College can be a stressful time with all the pressures of our social and academic obligations, there is no need for things that make life harder. At a big university like California State University, Long Beach, no one is going to hold your hand; your education is really what you make of it, so it is important to be on top of it. That being said, here are five tips regarding things to avoid while at California State University, Long Beach.
1.) Natural Disasters 101.
There are certain GE requirements that, no matter how many AP credits you’ve come into college with, you just can’t avoid the physical and biological sciences are among the required classes you don’t want to wait until your last semester to take. My senior year, I chose to take Natural Disasters 101 for my physical science; boy, did I regret it. The lab portion of the class involved several weekend field trips that tied up my Saturdays from 8am-6pm. This was more than a huge inconvenience as a senior in the dance department trying to finish in four years.
These field trips were mandatory and I ended up missing many departmental obligations because of them. Try to knock your physical science out of the way early on and check to make sure the class doesn’t have extra requirements that might prove to be problematic in your schedule.
2.) Taking classes you don’t care about.
Obviously, this is easier said than done when there are certain courses that are required for your degree. But if possible, sign up for classes that not only fit in your schedule, but also sound interesting to you. I took several classes because they worked in my schedule but I had absolutely no interest in the subject matter or sitting in a huge lecture hall with people who didn’t care to be there.
I wasted my own time by choosing classes for topical reasons, such as the days/times they were offered. My best experiences with GE courses were those classes that were challenging for me and that required my investment. The older I get, the more I realize it is much harder to be motivated when I don’t care.
3.) Missing deadlines.
This is a broad statement, but in general, there are a lot of dates and deadlines that are important to be aware of if you want to graduate in a timely fashion. Registration for classes and filing paperwork for graduation are two deadlines you don’t definitely don’t want to miss. For class registration, every student gets an individual date and time to go online to sign up for their classes the next semester and this is important. Logging on to register, even a few hours late, could mean missing out on a class you need to graduate.
Additionally, it is important to pay attention to the courses that are only offered once a year, rather than every semester. Not paying attention to these details could mean delaying graduation by a semester or a year, and I have unfortunately seen this happen all too often.
If you’re interested in CSULB, check out this story.
4.) Forgetting to purchase parking permits.
This sounds trivial, but is actually really important. California State University, Long Beach is a big campus, and unless you are living on campus, you pretty much need a car to get around. Because parking in the residential areas around campus is unwise and almost all the areas require residential parking permits, it is important to purchase a campus parking permit well in advance of each semester. It usually takes a few weeks to arrive by mail but without one, you are likely to pay ridiculous fees in parking tickets.
5.) Buying food on upper campus.
I get it with homework, early classes and all the stresses related to school, it is hard to make the time to pack food with you. But I highly recommend making this a habit once you move out of the dorms. Buying food at the fast food joints in the main area of upper campus is not only an unnecessary expense but very unhealthy, as the only options are places like Taco Bell, Panda Express, and Chipotle. Bringing snacks and a homemade lunch will help you save money and prevent you from starving when you are sitting through back to back classes.
Isabel Rosenstock graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dance/Performance. Based in San Francisco, she is working as a freelance dance artist and a figurative model for painters/sculptors. In addition to her work as a dancer/model, Isabel enjoys writing, traveling, and working with children.