Passing the Baton: advice for next year’s Romers

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Photo by Marquel Plavan.

Right now, 80 percent of the freshman class is preparing for what upperclassmen and alumni alike often describe as the best experience of their life: the Rome semester.

Four (for Fromers) or nine (for Spromers) months from now, you will fly into the Eternal City and walk onto the Due Santi campus. You’ve prepared for this! The masters of the Core have made Rome their home and so will you.

The current Spromers send you a warm welcome and some honest, practical advice for making the semester one of growth, knowledge and fun.

When packing, try to only bring the essentials. Most everyday items can be bought in Italy, but novelties like notebooks and folders will require hunting!

Always take your reading with you into Rome. The commute can be long and dull so spruce it up with some Shakespeare or Plutarch.

At museums, always ask if there’s a student discount. Websites don’t always advertise these, and  you may have to show your international student ID to get one.

Are you a light sleeper? Bring earplugs because the walls are thin and the dogs across the street like to bark all night long. Heavy sleeper? Set several alarms; attendance is a lot stricter on the Rome campus!

“Bring plenty of medicine,” says Katrine Christensen. We all survived the notorious plague of 2017, but the Due Santi campus has its fair share of illness. Plan a preemptive attack by bringing enough medication to get through each wave of sickness.

“Make a study guide after the first class and update it after each class instead of trying to make one two days before the test,” advises Craig Drozdowski. This advice hits close to home for me and many other former Romers. Don’t wait to start preparing for the exams! They make up your whole grade in most classes. If you’re a Super-Crammer, the Rome semester will be your kryptonite.

Rome is also an opportunity to take social leaps! “Try to get to know the professors… they’re all really interesting people,” encourages Raphael Cavanna. Your professors are great sources of knowledge and laughter both inside and outside the classroom.

“Be sure you know the value of foreign currency so you don’t wind up spending $140 at Taco Bell,” Cavanna adds, reflecting on the trials he and his wallet have gone through. Always familiarize yourself with exchange rates. This will prevent disasters like overdrawing from your bank, getting swindled by street sellers and spending an outrageous amount on tacos.

The Italy and Greece trips are overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you from going “to as many optional tours as [possible],” as Madison Maldonado suggests. You’ll discover hidden gems by taking advantage of tours that lead you off the well-beaten path.

Speaking of class trips, this semester only one person ran the Marathon and that was Drew Maal, whose token of wisdom is “don’t run in Greece by yourself.” The Greece trip will challenge you in many ways — especially physically. Nothing brings the Greek epics to life like participating whole-heartedly in the Greek Games and running the races in Greece!

For travel weekends, make decisions that will make the most of your time, even if that means leaving at 5 p.m. on a Thursday, which William Rackers recommends you do at least once. Finally, the greatest gift of the Rome experience is right beside you.

As Hunter Haugland puts it, “it’s the people you go with and [the memories you make] with them that makes travel enjoyable.”

Future Romers, we can’t live your Rome experience for you (though some of us wish we could). Grab the baton and give it your all! A Roma!

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