Welcome to class of 2021 Bradley Braves! I am glad you chose the Hilltop as your home as you start your first year of college. But before you officially get on the Hilltop to start your freshman year, here are a few things that I've learned from my first year of college that could be helpful to you.
1. High School Musical.
When you go to freshman convocation, you will understand what I mean by this. Bradley's colors are red and white; KABOOM is not that far off from the energy that Wildcats give and the songs and cheers that the cheerleaders will teach you will erase any doubts that you have on the connections.
2. The dining hall food taste will come and go.
For the first few days, maybe even few weeks, the dining hall food will taste so good that you will be in there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But as the months go on, you may eventually get tired of eating it. It's perfectly normal, and if you get tired of dining hall food, the Student Center and Center Court have places where you can get fast food/non-dining hall food to eat. There's also a nearby Campustown, which is like a strip mall: it has CVS, McDonalds, Starbucks, the Dollar Store, etc.
3. Greek life.
There are many fraternities and sororities to choose from when you come to Bradley University. When Greek life has their block party near the beginning of the school year before classes start, go and check it out for a bit. You never know if the sorority or fraternity that you see will be the group that you join.
4. Late Night BU.
This is a free, fun event that Bradley puts on almost every month where students come out to have fun, play games, ride animals and even win raffles. You don't have to go to all of them, but at least go to the first one. Every month is different!
5. Join the peer mentoring program/ODI scholar.
For students from diverse backgrounds, the Garrett Cultural Center has programs where you can get to know about different cultural programs that the center has to offer. Also, if you need someone for guidance or someone to talk to about anything, join the Scholar Program. It is a really neat program, which I joined when I was a freshman, and you will have a lot of fun and have the chance to make new friends.
6. The noon bell.
Just like a clock, the noon bell rings every hour and chimes the number of the hour. When it's noon, after the clock does its little special ring and twelve bongs, there's a little special song that comes afterwards that last for about 6-7 minutes. At first, it sounds all right and you just tend to ignore it but after a few weeks, you start to get the feeling that this is a VERY long bell and you just want it to end already. If you ever get this feeling, you are not the only one — it's completely normal.
7. Join clubs and organizations.
During welcome week, there will be a big activities fair where you get to see all the clubs and organizations that Bradley has to offer. Check out a few of the tables: Greek life is always there as is Wags for Mags, which is a service dog organization, as well as religious clubs, BSA, etc.
8. You'll meet professors who care.
I know you've been told that once you get to college, your professors won't care about your grades at all and it's your responsibility to keep up with them, and while they are sometimes right, there are some professors that actually want you to succeed. They want you to come to them if you have any problems with your assignments or just want to talk in general. It's all about making that special bond with them or leaving a good impression on them.
It has its good days but it definitely has its bad days. It's like this at every college, but the wi-fi won't always be at its best and you'll have to struggle to find a place where it works, use your phone as a hotspot or go somewhere off campus to use their wi-fi.
These are the major things that you should know about Bradley before you actually come onto campus and get the real experience. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone at Bradley if you have any questions about the campus, classes or anything else. We want to help you succeed because college isn't easy if you try to struggle through everything by yourself. Congratulations on choosing Bradley and I can't wait to see you on the Hilltop. Go far, go Bradley!
Lead Image Credit: AscendedAnathema via Wikimedia Commons