this.

“It is easy to compare your journey to your home friends’ or your peers’,” Schultz said. “Everyone grows and adjusts at their own pace, and it’s your journey for a reason.”

Now that you’ve made it through Fall Welcome Weekend and the first week of classes, it is time for you to settle into a routine. The newness of college is slowly coming to an end and many other first-years are most likely asking, “Now what?”. To answer this question, I spoke with seniors on Loyola’s campus and asked them, with their three years of experience, what advice they had for you to succeed.

When asked about how she found her place on campus, Sarah Vavricka ‘24 shared her biggest piece of advice.

“Honestly, the best thing you can do is get involved,” Vavricka said. “I know it sounds cliche, but it truly makes a huge difference in your experience.”

Vavricka is a member of Loyola’s Cheer team and has found her place amongst her teammates. The same goes for Richard Clow ‘24, a member of Loyola’s Club Rugby team. He expanded upon Vavricka’s comment. 

“This is a hard one to actually do, but don’t be afraid to approach people in Boulder to introduce yourself. It is a nice feeling having familiar faces around campus,” said Clow. 

Joining clubs and organizations also helps you gain those familiar faces, and those are the faces that make Loyola feel more like home. Being a member of campus groups allows for routine and keeps one busy, which is one way to avoid homesickness. According to a study from UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, more than 70% of the first-year students will experience homesickness. With numbers that high, many of you are bound to experience that feeling during your time at Loyola. It is important to remember that that feeling is completely valid and many of your peers are feeling the same way—not only at Loyola, but at colleges across the country. 

Julia Hiebler ‘24 agrees with Clow on the importance of being friendly and engaging, and focuses her advice on how to maintain those new connections.

“Making an effort to meet people and spend time with people is so important,” Hiebler said. “Friendships are a two-way street and you have to make the effort just as much as the other person would.”

It is key to keep in contact with those new friendships, especially when you are feeling homesick and potentially unmotivated. These new connections are going to, hopefully, be people you can lean on in the future and your effort will show them that they can lean on you too. Keep in mind that these new friendships are exactly that—new. It is important to communicate with them to build meaningful connections and let them know how you are feeling. Hiebler elaborated on this topic.

“People aren’t mind readers,” she said. “If you have something on your mind that is bothering you that someone else is doing, you have to tell them about it because they may have no idea that you are feeling that way.”

For the days when socializing seems overwhelming, Chloe Griffin ‘24 discusses how to take time for yourself and prioritize your own mental health.

“Don’t be afraid to eat a meal by yourself, study by yourself, go to the FAC (Fitness and Aquatic Center) by yourself,” Griffin said. “It’s necessary to have alone time to recharge.”

College can and will be overwhelming at times. It is important to get over the fear of being alone, whilst also developing new relationships. These people and this campus are going to become your family and your home away from home. You will experience every emotion during your time here, but Loyola has resources for every one of them. Reach out to your Evergreen(s) and Messina staff, go to the Counseling Center, and visit Student Health services when you are sick. Take a trip to The Study, The Writing Center, or your professor’s office hours for some extra academic support. Loyola’s community is here to support you. If you are a Loyola student in search of on-campus resources, check out the resources tab on Loyola’s website for more information.

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    LauraSep 13, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Great article!