Loyola 101: Rookie Rambler guide

Whether your orientation took place in early June or late August, it was likely a whirlwind experience where an unreasonable amount of information was basically thrown at you. But as a rookie Rambler, there are a few things you should know. Fortunately for you, The Phoenix is here to share some of the must-knows for Loyola students. And who knows, maybe there is still a thing or two for upperclassmen to learn as well.

First and foremost, know a few basic facts about Loyola, if for no other reason than to spare yourself the judgment of your peers.

What’s a Rambler?

For starters, what is a Rambler? Lu Wolf is Loyola’s famed mascot, and yet the university identifies itself as the Loyola Ramblers. If you can believe it, the Rambler nickname goes back to the late 1920s when Loyola’s varsity football team — yes, football — traveled, or rambled, nationwide for games, according to Loyola’s athletic page. The media nicknamed the team the Ramblers, a name that quickly gained popularity, according to the site. Though football has since disappeared from the list of varsity athletics offered at Loyola, the nickname remained.

Never Forget 1963

And since we’re talking sports, if you know anything about Loyola athletics, recognize the year 1963: the year the Loyola men’s basketball team won the Division I National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Championships. Know this information, but also be careful not to mention that it hasn’t happened since.

Kings of the Court

Instead, focus on the recent success of the men’s volleyball team.

While the university played host to the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Volleyball Championships last May, the Ramblers won the title for the first time in the university’s history, according to NCAA. The team also completed their season with an overall record of 29 wins and one loss, according to the men’s volleyball page on Loyola’s athletic site.

And now, for some practical tips on surviving your first year on campus:

Big Spender

Students have two money- spending options on campus: Flex Dollars and Rambler Bucks. It can be confusing at first to differentiate between the two, but the key to understanding this system is to treat your Rambler Bucks like a Loyola debit card. Rambler Bucks must be added to your account, which can be done throughout the semester either via LOCUS or at one of the multiple card machines around campus. Rambler Bucks can also be used to make purchases off campus, like at Metropolis Coffee and Five Guys. Flex Dollars, however, are an extension of your meal plan, and thus can only be used until they run out. Budget your money on a weekly basis: The longer it lasts, the better off you will be when the time comes for an emergency trip to Southside Market for some toilet paper. For a complete list of off-campus locations and to see where you can reload your Rambler Bucks, visit

Getting Around

Put your Ventra card to good use. It can often be easy to spot those new to the CTA, so here’s the first of two CTA-related tips: All it takes is a quick tap for the scanner to give you the signal to enter. Don’t swipe or hold your card there for too long because all you will end up doing is confusing the machine and slowing down the line. Loyola is right off the Red Line, making commutes to downtown a simple task, but here’s tip number two: don’t limit yourselves to Michigan Ave. off the Chicago Stop. Explore as many of the El stops as you care to. On the Red Line alone, there are 13 stops between Loyola and Chicago — home of the Water Tower Campus ( WTC). Northbound, there are three. Every stop has something unique to offer. For instance, you can browse through the Belmont stop’s eclectic collection of shops, feast on Anne Sather’s cinnamon rolls off Granville or try out Argyle’s wide selection of Asian cuisine.

If the CTA is not for you, Loyola has shuttles to get you to the WTC. The best tip for this method of transportation is to plan ahead. Shuttles begin running at 7:00 a.m. on the WTC and 7:30 a.m. on the Lake Shore Campus, after which they travel every 20 minutes until midnight, according to Campus Transportation. Depending on traffic, the drive takes less than 30 minutes. During midday hours the shuttles fill fast, so if you have class downtown make sure you are at the shuttle stop earlier than the anticipated time of departure. Arriving an extra 10 to 15 minutes early for the bus might help you keep your perfect attendance.

Get Involved

If there was something you were passionate about before college, do not let college get in the way of that. If it is a hobby that Loyola has a club for, join the club; if Loyola doesn’t already have a club, create one for it. It is a great way to meet people you know for sure you share something in common with. Visit the Student Activities and Greek Affairs in the Damen Student Center for more information on how to join or create a club.

Grades Come First

Go to class and do your homework, and be sure to take advantage of the various resources Loyola has to offer, whether it is the writing center found on the second floor of the Klarchek Information Commons, also called the IC, or the tutoring center found in the Sullivan Center. Professors are excellent resources, too. As experts in their respective fields, they are some of Loyola’s most important resources, offering a perspective you cannot read in a textbook. Introduce yourself and visit them during their office hours. They might even become a great professional reference later in your academic career.

Now you are no longer just a newbie wearing a lanyard around your neck, you are a student with a little bit of wisdom to impart on your peers…who are also wearing lanyards around their necks.

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