Words of advice

Do’s and dont’s during the first year at SPU

Perris Larson, Staff Writer

Illustration by Caitlyn Schnider

Starting college is daunting; figuring out all the hacks of a new school can be even more terrifying. It can be difficult navigating the chaos that is the beginning of freshman year, but hopefully the following list will help bring ease to your anxiety. Here is some advice I wish I had received at the beginning of college:

1. Don’t get the Block 200 meal plan.
As nice as it sounds to be able to get three meals a day at Gwinn Commons, there are so many other places on campus you can spend your money at. There is Einstein’s Bagels (highly recommend the Turkey Bacon Avocado sandwich), the C-Store, Bertona Street Grill, Academic Perks, Common Grounds and Subway. You can use your dining dollars in all of these places; the less block meals, the more dining dollars you get. Somedays, Gwinn will not have the greatest selection of food, so your best bet for getting a full stomach is spending your dining dollars somewhere else. So the next time you are able to change your meal plan, do either the Block 145 or Block 110.

2. Do not underestimate the rain.
Buy a raincoat! If you are not from the Pacific Northwest, get ready for rain to pour at any moment. It is so unpredictable; it could sprinkle for hours or downpour for five minutes. It might be helpful to pack a lightweight raincoat in a bag incase of an unexpected rain storm. Being from California, I had no clue how necessary it was until I had to trudge back to the dorm soaking wet. Do not wait to be drenched, just get one.

3. Balance your classes out.
Add some variety in your schedule. Avoid taking similar classes relating to your major all at once. For example, if you are taking three classes one quarter, refrain from having them all relate to your major. Take one for your general education, your minor and major. That way, it will not be too overwhelming, and you will be able to breathe. There are also plenty of classes that may not relate to any of the categories mentioned above, but can add to your experience at SPU. Sailing classes, backpacking, outdoor survival and studying abroad are all classes and programs that are offered here. Take advantage of all that SPU has to offer academically, even if it does not necessarily seem to be academic.

4. Explore!
No need to stay on campus all day everyday. Seattle has more to offer than you would think. The city has something for everyone. Go play beach volleyball at Golden Gardens, watch the sunset at Gas Works Park, support local businesses at the Fremont Sunday Market and check out the Disney exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture (MOPOP). There will be days where you just have to get out off campus for a bit; luckily Queen Anne and Fremont are not that far of a walk. If shopping at local businesses sounds appealing, the Fremont Vintage Mall is a must for anyone to check out.

5. Take advantage of campus resources.
People on campus are here to help. The SPU library has multiple resources for sources on class papers and finals. There is counseling available when you just need to talk to someone. If you want to check out the city, there are free bus passes in the Student Union Building. Wanting to get more involved on campus? Joining clubs is easy if you check out SPU’s Engage page.

6. Don’t be afraid to branch out.
It is your first year in college, everyone is in the same boat as you. Everyone wants to make friends, so be brave and talk to people. It might take awhile to find your group, but if you start making conversation with people you meet, there will not be a problem. Make small talk with the people in your classes, go to floor events and get to know people on your floor. If you see someone sitting alone in the cafeteria, invite them over! Living in a pandemic for the past year and a half, where it was advised not to come into close contact with people, made it hard for some to initiate conversation with strangers. But those strangers might turn out to be your closest friends.

7. Appreciate STUB.
The Student Union Board (STUB) works really hard every year to make life on campus fun. STUB plans events like petting zoos, mini golf, doughnuts and boba trucks on campus to give students an opportunity to enjoy something with their school community. Grab some friends and go to the events. Even during COVID, this club worked hard to still make campus life enjoyable. From drive-in movies to a selfie museum, there was not a lack of things to do despite the constricting circumstances.

8. Reach out to your professors.
Professors want to talk to you. If you have questions about anything, do not hesitate to send an email. If you have concerns about a project, or an internship for your major, professors are more than happy to give you advice. Professors also have resources and connections that can help direct you toward internships if you decide to get a head start on your future.

9. Take advantage of Orientation week.
Do not stay in your dorm. Orientation week is packed with events everyday where you have the opportunity to get the feel for the school and get to know more people in your class. It is the time to have fun, get to know your roommate and floor mates, even your Resident Advisor. The more events you go to, the more people you will meet. Plus, it will give you a chance to get a feel for the campus that will soon become your second home.

10. Stock up your fridge & bring a fan.
If you think the only times you are going to eat are in the campus dining areas, you are most likely wrong. Snacking in the dorm is part of college; use the fridge, stock up as much as you want. The worst feeling is when you are doing homework at night, bored, and without any snacks at your disposal. So go to the C-Store; get ice cream, get fruit, get popcorn, get anything you want. You might not think you will need it, but stress eating during finals week is inevitable. A fan is also essential; the dorms do not have AC. To prevent burning up when trying to sleep, the fan will become your best friend while living in the dorms.