Freshmen and Sophomores
Begin to imagine what you'd like to do after graduation. It doesn't have to be specific and you don't have to stick to it, but do imagine what might be most exciting to do after graduation. Be creative. Dream big.
Look through the fellowships list -- most of them are for seniors, but that doesn't matter. Begin to think about which of these might be good to aspire towards. The Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes are most competitive and allow you to go to the UK for graduate study. The Fulbright is very prestigious and allows you to travel, study, and/or teach abroad after grad. There are many others as well.
Read the profiles of the people who win these fellowships. Don't let them intimidate you. Let them inspire you!
Do not let yourself think that the ONLY thing you can do while being a student is take official courses. You should begin thinking of yourself as a professional now. Think about the career you'd like to pursue and let your extra-curricular activities, your jobs, and your study abroad reflect those interests. Volunteer for a non-profit. Tutor students at Loyola or in the city. Intern with a publishing company. Study a language you've never heard of. Go to a country that will require you to push your boundaries and volunteer while you're there. Work for a lawyer. Assist your professors in their research projects. All of these things will help you to know if you've made the right career choice. They will give you valuable experience in your chosen professional field. And they will also make you a promising candidate for the major awards.
Talk to your professor about what experiences you should pursue if you want to have a career in that field. Ask them what they wish they had had the opportunity (or the foresight) to do when they were in college.
Take courses at Tulane that help you to specialize in your field or to pursue unique research opportunities. They have lots of money and lots of resources. Your tuition buys you permission to exploit those resources as well. Do it!