College is meant to be one of the most memorable times of your life. However, it can be a polarizing experience. Most days, you are going to experience new and exciting things that leave you feeling joyful and ready to take on the world. Other days, most likely around final exams, you are going to feel stressed, exhausted, and extremely ready for the semester to end.
No worries, though! I have been in your shoes before, and I am here to give you my top 10 tips on how to survive and thrive at the College of Liberal Arts!
1. Take advantage of our campus and the city.
As you may know, Temple University has such a huge campus and is only a short ride away from Center City! There are so many places to explore on our campus. My favorite hangout spots are the Bell Tower, Student Center, Tech Center, and Paley Library. But don’t hesitate to explore beyond campus; Philly has many diverse neighborhoods that are full of museums, parks, restaurants, and historical sites! Take the bus, Uber, Lyft, or subway to explore the beauty of the city.
2. Always talk to your advisors and faculty.
If you want to stay on track with your required courses or other major-relevant opportunities, talk to the professors and other faculty in charge of your department. If you’re trying to Fly in Four (aka graduate on time), make an appointment each semester with the College of Liberal Arts advisors at Paley Library to plan your course schedule. Remember, you have always have a resource to make sure that you can reach your full potential and finish on time.
3. Food frenzy.
Temple has a lot of food choices around campus. If you venture to any of the food vendors or Saige Cafe near Gladfelter and Anderson Hall, your choices are endless; you can buy a fresh slice of pizza, just about any type of Asian dish, heavenly breakfast sandwiches, or a strong cup of iced coffee. Other options are the Student Center Food Court (hello Chick Fil A), Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and of course...the infamous food trucks! My favorite food trucks are the Falafel Trucks (between the Student Center and Ritter Hall), The Creperie or Burger Tank (both of which are across from Tyler School of Art).
4. Buy books for your major, rent books for electives and GenEds.
Each semester you’ll have required texts for your classes. To save money, here is my most useful tip: buy the books you need for your major, and rent the books for your electives and general education courses (aka GenEds). Keep the books that are essential for your main studies, and borrow the books for classes that are just general requirements. Doing so will help you save a ton of money! Some resources that you can use to get your books include Chegg.com, Amazon Student, and Campusbooks.com.
5. Get involved.
Temple attracts so many students from all over the country - and the world! Everyone could use a friend, and there are many opportunities to meet new people. There are so many clubs and extracurricular activities to get involved in. You can even create your own club! You can look up any of the clubs that you want to get involved with at the OwlConnect App that is in your TUportal account. You can do activities that involve service work, religious groups, music, sports, and cultural associations. There is always something for you to get involved with, and I recommend taking those risks!
6. Take advantage of the free stuff.
One of the best perks of being a Temple student is free stuff! Free events, free food, free swag - the list goes on and on. One, you can grab free tickets at the Liacouras Center to attend Temple sports games. The football and basketball games are the most popular. Second, Free Food Friday Events at the Student Center can definitely help if you are looking to save money on groceries. Each Friday has a different theme! Third, you can download Microsoft Office programs and a year-long subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud for free through TUportal. Save hundreds of dollars in getting the programs needed to do your assignments, projects, and essays. I highly recommend it!
7. Study abroad.
My absolute favorite perk of being a College of Liberal Arts student was the flexibility in my course schedule that allowed me to study abroad! If you are trying to figure out what program suits you best, go to the Study Abroad office on the second floor of Tuttleman Learning Center. Some of the most popular programs that Temple offers include studying in Spain, Italy, Jamaica, and the Latin American Studies Semester. During my time as a student, I got to study abroad in Costa Rica during a spring semester and teach English in Eastern Europe for a summer. College is one of the best times to explore the world. Life is short, get out of your comfort zone… literally!
8. Take advantage of professional development services.
Looking for internships or job opportunities? Do you need help in writing a resume, cover letter, or personal statement? Feel uncomfortable doing interviews or networking? No worries… we have you covered. The College of Liberal Arts offers many career-related services such as the Center for Academic Advising and Professional Development located within Paley Library and a student-run Professional Development Student Association. There is also a university-wide Career Center at the second floor of Mitten Hall. With these resources, you can feel confident in gaining the skills and experiences to thrive on your academic and career-oriented aspirations!
9. Use the Writing Center.
The Writing Center can assist you with essays and any other written assignments. Tutors can coach you on MLA or APA format, assist in making a thesis, organize your ideas, and check your grammar. If you are an international student, the Writing Center also has conversational partners so you can practice your English speaking skills and become more fluent. Here’s a tip: setting-up an appointment via their website will give you an hour to talk with a tutor, whereas walk-in appointments only get 15 minutes!
You cannot enjoy your college experience if you do not take care of yourself. Need a break from studying? Take a break. Are you exhausted because of stressful work and priorities? Relax. You need to take care of yourself in order to succeed. You will have many chances to improve your grades and achieve career goals, but you only have one bill of health. Regardless of what transpires over these next four years, keep believing in yourself, working towards your goals, and remember to have fun while you’re here! Welcome to Temple! You’re officially an Owl.
John Felipe Ranjo is a 2018 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts. He currently resides in Lansdale, PA.