You don't actually need a loom. They make it easier to transport your piece, but they tend to be an expensive item if you wind up not enjoying it. You can tie it to your belt at one end and a table leg at the other end, but this is a hassle if you need to get up. Another alternative is Industrial clamps. 3" ones seem to work well on most tables, and if no table is available you can clamp two onto a board. One you get into it, there are all kinds of ways to make a loom if you want one.
*note I have not included a picture, but I have seen an empty card board box with the top flaps folded into the box used as a loom. Your working space is the open part of the box.
Wrap your string around a piece of cardboard or an empty toilet paper tube, and use a ruler as a beater. I prefer the wooden ones with the metal edge. Any ruler will work, but the ones with beveled edges work best.
Probably the easiest way to make cards is to use a deck of playing cards. Use a sideways card to mark a square. Cut off the excess. Once I have a square card, I use it to mark the rest of the deck.
Use the x as your marker to punch a hole with a hole punch in each corner. Once you have one with four holes punched, I use it as a master to punch other cards. You can use the hole punch through the holes, or trace the holes onto the unpunched cards.
I recommend starting with cotton crotchet thread because it is not at all sticky. Try to avoid the one with the metallic wrap as this will probably get mangled as it passes through the cards. Sometimes thrift stores have bags with yarn, etc... Otherwise you can usually find these pretty cheap. You need two balls each of two colors in order to speed warp. If you want to only buy one ball, wrap about half of it onto an empty toilet paper tube, so you have two spools. Obviously, I recommend doing this before class starts. :)