• Things I Wish I Knew

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Attending College of Staten Island


1.) Make friends with the students who run the college radio station.

Like all college stations, WSIA (88.9fm) is hit or miss: sometimes the tunes are exactly what you want to hear, and sometimes it’s one bad metal song from the early 2000’s after the next. But here’s what you can count on: WSIA won’t be playing what’s on the corporate stations, and they always give out free tickets to see awesome bands perform live at famous Manhattan and Brooklyn venues. If you’re friendly with the radio hosts, chances are they’ll let you know when tickets are being given out. Since the College of Staten Island is a commuter school, most students don’t get involved in extracurricular activities. Many aren’t even aware of the radio station, and certainly most don’t take advantage of the opportunity to snag free concert tickets. Some time during my four years on campus I became friends with some of the students working at WSIA, who informed me about the ticket giveaways. One of the best shows I ever attended was free from WSIA: it was Air (a French band) at Terminal 5 in Manhattan.

2.) Parking sucks.

I didn’t know it before I started classes, but I sure knew it afterwards: CSI is famous for its terrible parking situation. It is probably the most frustrating part of the college experience for two reasons. First, a parking decal costs $109/year, yet there are never any parking spaces available near the building you’re headed to. Consider yourself lucky if you’re going to the N buildings, you might just snag a decent spot. However, if your class is in one of the S buildings, bring comfortable walking shoes; you’re in for a trek. Secondly, at around 6pm most weekdays, the campus road comes to a dead stop due to traffic. This means, if you have a class beginning at 6-6:30pm, you’ll have to leave your apartment incredibly early to get there on time. Not to mention all the gas wasted on sitting in traffic and dealing with the emotional anxiety that comes with it. The good side of all this? There is a shuttle bus for those too tired to walk back to their cars. Hey, we’ve all been there…

3.) Artsy folks attend here, too!

It’s no secret that many Staten Islanders (dare I say most?) look like they just wrapped up filming MTV’s Jersey Shore. Since most people who attend the College of Staten Island are from the borough, the campus tends to look like that too. You know what I’m talking about men with gelled hair and perfectly shaped eyebrows, women slathered in self tanner and decked out in what can only be described as one thousand dollars worth of jewelry. This can be off putting to New Yorkers who are looking to find a different type of crowd. Well, here’s a little secret plenty of artsy folks attend CSI. Hang out around 1P (the Center for the Arts) and you’re sure to find musicians playing guitars, activists speaking out about important issues, and of course the theater kids, who are always putting on great plays. I met some of my coolest friends at CSI, despite it being admittedly overpopulated by not so cool students (the school has an acceptance rate of 90%, after all.) My advice to prospective students with love for the arts? Be yourself, be open-minded, and spend your free time at the Center for the Arts you will make friendships that last a lifetime.

If you’re interested in attending CSI, check out our article on 5 Things to Avoid at the College of Staten Island.

4.) This isn’t a party school.

Sure, I’ve indulged in a little on-campus drinking, and I’ve skipped class in favor of sitting outside the cafeteria on a beach chair, chain smoking with my friends next to a statue of a dolphin with a monocle. But, for the most part, no partying goes on at the CSI campus. This is mainly a commuter school (dorms are currently being built), so there is not much in terms of campus life. Instead, house parties are thrown off campus grounds, where students can get a taste of the belligerently drunk, strangely satisfying, can’t get up for work tomorrow “college experience.” If you’re looking to attend one of these, simply become friendly with some of your classmates, and tell them you’re looking to party. We at CSI might not be the most grade conscious, but we do know how to drink off-campus.

5.) Com named the College of Staten Island one of “Money’s Best Colleges”.

Many people who live on Staten Island are under the impression that this is a community college. However, CSI is part of the CUNY system and is measured by the same standards as all other CUNY schools, including Hunter College, Baruch College, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. While attending, I learned under the supervision of enthusiastic professors with degrees, many of them doctoral, from such top rated schools as New York University and Columbia University. I received an excellent education, as I learned skills that have already helped further my career. The best part? It cost me just $3,000 per semester.

Lisa Lee writes poetry and prose for fun. She attended the College of Staten Island and graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. She currently lives with her boyfriend in NJ, but her heart belongs to NYC.

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