I can clearly remember my first day at CSUN. Stuck in some of the worst North 405 morning traffic I had ever seen, I arrived at my first class about 20 minutes late in Fall 2002.
Way to go, Sam. Way to go.
I remember how lost I felt in what I thought at the time was such a monstrously large campus.
I recall the late nights/mornings – as many students have also experienced – when I was forced to stop doing work because my body could no longer function.
As graduation approaches, another chapter in my life will close.
As much as I remember the negative or awkward experiences of college life, I also remember the moments that have made me very grateful for receiving an education at CSUN.
These are experiences I encourage everyone to have.
Take advantage of the awesome racial and cultural diversity at this university. While at CSUN, whether it was when I lived in the dorms or when I was in class, I met a variety of interesting and great people. I got to know Thai, Japanese, African, Dutch, white, black and Latino students, just to name a few. Getting to know these people gave me something I believe everyone should have: Exposure to different cultures and world perspectives. This exposure benefited me by expanding the way I thought about so many issues. It made me more knowledgeable, and I loved it. So embrace diversity.
I know it sounds obvious, but it is worth a mention. As a freshman, I sometimes made the mistake of just going to class, but not really learning. Don’t do that. Learn. Challenge the traditional values and beliefs you have. Continue to develop your critical thinking skills. It is one of the best things a student can do, as you end up with more understanding, more knowledge.
Don’t be that student who comes to CSUN but goes home, even though you had some time to spend on campus.
Try not to keep to yourself. Get to know people.
Meeting people is one of the best experiences I had at this university. I almost felt as though I was part of a community as I became familiar with many people on campus. The quality is essentially indescribable. It feels great when you develop a relationship with professors. It feels good to know the store clerks at The Edge in the Matador Bookstore complex. And it’s wonderful meeting students, some of whom can become longtime friends.
Parties, parties, parties. Big Show concerts. CSUN plays. Nail-biting basketball and soccer games. The list goes on. Although you have an obligation to get an education, it is vitally important that you have fun.
If I did not go to these events, I would have regretted not enjoying the university experience. Do not forget to have fun. It is awesome.
Now it is off to the “real world,” as so many people say. Before I came to CSUN, I didn’t even fathom how much I would enjoy being here. But I have definitely enjoyed my stay. And for that, I am grateful.
Sam Richard can be reached at email@example.com.