California State University-Los Angeles Top Questions

What should every freshman at California State University-Los Angeles know before they start?


My advice to my high school senior self is do not go to college directly after high school. Go into the military instead and let them pay for your school. I say this because I entered college and I'm about to finish my first year and probably won't be able to return next year. My parents cosigned a loan for my first year and I filled out my FAFSA and got the Stafford loan which wasn't enough to cover tuition. For my sophomore year my parents will not cosign a loan and I received the Stafford loan again and right now I have $5,500 for school. Even if I go to a different school now and have the military pay for my schooling, my credits probably won't transfer because my school has different requirements from other states. Entering the military you will go to school where you are stationed or take online classes. The school I go to now doesn't have my degree fully online. So basically I wasted a year of college and about $30,000 because it will probably have to be repeated somewhere else.


If I could talk to my high school senior self, I would probably start off by slapping myself in the face for taking senior year easy instead of taking classes to help me get ahead in college. Big mistake slacking off senior year. I would tell myself that my first two years of college will be awful and boring, the classes I'll be taking will be with 70 students or more, that the work won't be challenging and I'd have to work hard at staying focused. I'd tell myself how much it hurt seeing the look of disappointment in mom's eyes when I told her I failed out of college the first time time around for not attending classes. I'd tell myself how hard it was going to be trying to make ends meet after being thrown out of the house. But I'd also tell myself to take solace that I could always go back to school and try again. That while nobody can go back and make a new beginning, anybody can start now and make a new ending.


I would have said: You need to believe in yourself and in your abilities. Don't let others get you down and don't believe the negative things said to you. You ARE smart and BEAUTIFUL, in fact, you are much smarter than you and others give you credit for. If you believe in yourself you will make it happen. You are also a much stronger person than you realize. Life will throw some low blows, but you will not only overcome, you will thrive and become the person you always wanted to be. You are AWESOME!


I would ask myself to really think about what it means to be a nurse. Do I really want to work long hours, stick needles into people? Or do I want to inform people about better choices for their health and help them prevent illnesses? I would have gone straight into the Nutritional Science program. I would have joined the Student Dietetic Association much sooner. I have met many great people, but I would inform myself that those people, although they are older, are actually very willing to help me. The people I met my first year will actually be very good friends in the future and could help me if I ever needed advice in opeining my own consultation office. The people are friendly, helpful, and I would tell myself the importance of networking and time management. I would also tell myself to move out of housing and rent an apartment. It is much cheaper and I could save that money for summer classes. Most of all I would tell myself tha nothing is impossible and to never give, but most of all to enjoy myself and to do what I love and keep helping people.


First I would tell myself. "stop procrastinating and doing your work in the middle of night!" Second i would tell myself that I dont need to be so stressed out about college but that I need to work and give it my best. Lastly I would tell myself to talk to more people because in college you will need contacts in class.


I chose to go to Community College, for two reasons; to save money, and my grades were not up to par when compared to other students at my school. I was glad with how my time went at community college and I would only tell myself to work as hard as I can so that I can instill that work ethic that I may have not fully grasped before I transferred to a university. The one thing that I wish that I had known would shape my future, was my love for teaching. I would have told my high school self to pursue teaching directly after receiving my Bachelor's degree. If I had known that I had a true love for teaching, I would have pursused it instantly. I do not regret my time working before going back to school because my work with children are what led me to my love for teaching, but I always wondered what could have been possible if I had pursued my teaching credentials when I was a couple years younger. I am now pursuing that same degree, so I have no regrets, but those thoughts still linger at times.


If i could back and talk to my senior self in high school I would let myself know to get more involved and take adavantage of the opportunities given in public schools. It is true what they say, "you dont know what you have untill it is gone". In high school, everything was free, from books to classes to lunch . As we all know, none of that exist in colleges. We have to pay for everything we want and need. Towards the end of high school, being a senior to meant to me and others as well that there was no need to be in class. We would show up to school and just walk around campus while there were still lectures being taught in classrooms. Since we weren't paying for it, well, it didn't really matter to us. However, no that it is the complete opposite we have to show up to class whether we want to or not. We are the ones paying for that seat in class and education being given. If we don't show up, then it is as if we are throwing all that money down the drain.


If I could go back two years ago, I'm not sure my high school self would like what I would say. I learned many life lessons in my year and a half in college. During high school I was a kind of laid back person who just took things as they came. I tried this technique in college, though I consider myself a good student, I know I did not reach my potential in my first year. I was extremely disappointed in myself. If I could tell my high school self anything, it's that some decisions can't be made just when they come along. I would say that I need to start looking at the big picture and take life more seriously, because this is the most important time in your life, and you will never be able to get it back.


If I were given the chance, I would tell myself to remember the little things teachers had taught me. For instance, the times table chart or in my life skills class when the teacher would talk about how to act during a interview. I never really realized college was a step closer to becoming an adult. I would tell myself to focus on everything and anything the teachers had to say. I was very naive because I assumed everything could be done for me in college like in high school. In high school you do not choose the teacher you want nor the time you wanted to have a certain class not even the food to eat. I had felt very comfortable with that lifestyle and I wish I would have prepared myself more by becoming more independent. I would tell myself to stay motivated because in high school i did not care so much but now looking back at it, i could have had a great GPA and amazing SAT scores. Even though many told me to try my best I wish I could have told myself, you can do your best.


If I could go back in time I would still opt to attend this college. I think one of my only complaints for this school is that orientation for incoming freshmen is very poor. I didn't understand the difference between part-time and full-time status. I only registered part-time and as a consequence my financial aid eligibility was greatly affected. I would definitely tell 18 year old Nancy "Ask questions if you are not sure of something!" I would also encourage myself to be more involved in school and extra-curricular activities. Social networking is very important for developmental and personal growth. I know that now, but I didn't before. I was more focused on just the academic component of my college experience and didn't explore the other opportunities that CSULA has to offer. I think it is crucial that every college student join a student organization whether it be a sorority/fraternity, sport, etc...College by all means is a time to solidify the skills that will help us in our future endeavors and professions, but it's also a time to enjoy our friends and experience the world as independent adults.