Seven things I wish I knew Freshman Year

By Siena Pugnale


I am a senior this year at USD. So, I think that gives me somewhat of an authority to look back on my time here and realize that there are things I probably should have done differently. For those of you who have just begun your time at USD, you may find my tips helpful. And, for those of you who have done similar things or wished you had, well, you will just find this entertaining. Either way, these are the seven things I wish I had known upon entering USD my freshman year.

First: Find your place to study. When I first got to USD, I felt really lost when it came to studying. I know the typical college student decides that the library is the best place to study: it’s quiet, full of resources and seemingly very conducive to studying. For me though, I found the library to be dull and uninteresting and I felt trapped sitting in the pew-like seats. I also felt that I couldn’t concentrate if I studied in my dorm, since my roommate and I were such close friends. So, I was left with no other option but to find a new place to study on campus. I often mix it up and spend a couple hours in La Paloma then head over to Aromas if I get distracted. If I am really feeling motivated, I head down to Mission Beach to study at Better Buzz. There, I am focused and can really get a lot of work done. By switching the environment I study in and finding places where I feel best studying, I have been able to perform better on homework, reading, tests and assignments.

Second: I’d like to point out how fantastic college food is. No, it may not be your mom’s cooking or your grandma’s famous cake. But, it isn’t half bad for the time being. In fact, according to Campus Prowler, USD received an “A” ranking for on-campus dining. So what is there to complain about? Even though the SLP can get crowded at times and the food tends to repeat itself, there are other options on campus that are as good as going anywhere off campus: like La Paloma! So before you go spending a ton of money off campus, try exploring all the options offered right at USD!

Third: Don’t walk with your head down — you will run into someone else or some kind of building or pole. Since we were ranked as the most socially awkward school, there is no doubt that everyone who walks around on their phones is actually just doing it to avoid social interaction with people they walk by. As tempting as it may be to put on your sunglasses and play a game of Candy Crush on your phone to avoid saying hi to people, you will probably end up walking into a person, a tree or a building and that will create an even more awkward interaction!

Fourth: There is actually somewhere to eat behind Mother Rosalie — it is called Bert’s and it took me a year to even realize it existed. This also ties back to my point that college food can be really good. Bert’s now even has a sushi bar and everything else tastes like an off-campus restaurant. If you sit outside, you get a great view of the bay and it makes a beautiful environment for both socializing and studying.

Fifth: Parking is absolutely horrific and there is no way to fight it. As much as anyone complains or drives around, parking will always be terrible. I have often wondered why we don’t just build another parking structure closer to classes, but that’s another discussion entirely. So, in my time at USD I have learned that if you want front row parking, you need to take VERY early classes — like those dreaded 7:45am classes that everyone tries to avoid. If you aren’t a morning person though, another option is to just resort to parking in the west lot. At least you’ll know ahead of time to go there instead of wasting time driving around in search of a spot on campus.

Sixth: Career services is actually very helpful and will assist you with anything and everything. It is not just for seniors looking for jobs or internships after graduating. You can go to Career services as a freshman for advice on how to pursue your career as a college student. They are very available, helpful and friendly and are hoping to be given the chance to support you in any way they can. So don’t stress over internships or jobs. Career services may be a good solution for you try first.

Seventh: You will have the best four years of your life here. So, go out when you think you should stay in. Dance when no one else is. Do your homework three days in advance so you can go out with your friends the next day. Sign up for every club in campus so you can be as involved as possible. And have the best time of your life because these are the last 4 years you will have to be as goofy, crazy and irresponsible as possible!