Demystifying CSUN basics

CSUN senior and business major, Rubin Lopez, utilizing space available in the Oviatt Library. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

The only location that sells a fresh cold brew is the Sierra Center’s Starbucks. Also, standing in the textbook pick-up line will save students an hour apart from buying in-store, so make sure to order books online. Which can be found cheaper on Chegg.com – sometimes – and where you can compare prices across multiple mediums.

These are just some of the tips to helping students get through a semester at CSUN, especially if you’re a freshman.

What else? Read the following to learn more daily Matador survival.

1. Basic tools for survival:

A campus map is the most accurate guide to navigating through school. They are either found online or on school agendas given out during orientation.

A U-Pass is recommended for those that commute using Metro buses. For a fee of $95, students can use this pass in place of a Metro tap card for a semester. These can be purchased through the school portal or the Associated Students Ticket Office, located in the University Student Union. A first purchase requires a survey completion, but every renewal thereafter only requires the fee.

Lastly, as the campus is in the Valley, high heat temperatures often require students to stay hydrated so be sure to bring your own bottle to filled at these refillable locations.

2. Hidden resources:

During the week, a free train shuttle takes students from the CSUN Transit Station to the Northridge Metrolink stations at fixed times. Metrolink ticket prices vary per location, so calculate the prices in comparison to a U-Pass or driving.

“If you’re commuting for an 8:00 a.m. [class], try to leave an hour ahead. Traffic around 7:00 and 8:00 is literally the worst,” said third-year CSUN student Dezarae McNeely.

CSUN Transit Center
The waiting area for the 744 Metro line located on campus. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

Another way to save time studying is by reserving study rooms online through the CSUN Oviatt library website. Individual or group rooms can be reserved for up to one hour per person based on the slots available.

Oviatt Library Computers
Students using the computers located in the Oviatt Library. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

Other free or discounted resources include:

3. Destinations:

The best dessert spots near campus include Soft Cream, Somi Somi or Waffle Jack in the Northridge Mall, said fourth-year CSUN student Gillian Vista. Other spots include Dog Haus, Fresh Potato Factory and Pizza Rev – a mix of local and chain spots that have options for $10 or less.

The Marketplace
One of three entrances to The Marketplace, located at the Sierra Center on campus. Photo credit: Trevor Sena

4. Balance:

Students interviewed around campus had mixed opinions regarding sleep versus homework, and food versus money. Out of a pool of 20, 80 percent voted for sleep and food, while the remaining 20 percent chose the latter.

  • “Sleep. Because a well-rested mind will score better on a test, and those are worth more than homework,” said recent graduate Alexander Gonzalez.
  • “Food. But then money buys food. Still food, though!” said Vista.
  • “Never leave anything for the last minute. Get it done and out of the way as quickly as possible,” said Gonzalez. “Procrastination breeds complacency.”
  • “Sometimes you will have to cut fun activities to make sure everything gets done,” said McNeely. “Find friends who are understanding and willing to work with your schedule.”

Inevitably, it’s about curating and following one’s own schedule, built up over time through trial and error. The more exploring is done, the less mysterious CSUN gets.

As advised by recent graduate Julie Vega, “Sleep, eat well, and relax. You’re there to learn, and if you make a mistake, good. You grow by failure.”