JC’s Declassified School Survival Guide: Freshman Year


JC Canicosa offers freshman his best advice for surviving that first year of college. Tess Rowland/The Maroon. Photo credit: Tess Rowland

Jc Canicosa

In a university full of SoundCloud rappers, eccentric professors and school budget cuts, JC Canicosa— that’s me—and the Wolf try to do the impossible: create a guide that will help you survive Loyola.

*cue theme song*

The weather is finally dipping under 90 degrees. Seemingly half of Tulane’s campus is closed for renovations. The sounds of Krewe leaders’ dancing and chanting at people can be heard from Roussel Hall. That must mean one thing: school is about to start again at Loyola. But, for about 840 brand new adults, it’s a bit more exciting, as this is their first year at Loyola. If one of those brand new adults is you, here are some tips on how and where to navigate your first year as a member of the Wolf Pack.

(Your results may vary.)

JC Canicosa offers freshman his best advice for surviving that first year of college. Tess Rowland/The Maroon. Photo credit: Tess Rowland

1. You may be part of one of the biggest freshman classes we’ve had in recent memory, but don’t let that fool you. Loyola is small. Really small. It may not seem like it now, but eventually everyone is going to know everyone. And there are two ways to look at that. One is overly cautionary. As in, maybe you should think twice before doing that thing by The Boot that Future You will regret, as it might stay with you a bit longer than you would like. But, you can also look at it as an opportunity. Circles tend to run tight at Loyola and there’s a good chance you’re going to find the best friends you’ve ever had here. Go find them.

2. You’re living in New Orleans now. That means it would be an absolute travesty if you didn’t come to learn about how the city lives and breathes. The best way to start is obviously through the music. Start listening to some of the local legends like Louis Armstrong, at least two of Lil Wayne’s “The Carters,” or anything by Frank Ocean.

Go out and find a brass band or second line improvising on the streets (Frenchmen Street is probably your best bet to find great impromptu live music on any given night) or go to any New Orleans music festival. Here, music is more of an experience rather than a collection of songs. Listening to “Isn’t She Lovely,” on Spotify is one thing, seeing Stevie Wonder playing live at Jazz Fest is another. Throughout my time at Loyola, I’ve seen Drake (Bell), Maroon 5, Anderson .Paak, Miguel, The Killers, The Chainsmokers, Nas, Snoop Dogg, G-Eazy (a Loyola legend) and so many others. It would be a shame if you didn’t take full advantage of the amazing music scene while you’re here.

3. Did I mention Loyola is small? Because it is. And the thing about small schools is that rumor mills can move fast. There’s a good chance you or someone you know might end up having to deal with unfavorable words or narratives about you spreading fast, whether it’s warranted or not. Loyola can be really high school-ish in that way, but don’t stress about it too much. Compared to their first day of freshman year, a lot of my friends and peers have gotten so much more confident and self-assured. It’s really a beautiful thing to watch, seeing how you and your friends grow through all the seemingly trivial and not-so-trivial stuff that life at Loyola can throw your way. Make sure you don’t miss it.

4. Biever Hall’s walls are a lot thinner than you think … do with that information what you will.

5. The two bars you will likely be most acquainted with throughout your freshman year are Bruno’s and The Boot. Now, The Wolf does not in any way promote or condone underage drinking … but Bruno’s is the place to go if you’re looking to chat, hang out and maybe catch a sports game. And The Boot … well, you’re going to learn everything you’re going to know about “The Boot” without me.

6. Enjoy every second of it. I’ve been on other college campuses, even studied at a different university across the Atlantic, and nothing compares to The Loyola Experience, not even The Tulane Experience. As a lowly senior who gets waves of nostalgia and warm, fuzzy feelings every time I walk past Biever Hall, I have to say I’m really going to miss it here. I’m going to miss coming back from class to eight of my best friends and like four of my crushes all hanging out in the hallway. I’m going to miss 2 a.m. trips to Boot Pizza accompanying deep talks. I’m going to miss playing pranks on my RA, only to later become an RA and take the receiving end of said pranks. I’m going to miss all of it.

Loyola’s in your hands for the next four years, pups of the Wolf Pack. Take care of her.