For many first-year college students, the social and academic aspects of college can create immeasurable amounts of stress. Trying to build new friendships while also having a paper due the next day or an exam to study for is a daunting task, especially with the circumstances placed on us this past year and a half.  Being able to take advantage of the resources provided for us at SJU, as well as gaining knowledge of all the fun activities to do off and on campus, can make college life a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. 

Resources on Campus

Student Success Center

In contrast to a high school setting, the amount of opportunity to grow individually during your time in college is unmatched. The Student Success Center assists students who need help academically, emotionally and socially. One of the great benefits in the Student Success Center is meeting with someone who can get you on track to succeed. For myself, making a schedule for the week helped me stay on track while also allowing myself to do extracurricular activities.  

Writing Center

The Writing Center helps students produce ideas and strategies, as well as provide guidance in brainstorming for certain papers in order to help improve their writing skills. Revising papers with someone working at the Writing Center is a widespread practice for countless students at SJU including myself. The Writing Center is located in Merion Hall 162 and Post Learning Commons 128. The Writing Center can be utilized by students of all majors, not just English majors. Gianna Pelosi, former biology major, said that she “loves that they have students of every major working there instead of just English because a biology major helped me with writing my final lab report last semester.”

Writing Center Location- Merion Hall 162 Photo by: Nikole Platenecky
Peer Tutoring

Peer Tutoring is another highly used resource for students here at SJU. When struggling or just needing extra help for a certain subject, peer tutoring is a great option. Peer Tutoring pairs you one on one with an upperclassman for 30 minutes to an hour to help you through anything that you are struggling with. You can meet in person or virtually depending on preference.    

Social

We all know college should be a fun and engaging experience for everyone. Working in your dorm room for hours on end can become disheartening and distracting, especially with the isolation that has been caused by the coronavirus. Being social and doing school work is very common especially when you have the right environment to do it. Lots of students at SJU form study groups at the Starbucks by campus or in the private study rooms in the library. SJU has continued to provide a pathway to ensure that students will be able to succeed in a work environment with the goal of encouraging teamwork, whether that would be through group projects or mandatory meetings.

Students Eva Hess and Jennifer Cardamone studying together in McShain Hall lounge. Photo by: Nikole Platenecky
Philadelphia Social Life

A trip to the city for many SJU students is a way to just relax and have some fun with friends off-campus. Whether that be visiting Penn’s Landing where you can spend time together at Love Park, eat diverse food, or go ice skating at Christmas time. The options are endless. For any fans of the movie “Rocky”, the Rocky steps is an experience like no other. The city provides numerous opportunities and experiences to help you get away from the stress of school and I would highly recommend going when you have the opportunity!


I highly advise students at SJU to get out of their comfort zone and incorporate these assets into their college life. You don’t want to look back at your college experience and question whether going out to parties constantly or just sitting in a dorm room doing work all day was the right decision. By allowing yourself to explore new opportunities and new ways to balance your social and academic life, you will most likely notice an improvement in your overall wellbeing and mental health. Taking a step back from sitting alone doing work and being with friends will help to make your days less chaotic and less stressful. As the semester continues, I encourage you to try forming a new study group and to go explore something in the city that you have never done before.