There are some things they don’t tell you at student orientation on your first day of college. I’m glad I finally picked up on these in the end, but knowing them from the beginning would have been better. From parking spots to cool class selections, California State University, Long Beach is full of surprises.
1.) Library Request System.
I didn’t realize how cool our library was until I started using it for my upper level classes. Not only was it stocked full with helpful resources, I could request books and movies from any California State school. I basically had access to over 20 libraries at any given time. This saved me so much money! It was a relatively quick system, too. Most items came within the same week I asked for them. Since one of my majors required me to watch little-known foreign films, this was a vital resource.
2.) Extra Units Permission.
It’s not suggested to up your unit load each semester, but secretly you can get permission from your department heads anyway. I found out this trick at the end of my third year. Since I was a double major, taking extra units helped me finish both degrees in only five years. A typical full time student can take between 12 to 18 units, anything above 18 isn’t allowed without special clearance. I found that my Film and Electronics classes were all at night, while my Communication Studies classes were during the day. I had huge gaps to do homework between classes, so I knew I could take on a few extras and still complete the assignments. After a few semesters of extra units, each department knew me by name and signed off on my extra classes with no questions.!
3.) Parking and Campus Size.
There are so many parking lots and structures, it’s easy to forget where you parked if you’ve been on campus long. After forgetting where I parked too many times, I started parking in the same aisle every day. Don’t try to save money by skipping on a parking pass and parking off campus ,or you’ll end up walking for a good 20 to 30 minutes to get to class. The surrounding neighborhoods have very strict parking rules, likely to dissuade students from clogging up their streets.
CSULB campus is huge, and when I had to go cross-campus to make it to back to back classes it was a sprint. I asked my professors if they would allow me to be a few minutes late to class, and they were very understanding. Also, I made sure to wear comfortable shoes on those days so I could easily speed-walk across campus.
If you’re interested in California State University, Long beach, check out our article on Top 5 Ways to Have Fun on the Weekend at CSULB.
4.) Unique Class Experiences.
Focusing on my majors sometimes burned me out, as it would anyone. So I looked into what CSULB offered for fun, activity based classes, and was surprised to see how much of a selection they had. I ended up taking surfing classes, different styles of dance classes, and student government courses, all of which got me out of my comfort zones. I appreciated how I could take these classes without needing any prerequisites. I made some cool new friends that I might not have befriended had I not branched out.
5.) Housing Life.
I lived in both the dorms and off campus, and I enjoyed the latter much more. While the dorms were a great, “traditional” college experience, they just weren’t for me. They filled up quickly, were very small, and were expensive. I preferred living about a mile away, since I could still catch the student shuttle to classes, but I got to make my own meals and didn’t have to share a room.
Learning these things along the way was fun, but I definitely could have saved myself some money and time had I known about them sooner.
Hannah Driscoll is a marketing manager by day and a freelance writer at night. She achieved two degrees from California State University, Long Beach, one in Rhetorical Studies and one in Screenwriting. She is a cinephile and reading addict.