Tips from the Top: Seniors Share Advice

Whether starting out as a freshman or transferring in, there is definitely a transition period before the University of San Diego will start to feel like home. It can be difficult to adjust to living by yourself, tackling a heavy course load, and finding your place on campus.

While seniors may seem all-knowing now, at one point they were new students too and in the same boat of trying to acclimate to life at USD. Now that seniors have made it to their final year here at USD, they are ready to spill some of their best insider tips and share what they wish they had known as new students.

Senior Therese Fazio emphasized the importance of jumping right into activities on campus.

“Try to go to as  many events as possible the first semester to meet people,” Fazio said.

Fazio also noted that these events come with other perks, namely the edible kind.

“Eat free food because there is always free food,” Fazio said.

In addition to getting involved on campus, it is also important to focus on setting yourself up for academic success while here at USD.

Senior Blair Butler explained that planning ahead can be a stress saver later on.

“I would recommend thoroughly looking over the requirements for both core curriculum and your major,” Butler said. “Just having an idea of what you need helps you to plan out your semesters, so you don’t have any last minute surprises.”

She also endorsed making the most of intersession and summer breaks.

“It’s also a good idea to consider taking classes over breaks or taking CLEP exams,” Butler said. “It helps to get pesky cores out of the way so as an upperclassman you can take advantage of the unique classes USD offers.”

Despite it being important to focus on academics and plan ahead, it’s best to come in with an open mind. College is a time to discover new things, and part of learning and growing is changing your mind.

Senior Gio Alvarado expressed that even the most solid plans sometimes change.

“It’s never too late to alter your direction; it’s okay to change what you think you want [to do] after college,” Alvarado said. “If you come in wanting to be a doctor, don’t worry if plans change.”

One of the ways students may discover something new that interests them is by taking advantage of all the guest speakers, screenings, and lectures USD regularly hosts.

Attending these unique events is one thing senior Kathryn Kelly wishes she had done more of during the past few years.

“Take advantage of the smaller events that happen on campus,” Kelly said. “As a senior, I regret not going to the documentary showings, speakers, etc., that are happening all the time. [These events are] a great way to learn about things you don’t always get to learn about in your classes.”

While taking advantage of all USD has to offer often is a top priority for all new students, it is important to keep in mind that everyone transitions at a different pace. New students should focus on what works best for them as individuals.  For some people this might mean hopping straight into new activities, but for others the best path might be to focus on adjusting and not have too much on one’s plate.

Senior Grace Avery suggested that new students should maintain whatever works for them personally to feel comfortable.

“Try to make friends with people in your hall; it’ll create an environment that feels a bit like home, and some of those friends will stick with you through the rest of college,” Avery said.

Avery suggested students put themselves out there but to keep in mind the importance of balance.

“Try new things and step out of your comfort zone, but don’t overextend yourself trying to do too much,” Avery said. “Make your well-being a priority. You’ll eventually find people in your niche and will have tons of fun when you do.”

By focusing on your own transition and taking everything one step at a time, USD will start to feel like home in no time. In the meantime, seniors are a wealth of knowledge and happy to guide new students in the right direction, just don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Written by Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor