Let's be real, Santa Clara is basically heaven on earth, Claradise, practically a country club. It's so beautiful and everyone is so happy all the time, who wouldn't want to go here.
The truth of the matter is a little different, though. The shiny tour at the beginning is designed to give you the best possible picture of the school and disregards a lot of other super important things. Here are 19 things your tour guide won't (or can't) tell you that
1. The food in the dining hall doesn't change every day
This is a common lie that tour guides like to tell: "There are different food options every day. It never gets old!"
That's a bold-faced lie. One item changes every day and other than that, everything pretty much stays the same and, like any dining hall, the food gets really repetitive after a very short while.
2. The food is way more expensive than it normally would be
One thing I found shocking was the pricing of food here; a SINGLE banana for OVER $1? Despite paying in arbitrary "meal points," the prices are rather unrealistic in comparison to stores beyond campus.
3. If you manage your meal points, you'll never need to go to Safeway
There's a grocery store on the bottom level of Benson and while the selection isn't great, there's a pretty good chance you can find what you're looking for. The prices look crazy high but when you remember that it's meal points (practically Monopoly money) and not real money, they become much more appealing.
4. Eating with dietary restrictions is not difficult
Many of the dining options, despite sometimes becoming boring (as aforementioned), are relatively manageable if you have eating restrictions. There are gluten-free and vegan treats available, and many foods can be cooked or prepared in a particular way for students who request it.
5. Tapingo is both a blessing and a curse
You'll discover this quaint little food-ordering app during your first few weeks here at school, and honestly, at first, it'll seem like a total win. But soon enough, you'll discover frustrations with Tapingo -- orders not going through, orders taking WAY longer than expected to be completed, the app being down at arbitrary times, lines 24 people deep to get coffee between class, you name it. It becomes a love-hate relationship as you navigate through college.
6. Winter quarter gets everyone down
We all get used to the California weather pretty quickly so when gloomy, rainy winter quarter rolls around, everyone is convinced that they're dying. Avoid the seasonal blues by trying not to get sick, keeping yourself busy, and taking advantage of every sunny moment.
Good news is as soon as spring quarter rolls around, the whole campus comes back to life.
7. Speaking of spring quarter, the party scene is LIT
Day parties (darties? daygers?) every weekend, APB's on-campus concert, the sunshine and hot weather: who could ask for more?
9. The health center will convince you you're dying
Cowell is nice and convenient if you need to see a doctor quickly, get a vaccine, be tested for STD's, or if you know what you have (i.e. a UTI or ear infection).
However, when you go in and tell them you're sick, they convince you you're dying by falsely diagnosing you with mono, strep, or the flu. Either that or they send you home with some over the counter medication, a pat on the back, and are generally unhelpful.
10. Invest in an Arts Card
If you buy an Arts Card as a freshman, you can get admission to arts and theater events for all 4 years. If you're bored on a weekend afternoon or have friends in the arts, this card will definitely come in handy!
11. Greek life isn't mandatory
Although many people come to college intending to join a sorority/fraternity, you'll learn that it is not a necessary club to be a part of here at SCU. Not being involved in Greek life will not make or break your "college experience", and besides, there are many other clubs and organizations to become involved in.
12. You don't have to be Christian/Catholic to go here
Many potential incoming students are under the false impression that you have to be Christian or Catholic, but despite SCU being a Jesuit institution, in fact only 50% of the student body actually identifies as these religions.
13. SCU's administration likes to pretend everything is perfect
When things go wrong, the school will never own up to it. Instead, they're great at covering things up and acting like everything is totally perfect all the time. It's easy to see through but it can also be incredibly frustrating when serious topics such as mental illness and sexual assault are rather casually swept under the rug.
14. What dorm you live in matters... but not the way you'd think
During orientation, you get sorted into groups based off the theme of the dorm you've chosen to live in. Some focus on sustainability or service or community or science, or any number of topics. It makes it seem like these themes are the most important part of choosing where to live. In reality, the factors you should consider are:
1. How close is the dorm to everything else (especially your classes)?
2. What style dorm is it? Suites? Singles? Doubles? Do you have your own bathroom or a communal bathroom?
3. How social is it? If it's Swig, plan to be up all night. If it's Graham, plan to rarely see another human being.
15. There is less of an emphasis on intersectionality than initially portrayed
At orientation, you may feel that there is a slew of types of social/cultural identifiers among the student body, but upon coming to school, it may seem a bit misportrayed. It truly isn't a hallmark of campus, as the general makeup of students is primarily white and upper class.
16. If you're looking for traditional football and tailgates, SCU is not for you
SCU doesn't have a football team and although our soccer and basketball teams are really good, we miss out a lot on the traditional college athletics experience that other bigger schools get.
Good news though, Stanford is just a short train ride away.
17. There's always construction but where's the progress? And who's paying for this?
The brand new law building was just completed and another residence hall is underway. In addition to eliminating hundreds of student parking spots and redirecting traffic for months on end, the construction is a constant hassle that isn't always seen through to completion.
Last year there was a construction project to create a new student lounge space. Ground was broken and work was done on it for months before the project was abandoned and an area with picnic tables was put in instead. Conveniently, tuition and fees also went up after we paid for a long project that ultimately saw no success.
18. There's so much to do in the Bay Area but it's really inconvenient to try to get around
Freshmen aren't allowed to have cars on campus and although the train station is only across the street, it runs at inconvenient times, stops running super early, and doesn't go in every direction.
Sure, you could pay $60 to take an Uber to the beach. Or you can make friends with an upperclassman that can drive you places.
19. Everyone loves it here
Despite the ups and downs, everyone's enthusiasm is THROUGH. THE. ROOF. for our school. It's always a full send here in Claradise, and we're lucky to call it our home away from home.