Returning Toreros Talk USD 101

The Student Life Pavilion (SLP) offers multiple cuisines such as Mediterranean, American, Mexican, and Chinese. (Walker Chuppe/ The USD Vista)


As the semester begins, USD welcomes an incoming flood of new students, including both first year and transfer students. Walking onto USD’s campus as a brand new student can be overwhelming at times. 

USD offers many exciting opportunities as students embark on their new journeys. In order to capitalize on everything USD has available, here are a few tips and resources for campus survival  that students should note.

Junior Sofia Sanchez noted that the most important thing to know is how to balance one’s work load. 

“It took me quite a while to figure out that the classes weren’t easy like in high school,” Sanchez said. “The workload for each class is very demanding — you can’t expect to get your homework done in less than an hour.”

This lesson didn’t come easy to Sanchez. After a short trial period, Sanchez became a master of balancing her courseload. 

“I wish I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Sanchez said. “Being at USD takes a lot of dedication and work, but as long as you make the time to get everything you need done, you’ll be able to do everything else you want and won’t feel stressed.”

Sanchez adopted the practice of using a planner in order to stay organized and alleviate stress. 

 “I would strongly advise new students to start using a planner as soon as possible,” Sanchez said. “My planner helps me plan out all my assignments so I know the deadlines of everything.”

Senior Ava O’Brien can provided incoming students with additional wisdom to help ease their transition. 

“Nothing [about navigating the campus] is too confusing at USD,” O’Brien said. “The campus layout is perfect for newcomers and easy to adapt to.” 

Throughout O’Brien’s time at USD she has learned to take advantage of the wide variety of activities available to students. 

“Don’t be intimidated by the resources that USD has to offer,” O’Brien said. “From Financial Aid to professors, everyone is willing to assist you.”

All professors hold office hours outside of class time for students to receive additional help. Oftentimes, office hours will be listed in a professor’s syllabus. Students can ask for clarification on assignments, review previous exams, or discuss class material. 

In addition to office hours, there are various other additional resources that students can seek out for help  on campus. 

“The Information Technology Services [ITS] has been a tremendous help to me,” O’Brien said. “They can answer any and every question you have about any of your technological devices. I wish I knew about them earlier.”

There are a variety of other on-campus, noteworthy departments. The One Stop Student Center, located in the Hahn University Center, is a place for students to ask all questions regarding financial aid, student accounts, and registration. Another helpful tip to know is that each academic department offers tutoring services available for all students. 

For example, the English Department offers services through the Writing Center, located in Founders Hall. The Math Department holds tutoring services in Serra Hall and a list of all provided tutoring services can be found on USD’s website. Some of these services are based on a drop-in basis, while others require a scheduled appointment. 

An additional, vital resource offered by the university is the tram service.

As a new student, senior Madison Samuels was at first  unaware of the efficient tram service that takes students throughout campus. 

“Living on campus, the tram services are crucial unless you want to be doing the long walk to campus every day,” Samuels said. 

Samuels, like many other students, had a difficult time catching the tram as a result of it being jam-packed with people or her timing being off.

“Figuring out the tram schedule was difficult for me, but then I learned about the app that tracks the shuttle and lets you know when it’s going to arrive,” Samuels said. “New students should take the time to download that app [MySDMobile] — it’s a life saver.” 

The first year at a new school is likely to be challenging due to  an unfamiliar environment. However, hopefully this preset knowledge will ease the transition.

Despite the unfamiliarity and worries of a new campus, newcomers should have nothing to stress about. Whether you are coming in as a first-year student or a transfer, there are plenty of resources to help guide you from your  first semester to your last. For some, that may be turning to particular on-campus departments. For others, it may be as simple as asking for help from a returning student. Whatever your preference, remember, USD is always here to help. 

Taryn Beaufort | Opinion Editor | The USD Vista