I’ve been at CSUN longer than I like to admit. I’m a classic six-year senior who claims every reason for my situation. I took a year off. I wasted a semester. I changed my major and I got mislead by an advisor. Regardless, here I am and I’ve got only twelve weeks left until I earn that degree and never have to set foot on this campus again.
I’ve spent my years here like many of you have: an hour spent cruising the parking lot looking for a spot, running to class and straight back to the car to head to work or home. I waved off those people at booths on campus or people with fliers trying to get my attention to participate in something. I honestly didn’t care, and I didn’t want to be here. I would crinkle my nose or moan “Cal State Northridge” whenever someone would ask where I went to school. I was here as a last resort and only to earn that important piece of paper.
Then the journalism department threw a curve ball. I found out part of the curriculum for seniors was a mandatory class participating in one of the forms of media on campus. Our choices are writing for the KCSN radio station, publishing Scene magazine, doing a public relations class or writing for the Daily Sundial. My advisor signed me up for the Sundial. I wanted to die. Not only did I not want to write for a newspaper, but I didn’t care about what was happening on campus either. In the last couple of weeks, my pride evolved because of three separate events.
First, I started covering the Associated Student meetings. I witnessed numerous students, some I recognized from previous classes, willing to give support for their organization and talk about the great events and services they provide to CSUN students.
I had no idea CSUN’s American Indian Student Association (AISA) has hosted a conference for the last 24 years, and it’s the only one in the Valley. I didn’t even know we had an American Indian Student Association. At these meetings I saw our elected student government leaders actually deliberate on student issues, not just sign off on items and pass it down the line. All of these students had a goal and passion for what they were doing or talking about, something I hadn’t possessed in six years.
I also attended a conference in San Diego to cover a student government organization with representatives from the 23 CSU campuses. CSUN senators attended and voiced their support for student issues and fairness throughout the weekend. They didn’t come for a weekend meet-and-greet. They came ready to do work. Not only was this impressive and made me feel guilty for my non-participation, but the other CSU student’s reaction to my moan of “I’m from Northridge” was not the usual head nod, but instead,”Oh wow, really?”
The locals were encouraging too. On my first evening while having dinner and chatting with a nearby couple, the gentleman said, “Oh, Northridge is a really good school. Good for you.” Now my dad has said this to me for years, but really? Like the Grinch, slowly my heart warmed. The next and last day of the conference I shook hands firmly and smiled confidently when I introduced myself and the campus I was reporting for.
As if by chance, first thing Monday morning in my newspaper class our professor showed a video on the history of CSUN. The activism of students and history that is spread across this campus is hardly ever introduced or so few of us care to take the time and do something.
Entering my final semester as a Matador, I’ll be happy to leave, but there’ll be a tinge of remorse. I wasted six years not getting involved and not appreciating our diverse student activism. I’m proof that it’s never too late to become involved or be proud of our school.
I don’t know if I’ll frame my license plate claiming my alumni status or even buy a sweatshirt, but for certain I’ll no longer crinkle my nose at my soon to be alma mater known as CSUN.