The Santa Clara
September 20, 2018
Welcome Santa Clara Class of 2022! Congratulations! High school and the SAT/ACT are over and you finally made it to college. Starting college can be a very hard and daunting process. Whether you are a commuter, from out-of-state or an international student, listed below are some academic and social tips that can help you navigate your first year on campus and beyond.
1. Go to Regular Office Hours and Use Your Academic Advisors. Don’t just go to professors before a big test or after a bad grade on a paper; go in after a lecture that confused you or a reading that you want to flesh out. That way when you do go in before the big test, they are more willing and able to help.
Your academic advisor, as well as the Drahmann Advising Center are available to help you choose classes and give advice on all aspects of your academic career. Plus, if you ever need help in a class you can meet with a student tutor for free through the Drahmann Center.
2. Sit Next to Someone in Class and Get Their Number. Quarter system classes move quickly and falling behind can happen in the blink of an eye. So, strike up a convo and try to make a new friend, or at least someone you can text in case you miss a class or are confused about an assignment.
3. Ask Questions. Don’t be intimidated to stop and ask the professor a question because chances are, if you are confused, someone else in the class is too. Santa Clara class sizes are pretty small and professors always build in time for questions, so don’t view it as an interruption to the class. Instead, think of it as an opportunity for you and the class to grasp the material better.
4. Get a Planner and Write Things Down. Given that classes do not meet every day like in high school, due dates can be confusing. For example, some professors want assignments turned in at 11:59 p.m. before the next day’s class. Others prefer homework be handed in by the start of class. Avoid small markdowns and late assignments simply by writing things down. If you don’t have a planner yet, you can purchase a planner at the campus bookstore.
5. All Nighters Aren’t Just Bad For Your Health, They Are Bad For Your Grades Too. In college there are lots of midterms and big papers due throughout the entire quarter, unlike high school, where there was only a finals week. Break your high school habits now before you find yourself up all night three times a week.
The Learning Commons only stays open until 2 a.m. on weeknights, so plan on being done with your work by then so you don’t wake up your roommate upon return.
6. Overload Yourself. Join clubs and sign up for intramurals. Make yourself busy by meeting new people and getting involved. You can always drop later on if you find out they are not for you or if you feel overwhelmed. Into The Wild is a great club if you are looking to fill up your weekends, as they typically lead one overnight camping trip and one hiking or surfing day trip every weekend. You can look at the Santa Clara University website for a list of student organizations and campus events.
7. Assume Your Roommate and People On Your Hall are Automatically Your Friends. Don’t take time wondering if you’ll click. Just be friendly with everyone and put yourself out there.
Ask people if they want to get dinner or see if they want to walk to class with you. Swig and Dunne Residence Halls are known for being social places to live, largely because students tend to abide by the “opendoor” policy. So if you live in a different place, try opening your door and talking to people as they pass by and hopefully your neighbors will do the same.
8. Keep Saying Hi to Anyone You Even Slightly Know. By being friendly and saying hi, those people will feel remembered. One day they may gradually build into small conversations and then maybe even a real friendship.
With only one dining hall on campus, there are lots of opportunities to run into people you know, so make it a point to smile and greet as many people as you recognize.
9. Consider Sharing Your Location With Friends and/or Roommates. College is a new place and it takes some time to learn the way around campus and the surrounding neighborhood. Knowing that a friend can help you out if you are lost is really comforting for everyone involved.
Even though the campus is on the smaller side and most off-campus housing is close to campus, it is nice to be able to check that your friends made it back to their residence halls safe at night.
10. Create New Family Events at College. Convince your friends to have family-style Sunday night dinners together every week in Benson, or take advantage of the residence hall’s weekly hospitality hours. These moments will make you feel like you have a family here at college too.
Contact Sahale Greenwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.