Through the internships that I have been lucky enough to receive, I have met quite a few people in the industry that I am trying to break into. Sadly, I hear the same thing every time I tell someone that I am from CSUN. They all say, “CSUN? I haven’t known anyone who graduated from there.” I reply with the same answer each time, “Well, CSUN is what you make of it.” I say this to people, but not in a negative way. Cal State University, Northridge really is what you, the student, make of it.
I am a person who loves my school. I wear that “CSUN” logo on my shirt with pride. Unfortunately, most students do not seem to feel the same way. There are theories as to why this is. Many people think that it might be because we don’t have a football team or because a majority of students are commuters and this school is located in the middle of a suburban area. Those are good theories, and to some extent I think they are true. But I have a different idea, one that I have observed for the last four years. I think the reason school pride is so low is because of the students who come here.
Let’s face it. CSUN is not an Ivy League school. Tuition is relatively cheap and it’s not very difficult to get in. So just about anyone can attend. I myself was your typical B-minus student in high school. My SATs were a bit of a disgrace but I still made it into CSUN. I quickly learned, though, that college isn’t like high school. I’m not coming to school so that I can go to college. I’m coming to school so I can make it into the real world and start a career. And that takes a lot more effort than just graduating. I think a lot of people here forget that.
I have been around several CSUN departments where the majors are ones where people are trying to live out their dreams, such as art, CTVA and journalism. I myself am getting a degree in animation. What I am about to say can be said to be true for any major.
To me it seems a lot of people are not trying as hard as they should be to get ahead. It seems as if people think that just because you’re taking this class and are entering this major that you automatically will be given a job in that career. Like somehow just showing up to class and passing tests is enough to get you a job or something. As if when I graduate I will magically have a job at Disney.
It sounds silly, but people believe that. Before I entered college, I did too.
The reason we do believe that is because that is what we were constantly told by our parents, teachers and every other adult while growing up.
“Go to college and you will get a high-paying job.”
“The only way to be successful is to go to college.”
The part they forgot to tell you was that you have to work really hard and use college to your full advantage so that you will have a job when you graduate. People don’t realize that they have to meet their college halfway to achieve their goals.
I have friends from schools like Cal Arts and USC who are studying animation as well. At those schools, internships are practically thrown at them; people are always scouting for talent there, and they are given great opportunities. That doesn’t make them better than me because I don’t go there. It just means that I have to work a lot harder. CSUN has the same resources that any other school has. It’s just not as well known for them.
This is the time where you try to get internships and start getting your foot in the doors of places. The reason this is the best time to take advantage of this is because being in college gives you the benefit of acting naive when trying to enter your career of choice. I say that is a benefit because businesses and professionals see you as someone who wants to learn, so they want to help you. You don’t have to worry about a job until later, so this gives you the best opportunity to learn what it takes to obtain that job, while people in the industry see you as someone they can pass their knowledge on to rather than someone they have to compete with.
The key is to remember why you are in college. I came to CSUN from out of state. Sometimes I feel that gives me an advantage in school due to the fact that I’m constantly reminded of why I came here. I gave up seeing my family for more than just twice a year. I gave up cheap, affordable rent, and I gave up a simple life so that I could follow my dream of getting into animation. Most people just need to remember why they are here, what their goal is, and where they want to be. Just focusing on that will help you strive to work harder.
I will never regret coming here. CSUN has given me wonderful opportunities and helped to make my goals come true.
I made CSUN work for me. CSUN is a school with all the opportunities of any other university. It is located close to every form of business and industry imaginable. There is no excuse as to why you can’t get a jump start on your career.
So remember, the next time you think to yourself that CSUN sucks, think to yourself, am I just not working hard enough?
Hadley Hudson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.