I swear, I never thought the time would come, but I am finally graduating from CSUN. Yes, my days as a student have finally come to an end. It seems so strange that I will suddenly no longer have to write papers and do research. Not that I’m complaining.
Overall, I am glad that I came here. I had done my undergraduate degree at a UC, so I initially had a mistaken impression, which was obtained through osmosis while at UC Irvine, that CSU schools are below par. It did not cross my mind to apply for an M.A. program at a CSU when I graduated from UCI. Reality and life’s circumstances however, brought me here.
This turned out to be a good thing. My professors were just as good as any at UCI, if not better in some ways. The education I received here was extremely appropriate for what my goals turned out to be, namely starting a career in journalism. Besides the frustration of the fact that I was precluded from learning Arabic, the language best associated with my field of study, by CSUN’s dearth of foreign languages offered, my education was definitely adequate.
However, just like anywhere else, I do feel there is room for improvement here at CSUN. I feel that the university would do well to shift its priorities, so that the quality of education is on the top of the list. All the other things that seem to be the focus of the administration here are completely marginal if students aren’t getting an education they can be proud of.
It is true that the quality of education is directly porportional to the amount of effort a student puts into it, to a large degree. While educational institutions are responsible for providing facilities, resources, materials and faculty, you cannot teach an unwilling mind. I know, for instance, when I learned most here. It was when I was most interested in the subject matter and had individual time with my professors to discuss and digest it. The more time I dedicated to my studies, the more I learned.
While the student’s contribution is essential, the university has to meet him or her half way. For example, CSUN needs to invest in improving its foreign language offerings. It is a shame that Pasadena City College outruns a four-year university in the variety of languages offered, but it does, by leaps and bounds. I was very disappointed by the fact that I only had about five languages to choose from. I felt like I was in junior high.
The university also needs to pay its faculty better. It is very disheartening to see scholars who have invested 10 or more years in their education being paid the wages they are, and having to commute here because they can’t afford to live nearby
The priorities of any institution can be discerned by where the money goes. Although CSUN serves its purpose competently, it can improve a great deal by investing in the right places, that is, in courses and professors.
Bethania Palma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.