Q&A: CSUN alumni and seniors share last semester advice

In preparation for her ceremony, graduation cords adorn the gown of Morgan Wilson at her home in Virginia Beach, Va., on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. (Kristen Zeis/The Virginian-Pilot/TNS)

As spring semester approaches the halfway mark, CSUN seniors and alumni look forward to graduation in May, providing advice to students in their last semester.

Briana Cosentini: CSUN alumni and English major with an emphasis in creative writing.

Q: Are you currently working in the field of your major? If so, where? If not, why is that?

A: I am not working in my field of choice just yet. As of right now I’m working a retail job, part time, and also drive for a Rideshare company. I haven’t figured out what I’ve really wanted to do with my life just yet. Part of me is leaning towards academic administration, but there is also a part of me that wants to work with a creative outlet.

Q: If you could go back and do one thing differently while you were at CSUN, what would it be?

A: I would have networked more, talked to more folks.

Q: What do you wish you would have done before you graduated, that you didn’t have the chance to do? Would you recommend this activity to other students?

A: Sleep, sleep and take care of your mental health. The way academia is now, it is not in favor of the student’s mental health. I lucked out in my last semester and had professors who would work with me.

Q: What advice would you give seniors in their last semester? How did you get through last semester?

A: Take care of yourself and just remember a degree is not worth your sanity or your safety.


Jenna Whelan: CSUN senior and communication studies major.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a senior?

A: For the most part, the professors at the upper division classes treat you less like a subordinate.

Q: Why do people tend to lose motivation in their last semester?

A: They don’t have something lined up after school. They don’t know where they’re going next.

Q: What’s one thing every senior should do before they leave CSUN?

A: You should take advantage of the resources here. Go check out the Valley Performing Arts Center while you’re here, I mean, why not?

Q: What’s one thing you’ll miss about CSUN when you graduate?

A: The sense of community on campus.

Daniel James Franklin- CSUN alumni and English major with a creative writing emphasis.

Q: Are you currently working in the field of your major? If so, where? If not, why is that?

A: I am currently working in my field as a technical writer at Medtronic. I also continue to write in my free time and submit my stories for publishing once a month.

Q: If you could go back and do one thing differently while you were at CSUN, what would it be?

A: I don’t believe I would do anything differently. I worked full-time and went to school full-time, so I didn’t have time for much else, but that made each moment to myself all the more valuable.

Q: What do you wish you would have done before you graduated that you didn’t have the chance to do? Would you recommend this activity to other students?

A: I wish I would have explored more internships. I participated in two, which is great, but my full-time job really limited my schedule.

Q: What advice would you give seniors in their last semester? How did you get through last semester?

A: Well, I would simply tell them that that’s life. This hectic schedule, the constant things-to-do, and the exhilarating feeling of completing it all and going onto the next goal is what life is about. It’s what makes everything so great. The work is the real joy. If there are any students who are suffering beyond belief, and simply cannot “bear it any longer,” I would encourage them by saying that the hardest part of their education is already over. The last semester is the easy part, when you take a step back and consider the grand scheme of things.

Q: What clubs or organizations were you involved in during your senior year? Do you feel they helped you make it through?

A: I was playing in a band outside of school, and we played shows on the weekends. It really helped take my mind off things and helped me focus on the fun part of my college experience rather than focusing on the busy schedule. I also had a rigorous gym schedule that I refused to give up despite all the work I had. Prioritizing is hard if you make it hard. If there are things that you really want to do, you’ll make time for them.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: Along with my full-time job, my full-time school schedule and my band, I also taught as a student instructor for the LRC. It was great interacting with a freshman as they entered college. It showed me how much I had changed since I first started school all those years back. One of the things that I stressed to my students was the idea that free time was never really “free” because, in fact, each person works hard for their free time. We slave over homework, spend time with family time, go [to the] gym, and do all the other stuff we have to do. Once we’re finished with everything, we have our “free” time. We have time that we have earned and that’s special, so it’s important we fill ourselves with something edifying, something that will build us up mentally, emotionally and spiritually. For everyone it’s different, but it’s important to sort yourself out and figure out what really brings you happiness in these formative years while in school.

If one would like to get involved or meet new people at CSUN, they could visit the Matador Involvement Center.