There is a cliché phrase that “hindsight is always 20/20,” meaning that when you look back on things you always see them differently and are wiser than you were before. Some helpful tips I would give to myself and anyone as a freshman in college would be the following:
- Make friends—it will ease your transition and make you more confident
- Live on campus—it’s a good way to make friends and become acclimated to the campus
- Study abroad—it’s an excellent experience to travel and study in a different country
- Seek help early—don’t wait until you’re in your 3rd year to go see an academic advisor
- Choose your schedule wisely and don’t be afraid to change your major; the average person changes careers 3 to 4 times, so feel free to explore early on in college!
Being a Communications Studies major is tough. Not in the sense that the workload is a lot or the classes are hard, but dealing with snarky remarks from my peers is something that I have come to deal with almost on a daily basis. Many people see communications as a “useless” degree and one that is chosen by people who do not know what to do with their lives. People are always asking me questions like “What are you going to do with a degree in Communications?” I understand why they ask this because communications is a very broad major; you have so many different career tracks that you can choose when you graduate. However, I am here to make the argument that it is because communications is very general that makes it one of the best degrees you can have.
I have friends in this major who want to be radio hosts, lawyers, real estate agents, and even race car drivers. Personally, I am aiming to be a concert producer/promoter. I love spotting talent in musicians and would love the opportunity to work for a record label and help with setting up events. So for those out there who don’t exactly know what career they want, I say declare a Communication Studies major. Not only is it full of classes that are actually applicable to everyday life (such as handling relationships and public speaking), you will be among one of the most diverse group of students on campus.
Freshman year is a time of discovery and adjustment. It’s your first year in college and you’re trying to figure out the college life. There is a lot of opportunity available that every student should explore. When I was a freshman I didn’t take advantage of everything that I could to get involved. Not only that, but my academic habits could have been stronger. If I could go back and give advice to my freshman self, I would tell myself to seize every opportunity and work hard in earning the best GPA possible. You should do well every year of your college career and get involved from the start—it truly matters once you graduate!
If you were to ask any student in college why they decided to pursue their degree, most of them would tell you “to get a good job/career.” That being said, it is important for students to choose a major that is aligned with their career aspirations. For example, if you want to become a lawyer you could major in political science or even English. If you want to work in the medical field to become a doctor or a nurse, you could major in Biology, nursing or some other science/health care major.
Now, for students who are unsure what career direction they are headed in, you can always major in broader area of study that can be applied to many jobs/careers (for example sociology, psychology, or communications). Whatever your career goals are, always make sure your college(s) of interest have the majors you want. Anyone who is undecided about it all can be undeclared and take different classes to explore what major they want to pursue. The opportunities are endless!
My name is Xiomara Maldonado, I’m 22 years old and I attend Cal State LA, “Home of the Golden Eagles”. I graduated from Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School in 2008 and I am currently pursuing my Bachelors of Science in Nursing at CSULA. I work on campus as the student coordinator for the Orientation and Campus Tour program to help promote higher education and campus resources. Before college, I always knew I wanted to be a healthcare professional, but with the help of career counselors and my family, I was able to narrow my options and decided that Nursing was the career for me. My experience in the Nursing program at CSULA has confirmed that I made the right decision. I’ve realized that nurses aren’t just essential, but a necessary component to a patient’s recovery process. Although doctors save lives, nurses keep you alive and I know I can be that professional with therapeutic communication skills, knowledge and patience. From patient education to wound care, I have enjoyed the journey of helping patient’s recuperate physically and emotionally and there’s no better feeling than hearing a sincere “thank you” from patients when they’re ready to go home. I want to be the best nurse I can be and I feel this program is preparing me to get there. I’ve learned how to prioritize, think critically and how to be culturally competent. I love my major and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys helping others. It is a difficult major to achieve, but it isn’t impossible and it is definitely worth it. Whether it’s nursing or another major, make your passion a profession and enjoy your career.
You would think that the older you get and reach higher grade levels, the more you would know. Like in high school, you feel at the bottom of the food chain your freshman year but once you get to senior year, you are on top of the world and you feel like you know it all. It is moments like these that I am about to share with you to remind you to stay grounded and learn to laugh away the embarrassment of situations.
After finishing three years at CSU Channel Islands I was entering into my senior year. I knew so much about my university since I was really involved and also worked on campus. It was the first day of class and it didn’t start until 12PM so I got to sleep in. Walking to my class well rested, I checked the sheets they posted during the first couple weeks of school to make sure I had the correct class number to go with my class title. As I get to class I greet the professor and start having a friendly conversation since I knew her and had a couple classes with her before. I sat in the very front row of a long skinny class room and feel right at home talking to friends sitting nearby. As we start class and she takes role, she gets to the end and notices that my name is not on her role sheet. I am surprised since I know I was in a class called Cultural Conversations. A girl sitting nearby let me borrow her laptop and when I logged in to see my schedule my heart stopped… I was enrolled in a Cultural Conversations class, but it was at an earlier time and with a completely different teacher. As the whole class listened, I explained that I had made a mistake and was in the wrong class and had to take the long walk out of the classroom. The fact that everyone was staring seemed to make the walk even longer. I was embarrassed but quickly laughed it off becuase I had walked away learning a lesson that was far more valuable. It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing something, you are always learning new things. Next time I will pay closer attention to my schedule. Keep up with a sense of humor and remember… it isn’t the end of the world when you make a mistake.
Choosing your major is honestly one of the most difficult decisions you will make in your lifetime, and you must know that you are never alone. When I first started college I had no idea what I was going to do but I felt like everyone else had their goals pretty set to go. Even though I was drawn towards Psychology, I just majored in Biology so I could go to into Neuropharmacology. I did enjoy learning about drugs and the brain and plus my parents really wanted me to be a doctor but then my third year I realized I was doing this because of the money and not because it was my passion. I immediately changed my major to Psychology because it was that one-degree that I absolutely loved. Yes, I won’t make as much money as my degree before and of course my parents were disappointed at first but at the end it was my decision. I have learned through life that you should do what you love and love what you do. That is the only way you will internally be happy and successful. I still don’t know 100% what I will do in my career but what I do know is I will be graduating with some valuable knowledge and hope to utilize it in some way in the future. My advice to students is just do what you love.
One of the biggest things that I noticed going from high school to college, is that in college, people are more open and accepting. I don’t know whether it is because the campus is larger or just that by the time we are in college, we stop caring about what others think of us. Either way, college is really a time where you can define who you are and not be afraid to.
I remember during my freshman year, there was a guy who always cracked long whips in front of the dorms. He intrigued my friends and me and eventually we became friends with him. He even taught my friends how to swallow fire. If you think about it, this isn’t seen to be something “cool” by high school standards. High school would point and laugh at this guy and at us for even thinking that what he was doing was cool. But that’s the cool thing about college; “cool” is no longer defined.
So be open to new experiences! Join that salsa club you’ve wanted to join, participate in open mic nights and show off your voice, learn how to juggle in the middle of the lawn, because in college, you don’t have to act, look, or be a certain way in order to be accepted. Just be you.
Unfortunately we have come into a new generation where when we think of college we immediately think of six-figure loans. As the tuition is rising the decision of whether college is worth it gets more difficult. Of course many students already have a college savings account from their parents, but some like myself do not. Affording college was not always a breeze for me and the same goes for other students. We all struggle in our own way. The best thing to do is to apply for financial aid, even if you think you won’t qualify. They offer loans to some students or work study jobs on campus. One benefit that I received was the Educational Opportunity Program, where if you are a first generation student with a low income then you can qualify for about $1300 per year and guidance from counselors. High school students can also apply for as many scholarships to get more aid. Once you start college you can always find jobs on campus to pay for your expenses if you continue to struggle. The important thing is that you are not alone and almost all students struggle with the same issue.
It is the first day of college, you’re ready for school, you just arrived on campus, but you realize you’re lost and don’t see any familiar faces. You don’t know whether to interrupt the professor talking on the phone or to walk up to the group of friends sitting together who will probably all look at you as you ask for directions. You are shy and can’t build the courage to ask so you keep walking and end up being 20 minutes late to your first class after a janitor helped you find your building. THIS is a problem and it is also how a freshman tends to stand out on campus. As a new adult, confidence is essential. You are in charge of your life, but sometimes we are in a situation where we rather not ask questions to avoid looking stupid. From personal experience, I believe, there are 3 easy ways to achieve confidence. It may take time, but it is easier than you think.
First, make sure you did everything possible to find the solution to your problem before asking for help. You are your first resource so look and listen attentively at all times and learn from other people’s mistakes. You become that much more knowledgeable when you are able to observe and give it a try on your own.
Second, mentally prepare yourself for negativity. Unfortunately, you meet people who can be rude or don’t have good social skills so you have to be able respond appropriately without making things worse. As angry or insulted as you may be, don’t be rude back, be assertive. If you know your comment or question was appropriate then hold your head up high and expect nothing, but an appropriate answer in return.
Lastly, treat others how you will like to be treated. If you respect others, others will respect you. Simple as that, but also realize, that while on campus, people are constantly stressing out for many reasons so try to keep an open mind and don’t take anything personally, especially from strangers.
College life is not easy, but with a positive attitude and the proper advice from peers, you’ll do great!