My name is Francisco, and I am currently a senior at CSU East Bay. I am originally from Southern California, but I have been living in the Bay Area since my freshmen year of college. My first two here, all I did was go to school, go to work, and then go home. Honestly, it wasn’t the best idea to do that. Finally, my third year, I decided to get involved at school. I am now a part of a national fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, the University Orientation Team, the Freshman Year Experience program. I’m also a student ambassador and now I am Homecoming King! I never knew how much more fun school and living on my own could be.
In other words, whatever you do, definitely get involved no matter what school you go to; it will change your life. I know it changed mine!
Coming from the Inland Empire in Southern California, where my high school was close to 90% Hispanic, I experienced total culture shock when I first came to CSU East Bay. I have to say that the incredible diversity that I have experienced at CSU East Bay has been my favorite component of the university. College is all about diverse points of view and new experiences; East Bay offers the opportunity to truly experience the meaning of “cultural melting pot.” There are people of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds here. I have made friends from Korea, Spain, Panama, New York, and Brazil to name a few. When I first came here I didn’t know what lumpia was, but now I even know how to make my own! It might sound clichéd to think that East Bay is like the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland, but when you come here you really see that it really is small and there isn’t much dividing us from one another except some cultural misconceptions. The moral of the story is, if you come here, get ready to learn how to make lumpia…just kidding! Coming here will be an experience that you will never forget!
My living situation outside the university’s campus is a challenge for me. Adapting to a new community like Hayward is very difficult because I have to rely on public transportation. During my second year at CSU East Bay, I moved to a nearby city named Union City to save money because living on campus is very expensive. Originally, I wanted to live in a house with four other roommates. However, I dismissed the realities of living in the suburbs. Buses take 45 min – 1 hour to get to your destination. There are time schedules, but some buses are not very accurate. During the cold dark misty mornings, I would run to the bus stop at 6:35 am afraid of missing the bus that would take us to the South Hayward Bart Station because I had an 8 am class to attend. Sometimes, I would even ride my bike to the SH Bart Station to avoid waiting for the bus, but by the time I got to the Bart Station I would be too exhausted from riding my bike on some small hills. After this experience, commuting from one city to another made me realize how important it is to plan out goals. I thought moving away from campus would save me some money; yet, I ended up spending more money on transportation and other expenses such as bills etc. I do not regret moving off campus because I still live off campus, but now I am in my third year living in a beautiful and tranquil apartment located 5mins walking distance away from my university. Although, I live in a comfortable space now, I had to experience several difficulties to appreciate the convenience of living off campus.