Story by Liz Ptasynski, Saint Reporter
Break out those notebooks and sharpen your pencils, because class is in session. Like many of us, who have been there and done that, my initial reaction was a couple groans and more than a few cries of despair (look, I’m just not ready to fight with Microsoft Word at 2 A.M. for a paper that is due in six hours), but I have come to the conclusion that with each new semester comes new opportunities; new ways to improve myself from last semester. And though it is stressful at times, I can recognize that my education is a gift, especially here at Aquinas. As a junior I feel I have picked up some tricks of the trade to help survive throughout my stay here, and I feel it is my duty to disclose a couple of these hacks for anyone who is new in town. For those of you who are here for the first time, let me start out by saying welcome, and to not be nervous. We have all been in your shoes, and though maybe uncomfortable at first, it doesn’t take long for you to break them in. So here are just a couple things to make the journey a bit smoother for you.
AQLifeHack #1: The only way I can explain our campus is like this: Aquinas is like the small town set of any TV series you have ever seen. Like Stars Hollow, everyone knows everyone. So, when you’re walking down the sidewalk to the Academic Building (nicknamed AB) or Wege Center, and someone is walking opposite of you and they smile and wave, don’t be weirded out. That’s how we are here. It’s such a small campus that it doesn’t take long to get to know everyone, and happiness is contagious here (I think it’s something in the coffee–which brings me to your second hack.)
AQLifeHack #2: Get to know your barista. The first thing you will grow to love is the Moose Cafe. The Moose Cafe is not your typical campus hideaway. Sure, you can go in and study for awhile; you can pick up a quick coffee and muffin on your way to class; you can even challenge your fellow classmates to Pac-Man upstairs. It’s more than that. It’s a community. It’s a place where you can go and unwind with people that know exactly what you’re going through. With a dab of peanut butter and a dash of vanilla, you can get a cup of coffee that is out of this world. Once they get to know you, the baristas will help you customize a drink that is personal to you–one that will get you through that last minute deadline or make you move that much quicker on your way to class.
AQLifeHack #3: Throughout your stay at Aquinas, you will notice that you can’t shake the feeling of being followed. Though it may seem eerie, it is anything but. Here we are joined by the friendliest (and often chunkiest) species of squirrels. I encourage you to pick one out, name it and be prepared to have it by your side throughout the next four years you are here. It’s like Hogwarts, but instead of an owl or a rat, everyone just gets a pet squirrel.
AQLifeHack#4: Unlike high school, all your classes won’t all be in the same building here at Aquinasl. Perhaps the greatest hack I can offer you is to take a picture of your class schedule and set it as your lock screen. This is an easy and effortless way for you to be able to glance at your schedule while you’re wandering the campus trying to figure out where you’re going next.
AQLifeHack #5: Your major is not carved on stone tablets in your academic advisor’s office. There is nothing more complicated than trying to decide what major you want to pursue. If you are like me and can barely decide what you want to have for breakfast, your best friends will be the head of departments or the course catalog. It’s hard deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life, so don’t stress, because it’s normal to be confused. Keep in mind that it’s normal for you to switch your major two or even three times before deciding what you want. So be patient with yourself and it will all be okay. Your professor’s main concern will be your education.
AQLifeHack #6: Attend any and all campus events: they are an excellent source of free food and supplies. Like most college kids, I am broker than broke. Seriously. After paying for books, I usually have a total of $3 to my name. So I have learned to attend campus events. Not only will you learn a lot from attending, but the events are often packed with freebies too.
AQLifeHack #7: Though Wege has food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s a fact that dinner is the most popular. If you want to beat the big rush, I would suggest going around 6:20 P.M. The food will still be fresh and plentiful and you won’t have to battle through long lines. And in case you’re wondering, the long ice cream line is worth it. Wege has the greatest and creamiest Hudsonville ice cream flavors.
Starting college can be one of the scariest and most exciting things you can do. But in the end, it’s so worth it. It is here where you are going to make memories with people you love and care about. You will start a journey that is both unique and fun to you. It’s okay to be nervous. We all were. But know that here at Aquinas you aren’t alone. We’ve got you covered!