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Capture the Cardinal
Office of Campus Activities 125 Pryzbyla Center Washington, DC 20064 202-319-5627 orientation.cua.edu
Contents SECTION ONE: Get Ready... Tips to Start off Right........................2 Decisions, Decisions...................4 What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?......5
SECTION TWO: Get Set... 10 Ways to be Successful at CUA.........................6 Facing the First Year.....7 Common Misconceptions...........8
SECTION THREE: Soar! Transfer Transition.................10 Exploring Academic Interests..................11 Exploring Social Interests..................12
Dear First-Year Students, Welcome to The Catholic University of America! We are so excited to welcome you to the University community. August 22nd marks the start of a new chapter in your life. Throughout the summer you will receive items that will help guide you as you begin your college career. “Capture the Cardinal” is one such publication! This issue of “Capture the Cardinal” contains articles written to help you start off this exciting new journey on the right foot. What major is right for me? Should I study abroad? What’s college really like? These are the kind of questions that this issue of “Capture the Cardinal” will help answer. The primary reason you are attending CUA is to open your minds to the wealth of knowledge that the world has to offer. “Capture the Cardinal” can help you start to navigate through all of this and keep you on your own educational path. Upcoming issues of “Capture the Cardinal” will focus on different topics that will help you make the transition to your life at CUA. Make the most of your time this summer. Once you begin life at CUA, you will develop in such a way that, in retrospect, you won’t believe how fast time passes. Get excited. This may be one of the most anxious times in your life, but it is also one of the most exciting! We wish you a happy and safe summer! Sincerely, Athena Bernas and Meghan Smith Orientation 2013 Student Coordinators
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Section One: Get Ready...
Tips to Start off Right by Ryan Fecteau Politics major, Class of 2014
For most of you, arriving at Catholic University this fall will be the first time you have been away from your family and close friends- some friends, so old, you share pre-school memories together! You probably feel incredibly excited about this adventure that will most certainly include moments you will cherish for the rest of your life. But I am sure you might also be asking yourself, "How do I turn this huge change into a smooth transition?" Chances are most of you are off to better start than me. Three years ago when I arrived for Orientation, it was the first time that I ever stepped foot on CUAâ€™s campus. For those of you who will be coming to CUA for the first time during Orientation, I applaud and welcome you to an elite group (we have fancy dinners on Saturdays near the White House). All kidding aside, there are many things that can help make your start at CUA feel right (even if you are like me and have never visited campus): First, connect with the folks from the incoming Class of 2017 on Facebook. It is especially helpful to get to know someone who lives near you. Sending someone a Facebook message does not mean that you will be best friends for CUA life, but it does give you a start. And it is mutually beneficial to know each other! When you cannot find a building on campus or the cheapest flight home for break, your Facebook buddy might be a huge resource! Remember, at all times, that everyone around you is in the same boat. You are all paddling along on the Ocean of Newness. So, if you feel nervous, confused, or maybe even a bit homesick, chat with those around you. They are likely feeling some of the same things. Everyone is on a learning curve- so help each other out!
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Another crucial part of making your start at CUA soar smoothly is to get involved with student organizations, Campus Ministry, sports team, or even D.C.-based organizations. Getting to know people from these different facets of campus could cause you to rub elbows with people who you might later call your best-friends. You will have many chances to learn about these opportunities during Orientation and Orientation Extended, so take advantage of them! Manage your time wisely. While it becomes very easy to think that there is not enough time for friends in your busy academic schedule, you should try to manage a healthy and responsible amount of time for friends and activities on campus. Having chances just to chill is a good way to relieve stress from what might feel like an overwhelming first few weeks. Your residence hall room represents less than 1% of campus. Try to explore and attend events happening across the other 99% of campus. You will feel good meeting people and getting a feel for campus, and this might be as easy as stepping out into the hallway and meeting your residence hall neighbors! Stay connected with your family and friends. The first few weeks of the semester can feel like a lot to process; you will want to take the time to connect with those back home. So, try to figure out a regular time where you might call or Skype family and friends. Attention Family: It might be difficult to resist the urge to check up on your student every day, but it is better to provide a healthy amount of space. Finally, if you think you have trouble remembering names, you might want to check out a few memorization tricks. Know that you will run into people on campus who will remember you, but you might not remember them- donâ€™t feel embarrassed; it happens to the best of us (me being the best-est).There are, of course, dozens and dozens of tips for starting out right here at CUA, but just remember you cannot possibly go into university knowing everything. It is okay to have some hiccups. This is a time to make the most of everything!
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Decisions, Decisions: Choosing a Major
by Victor David Politics major, Class of 2014
Close your eyes and imagine yourself 20, 30, 40 years from now. Are you happy? If so, what do you do that gives you that satisfaction? Got it. Now, just pick the major that is closest to that job. Done and done! Welcome to college! Well, okay, so it’s not that easy. You can enter your first class as a pre-med major and graduate as a media studies student. Or you might come to CUA wanting to study politics (like me!) and yet hold a degree in Spanish four years later. No, I didn’t make up these two examples; these situations are just ones two good friends of mine found themselves in. But it goes to show that there’s no shame in not knowing exactly what you want to study. And even what you study doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do for the rest of your life. So, then, how in heaven’s name are you supposed to choose a major? CUA offers more than 80 distinct majors across eight Let me offer three pieces of advice: undergraduate schools: 1. Study what interests you! If you plan on pursuing grad school and School of Architecutre and you’re not in one of the professional schools (i.e. nursing, music, archiPlanning tecture), then your undergraduate degree won’t be what gets you in, it’s your GRE scores. That being said, why not study something that you truly School of Arts and Sciences love. For me, it’s politics. For you, it might be history, or drama, or medieval studies. School of Business and Economics 2. Go ahead, think about the future. If you truly know what you want to pursue after college, by all means, make your preparations now! Want to School of Engineering be a psychologist? We’ve got a great psychology department. Want to work for NASA? Study physics! Many of the faculty already work for the Benjamin T. Rome School of space agency. Feel called to be a journalist? Then try English or media Music studies. 3. Don’t be afraid to change your mind. Many, many people have second thoughts about their major. I have known several of them in my time here at CUA. And guess what? IT’S OKAY! Changing a major is not the end of the world. In fact, it might be the best decision you make! I hope this little bit helps. It might sound obvious, a bit outdated, or dare I say corny, but it’s certainly the process I went through, and I think it worked! Best of luck to you as you begin to start a new chapter in life. Orientation 2013 4
School of Nursing School of Philosophy National Catholic School of Social Service
What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up? by Tom Carani Theology major, Class of 2015
It’s a familiar question that rouses the imaginations of children. How did you answer it? Did you want to be a firefighter? A doctor? A ballerina? Childhood dreams seemed farfetched and impossible, but the time to do the impossible has arrived. You’re a first-year student at Catholic University, and by choosing the right major, you’ll be on your way to a lifetime of success.
the Exploratory track. Many students come in as Exploratory students, which means that they haven’t declared a major yet. There’s nothing wrong with searching for your passion while you study at CUA. You don’t have to figure everything out in one summer.
If you choose the Exploratory track, you can take an active role in pursuing any potential major. Take classes that magnify your strengths and teach Maybe you haven’t given up on your childhood you practical skills. Are you good at math? Explore dreams and you know exactly what you want to math, engineering, or architecture courses. If you study. Perhaps your career plan of being a profescan’t stand math, but you love history, take a sional athlete didn’t exactly work out and you history course. However, my advice is to take have no idea what major you should choose. In different classes than you took in high either case, remember that school. If you took U.S. History in choosing a major is all about you. Find a subject you enjoy and stick My grandpa always high school, then take a medieval history course at CUA. Widen your with it. If you like your major, tells me, horizons; you’re exploring a whole you’ll enjoy your classes and eventually you’ll find a profession “Remember who new world of knowledge. perfectly suited for you. When you are,” and now, It’s important to take practical steps you’re happy, you’re successful. That’s the goal of a Catholic I’m passing that to decide on a major. The most step you can take is to University education. advice along to you. important pray. We don’t always know what God has planned for us. The only way I chose to attend Catholic Univerto figure out what will make us truly happy is to sity because I knew I wanted to study theology. pray and to ask for God’s will to be done. The I’ve always enjoyed Catholic religion classes, and prayer of St. Thomas Merton is a good prayer in high school I excelled in Catholic religion class. I about discerning God’s Will. Find it on the Interwas excited for homework assignments, tests, and net, pray it every day, and you’ll be inspired to essays. Catholic theology was my passion, so I make the right choice for your major. declared it as my Major. People often joke that I won’t be able to find a job with a degree in theolMy grandpa always tells me, “Remember who you ogy when I graduate, and they assume that I won’t are,” and now I’m passing that advice along to be happy because I might not earn an income like you. Knowing yourself is the key to achieving an architect or doctor will. The truth is, I’m happy happiness and success, especially when it comes to studying theology and my true happiness is more choosing a major at Catholic University. Whether valuable than any salary. you’re sure of your major or not, I can promise that you will become far greater than your childNow, you might not have a clue as to what major hood imagination ever thought possible. you should choose, and that’s why Catholic University has Orientation 2013 5
Section Two: Get Set...
Top 10 Ways to Become a Successful CUA First-Year Student
by Amanda Matyas English and Secondary Education major, Class of 2014 The idea of college may seem like a daunting task, or just one big playfair. Here are 10 tips on how to become a successful college student by making the most out of the next four years of your life: 1. Become familiar with, and use, on campus resources: The library, writing centers, the Center for Academic Success, Campus Ministry, career services, your advisors, all are great resources for you to get to know. 2. Foster relationships with your professors and TAs: Your professors and TAs are here to help you! They have vast knowledge on the content of the course and are more than happy to work with you on any questions you may have. 3. Attend office hours: Office hours are a great opportunity for you to meet with your professors, TAs, or advisers about any questions or concerns you may have on classes or your future. 4. Choose your courses wisely: Picking courses you are interested in or taught by an instructor you like will only benefit you in the end. Taking classes you enjoy will be an added motivation to participate in the course and have a great semester.
5. Get involved in your classes, donâ€™t just attend them: Attending classes is great and all, but getting involved in your lectures and discussions will help you retain the information being taught. 6. Have a goal: Visualizing your dreams is the number one motivator to work your hardest. Being goal driven will be advantageous to your college plans and your future. 7. Be organized and set priorities: College is different than high school. Time management and having a balanced lifestyle will ease the transition period between what your professors expect of you and what you expect out of college. 8. Take care of your health: Daily exercise and healthy living habits will keep your body in tiptop shape. Staying healthy will help you keep on top of your workload so that you have time for other extracurricular activities. 9. Get involved in campus life: CUA is filled with so many opportunities for you! From the wonderful extracurricular activities and clubs to all of the service projects and excursions, there is a place for everyone. 10. Have fun! Donâ€™t forget to set some time aside to have some fun with all of your new friends!
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Facing the First Year
by Emily Brouch, English major, Class of 2016 College requires an awful lot of courage. The idea of leaving home, and abandoning everything that is familiar, to start a new life at school can be incredibly daunting to even the most adaptable individual. With a new environment, new expectations, and new social groups awaiting you, it’s totally normal to be nervous. But I promise you, you aren’t alone—take it from me, I faced some of the most common freshman fears only last fall. 1. Making Friends This is probably the number one fear for first year students going off to college. It’s a real challenge to start from scratch and build all-new friendships, especially if you’re a naturally introverted person. However, keep in mind that almost every freshman is going through a similar transition, and they’ll be as eager and nervous as you are to start forming connections! And don’t worry about not finding a group where you fit in; you’ll be coming into a much larger population than your high school, with a great variety of backgrounds and personalities. Challenge yourself to branch out and get involved; you’ll meet some amazing people and learn more about Be patient. It takes yourself along the way. time to understand the 2. The workload will be too heavy rhythm of a new acaAlthough you will be faced with a new and challenging course load, with the proper time management you’ll soon be able to balance all your competing demic life and to priorities. Don’t overload yourself with commitments, and make sure to keep develop a personal track of assignments (personally, I found a dry-erase calendar above my desk to be a huge help). It’s better to give yourself too much time than too little, learning style. Over the especially when you’re just starting out. There are also services throughout first semester it the CUA community to provide help should you need it, whether through becomes easier to teachers, friends, tutors, or other means. understand the flow of 3. I’m going to have a hard time being away from my family and my work and realize how home. While college is about becoming independent, it’s okay to have days when to accommodate you miss having your dog jump up every time you walk through a door, or different teachers' when all you want is a home-cooked meal and a hug from your mom. Getting out and involved can help erase some of that homesickness. By the same standards and course token, don’t get too caught up in activities that you neglect your family back requirements. home. It’s the effort that counts; if you don’t always have time for extended phone calls, exchange brief messages or emails to let them know how you’re doing between conversations. And don’t worry— once you start to find your footing, both you and your family will be more comfortable with your being on your own. Most important, you make your college experience, and you have the ability to shape it however you choose. Your first year is positively bursting with opportunities for you to find your place in university life, so be open and take risks; explore the city, challenge yourself, do something you never thought you could before. Although starting college can seem incredibly daunting at first, trust me, the unknown is often scarier than reality. When I asked a friend about his first year, he answered: “I didn’t want to lose myself in the whole idea of college.” But with a little courage, I think you’ll be amazed at what you can find out about yourself and the CUA community. Orientation 2013 7
Common Misconceptions First Years Have by Gretchen Wade, Biology major, Class of Misconception #1: Party like a rock star! As an independent college student, you can approach drinking one of two ways: get “shwasty” drunk for the first few weekends, meet people whose names you won’t remember, do things you will later regret, and get kicked out of school due to your abysmal grades. Or you can wake up on a Saturday morning without a migraine and enjoy what I believe is the greatest college city the world has to offer. Most museums are free, the National Mall is a great place to run, play Frisbee and soccer; there are restaurants that will satisfy any possible taste; professional sports arenas are only a few Metro stops away; flea markets with really cool finds, or even Value Village for those in the “Thrifting” mood. If you are hungover from the night before you’ll be contained to your bed, instead of living in the city around you! In college, it is actually cooler to drink responsibly, wait until you’re of age, and have a safe night than it is to binge drink… no one thinks that is cool! Misconception #2: Being nervous is for babies. Being nervous is normal, but seize this incredible opportunity! Channel your nervous energy into getting excited about the truly best four years of your life at The Catholic University of America! Everyone is coming with a fresh start for a new adventure in their academic and life journey. Join clubs and organizations that you find interesting or are centered on issues you are passionate about. It is Washington, D.C. and our nation’s capitol- if you really want to be an activist for a cause or join a group to do so, now is the time. Misconception #3: You must be the “cool kid” to make friends. Be yourself – this isn’t high school where your attire is the talk of the school if you have a late night studying in Mullen Library. Chances are you are not the only one in your class who is also there studying late. Get a group together and have a “study party” for that hard class you are taking. You will make new friends and learn the material at the same time. College is the time when you get to meet classmates and professors from all over the globe. You will attract friends by being yourself and being comfortable in what is the real “you.” Misconception #4: Don’t ask for help… especially from Mom and Dad! I think this is the biggest misconception that incoming freshmen have. The new sense of independence and “Can-do” attitude sometimes can overshadow asking for help. Asking for help when you are struggling to understand material in a difficult course is not a sign of immaturity, but actually maturity. Go back to see your professor if you don’t understand; they are all here to help you further your education, so take advantage of their office hours. Use the Center for Academic Success’ tutoring program, where peer-tutors who have taken the exact course and received an A in it and help you continue to learn the material outside of the classroom. And don’t forget who got you here; Dad, Mom grandparents, friendsbe sure to call home and thank them for their continued support. They will enjoy hearing about all of the amazing things you will be a part of your first year. Orientation 2013 8
Misconception #5: I don’t really have to study, we already learned this… right? Wrong. In college you will go over some background material that you learned in high school, but the depth of the material and even the viewpoint from which you perceive the work might be totally different. Be ready to be challenged by your professors to really become a wellread, well rounded student. But always remember that they are here to guide you in this new learning process. Misconception #6: #Roommate problems vs. #Roommate BFF Remember that college life is not confined to your dorm room. That means whether you and your roommate are best friends or don’t have much in common, 99% of the college experience happens outside those four walls. Use all of the events and the programs on campus as ways to get to know new people. Remember everyone is meeting everyone else for the first month, so be proactive and attend events that you find interesting. Chances are you will meet someone else there that you have common interests with, and hey – it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Misconception #7: Modest isn't Hottest. The hook-up culture is believed to be the only way to meet someone today and it is also believed that "everyone is doing it". Statisticaly speaking less than 30% of teenagers are sexually active beore marriage. You can meet people without being with them sexually. Both girls and boys deserve respect. Sleeping around with multiple people is, one not respectful, and two, neither safe nor healthy!
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Section Three: SOAR!
by Mark Danso, Frenchmajor, Class of 2014 Having completed my first year at The Catholic University of America as a transfer student, I understand the challenges that the transfer process entails. Current students have already gone through freshman orientation, made their friend groups, and know who they will be rooming with for the rest of their college career. They have declared their majors, found their favorite professors, and built a relationship with their advisor. They have joined service organizations, club and varsity sports, and countless campus activities. I thought through these realities while I was deciding to transfer, and I am sure you have too. So, where does this leave you? I believe that you can find your niche and become part of the CUA community no matter what reason you are deciding to transfer. Some transfer because they want to be challenged, or there was a missing element from their college experience. Others want to pursue opportunities that CUA provides, such as our prestigious architecture program, our new business and economics school, or internships in Washington, D.C. Many universities focus on the result of a bachelorâ€™s degree, however, CUA focuses on the process of each studentâ€™s growth in our nurturing community. CUA remains dedicated to helping the whole person as we mature by pursuing various academic, athletic, recreational, spiritual, and community service activities. Since CUA provides so many opportunities to explore your interests, you are bound to find where your interests intersect with the CUA community. My transition to CUA marked not only a change in academia, but also a shift in self-awareness. I studied economics at my previous institution because I saw others have success after graduation, but I did not have a passion for this field. Therefore I changed my major to French where my professors embraced me, and I truly felt happy with regards to academia. Despite this success, I still found difficulty in becoming part of the CUA community. I began to engage people in my classes and connect with them through similar interests in courses. Further, I decided to continue to play lacrosse where I bonded with teammates over our training, meals at the Pryz, devastating loses, and spectacular wins. Despite my short time here, I know that I am fostering lifetime friendships. While my experience has not always been smooth, or my growth linear, I believe that CUA is constantly ready to embrace new members to our community. CUA gives you the opportunity to find who you are during this journey, and it remains essential to be true to yourself. Finding what I love to do and getting involved has defined my experience here. Although transferring requires you to take risks, the impact of one year at CUA has dramatically enhanced my life. Orientation 2013 10
Exploring Academic Intrests
by Meghan Smith, English and Seconday Education major, Class of 2015 There are a number of academic oppritunities available for incoming first year students. Not only do students have the choice to pursue more than 60 possible undergraduate degrees, in eight different professional schools, CUA also offers study abroad experiences in over 25 different countries. Due to Catholic Universityâ€™s awesome location in D.C., students are also able to work with their advisors and Career Services to obtain internships in a number of fields ranging from politics to social work to education. As an English and secondary education double major, I am required to observe a number of different classrooms and eventually student teach my senior year. Here at CUA, my advisor will work with me to figure out the best placement option and I have a say in whether or not I want to go to a public, charter, or Catholic school. Catholic University has so many academic opporitunities available to us as undergraduate students, and the many advisors and professors on campus are more than willing to work with students to create even more opporitunities. I feel truly blessed to go to a university where professors and advisers know my name and how to best help me along my academic journey here at CUA.
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Exploring Social Interests
by Danielle Flood, Social Work major, Class of 2015
Things to Do At CUA: Homeless Food Runs Club Sports DC Night Outs Friday Night House Events Open Mic Nights Movies on the Mall Thanksgiving Potluck
Things to Do In DC: Explore Eastern Market Grab Lunch at Union Take a tour of the Capitol Check out Chinatown See a movie in Silver Spring
How am I going to get involved? Where am I going to make friends? If you’re thinking this, you’re not alone. These are common worries for many incoming students, but with all that Catholic University has to offer, you have nothing to worry about- there truly is something for everyone! Personally, I found it extremely easy to find my niche at CUA. During my first year, I joined service organizations like Best Buddies and Colleges Against Cancer, and quickly I found myself loving everyone I met! On top of this, I met peers through my classes and within my residence hall, and made friends that not only are still my friends today, but are people who have helped me explore everything else CUA has to give. During the first weeks of school, make sure to check out “Fall Fiesta,” which consists of not only delicious Mexican food, but the opportunity to meet people from every student organization. With everything laid out right in front of you, you are able to walk through the student organization fair and leave with an idea of which ones you would want to get involved in. Between service organizations, academic clubs, club and intramural sports, and cultural organizations, you’ll be sure to leave with an idea of how you want to spend your time at CUA. You’ve joined your clubs… now what? With the rest of your free time, make sure to check out the awesome events that are always going on around campus! Program Board runs an event at least once a week, some student favorites being Movies on the Mall and Late Night Breakfast (during finals weeks), Open Mic nights, Founders Day Ball, and so much more. Campus Ministry also runs events every Friday night, and these will range anywhere from going to a National’s baseball game, to going ice skating at the National Sculpture Garden, to checking out the Baltimore aquarium. These events are a great way to explore the hidden gems of our nation’s capital and the surrounding area with your classmates, and for much cheaper prices than normal! I’m sure this all seems overwhelming, and your probably wondering, “Where do I start?” Orientation is the perfect way to help you adjust to college life. During these first four days, you’ll have the chance to meet the rest of the incoming class, and current students who are involved in all aspects of student life. Take the time to get to know them, ask them questions, and see what you might want to get involved in. Then, during the first six weeks of classes, be sure to participate in Orientation Extended! This program was created to help you explore all different parts of campus, so that you can test out different clubs and programs to find the ones that interest you. But, until then, make sure to check out activities.cua.edu so you can read about all of the great student organizations that CUA students get involved in! CU in August! Orientation 2013 12