No matter how many “How to Survive College” forums you read online in preparation for the big leap into higher education, I feel like you never quite know how to navigate college life until you’re in the thick of it yourself. Trying to make new friends, figuring out career goals, and picking classes are all stressful elements that never seem to settle down towards the beginning of your college career. Although everybody adjusts to college life in a different way, here are a few tips from lil ol’ me that will hopefully make your transformation into a stellar first year student a smooth one.
As a DePaul freshman I wish I fully wrapped my head around how expensive Chicago really is. I never regret moving here, but entirely understanding that the cost of living AND the tax is way higher here would have made me save a little bit more in high school instead of spending weird amounts of money on Starbursts. It really hit me that I’m going to need to pinch pennies where I can and spend time searching for free events around the city.
Speaking of free events, that’s the second thing I wish I knew more about as a DePaul freshman. With another year under my belt living in this city, I have been able to scope out some places that are little to no cost. Like the free movies in the park
events that take place in dozens of parks around the city. Although these events only happen towards the beginning and end of the school year, being surrounded by intricate architecture under the pavilion in Millennium Park
to watch Ghostbusters for the 300th time gets me through the school weeks.
As a freshman I also wish I knew how to take advantage of the buses. I feel like in the first year many students rely on the El
and don’t want to get out of their transit comfort zone once they figure out how to navigate just one. Buses are a reliable transit option during the day. And although they aren’t really good to lug big backpacks or grocery bags around, is the EL any better? The bus is also a nice change of pace too because instead of seeing what Chicago has to offer on an elevated train, you’re able to be on street level and potentially discover a shop or café that you never would have seen from a train cart.