As with all schools, starting college at the University of Dallas can be both exciting and daunting. Fear not, future Crusaders: your time here should prove wonderful. But as an added comfort, here is what you need to know about your first year at UD.
Some UD students will be well-prepared for the core after a lifetime of classical curriculum. Some of you might have never read a philosophy text in your lives. Don’t feel discouraged if you are completely lost in a class. And don’t feel like you aren’t being challenged if you find yourself discussing a text you already know. There’s always enough material to examine if you feel prepared for a more advanced reading, and plenty of fellow students, professors and guides to help if you’re lucky enough to be encountering the classics for the first time in such a great environment. Regardless of where you are on the familiarity spectrum, the best thing you can do with any free time you have this summer is to cozy up with the Iliad – you almost certainly won’t want to be doing that during orientation. Photo by Anthony Garnier
UD is a small community of people with similar interests, so getting to know each other is rarely an issue. However wonderful your orientation group is, though, it’s worth expanding. Talk to people who make interesting contributions in class, sit with somebody new in the cafeteria and get to know your fellow dorm-dwellers. Be sure to make a wide variety of friends rather than sticking with just one group, and never hesitate to reach out to older students or those outside your dorm and classes. Photo by Anthony Garnier
College is a new start. You’re taking new classes with new people in a new environment, and hopefully you’ll take advantage of the fresh start. If you’ve never been great with time management, keeping up with friends, budgeting or some other life skill, now is the time to develop yourself. It’ll make your time here so much better, and you’ll be glad to have some practice once you’ve graduated. Photo by Paulina Martin
UD is a unique institution, but it’s still a university, and some things are true of every college. You can still find all the things you might appreciate in big schools, even if that does require a little creativity. From parties to student associations, UD will almost always have some near-equivalent to the features you might have appreciated at other schools – and if there are none, gather some like-minded friends and create them. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin
It’s great to soak in the wonders of Western civilization from the comfort of your dorm room desk, but the real challenge is in examining, questioning and building upon that foundation. UD will give you things to think about, but it should never tell you what to think about them. So read your assignments, listen to guest speakers and keep up with campus news, but never leave these resources unexamined. To know what the great thinkers had to say is admirable, but having your own opinions, if they are founded and intelligent, is even more so. Photo by Paulina Martin
Whoever you are now, though you’re probably already wonderful, is bound to change in the next four years. One great thing about the Core is that it gives you time to explore before deciding on a major or career path, whether that be a newly discovered passion for Greek epics or solidifying a preexisting affinity for chemistry. Academics aside, this should apply to all aspects of life; your friends, political and personal beliefs will develop and change, as they should. Be ready for that, and do your best to cultivate it in the direction you need to grow. Photo by Paulina Martin