With a new year, comes new faces and new struggles that nearly all CSUSB students have had to face at one point during their college career. What is up with parking? Is the bookstore really the best place to buy those expensive books? Just want something affordable for lunch nearby? The CSUSB Survival Guide has all the answers with inside tips from fourth-year students that know what it’s like to navigate the twists and turns of college life.
There’s one struggle that ties all CSUSB students together no matter the major or the year. And that’s, you guessed it, parking. CSUSB has nine major parking lots and two parking structures. Getting familiar with these extra parking lots quicker will help save time and stress when trying to get to class on time. When running late, it’s always a good idea to remember that finding a parking spot further away from your class will save you more time than driving back and forth in Lot D waiting for somebody to give up their spot. Try heading to the parking structures or Lot N located in the back of the school.
Another shared stress among CSUSB students is the cost of books. The Survival Guide is here to tell you to avoid the bookstore!
Fourth-year student, Amber Aragon offered this advice, “Freshman year I would get all my books directly from the coyote bookstore. Man, was I an idiot. Now I mostly go on Chegg or Amazon. I try my best to stay away from actually buying a class book if the prices are too high. Financial aid doesn’t cut it. If the book is on reserve in the library, I’ll check it out and then go to the scanning machine and scan all the chapters needed and email them to myself. That has saved me from spending more than $250.”
Rent books from Chegg, look around for the cheapest versions, ask professors if you can buy older versions. And if you can pass a class without purchasing the book, then maybe that’ll be your cheapest solution.
Next up on the survival checklist is food. There are plenty of places to fill up between classes on campus. The Student Union has options like burgers, pizza, Taco Bell, sandwiches, and stir fry. You can visit the Commons and check their menu online, but the food in these places can be fairly expensive.
If you’re in need of a meal, the Obershaw DEN assists CSUSB students who find themselves facing food insecurity or scarcity. Visit them in FO-237 for more information or receive a “Coyote Food Pack” from their locations on campus: the Ombuds office, Rec Sports, Health Center, and more.
Cynthia Sok is one of the many students who use the DEN on occasion. “If I have no money, I would go to the health center or undocumented center and ask for a daily pack. Free cup of noodle, juice, small snack packs,” said Sok.
Along with the Obershaw DEN, CSUSB has a huge support network of academic advisors that are available to all students. In some cases throughout the year, depending on your major, you may be required to check in with your advisor to avoid a hold on your account.
So make sure to check your account regularly to keep track of these. You don’t want to be two days away from your registration appointment only to find out that you need to see an advisor!
Many students see their advisors often when they want to make sure they’re on track towards graduation. Kristina Salcedo, a senior completing her two-year graduation pledge program, said, “I see my advisors a lot. It depends. For example, I’m in the two-year pledge program and I’m required to see them at least twice each quarter. I end up seeing them for a total of three times. And I can see my writing tutor as many as 10 times or more throughout the quarter.”
There are many different ways to study and excel in all majors. One of the most popular places to study in the library. Grab a coffee at Starbucks and find the best spot that works for you and your study habits.
“I love the library. If I have a test coming up, I like to make sure I got through each PowerPoint and get the important information down. Then I go back in with a highlighter if the professor said it was a crucial piece of info. I also try to plan a day with some colleagues to form a study group to see if I or anyone missed any information,” said Sok.
“The one thing I wish somebody would have told me, in the beginning, is ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself.’ I’m the first one in my family to go to college, and I’ve always felt like I can’t let them down. Even now, I’m a strong self-critic,” said Aragon, “and it messes up with my self-esteem and how I go about making decisions. A lot of the stuff I’m doing is to take care of my family in the future. It would be nice to take a break from that little voice in my head that keeps saying, ‘that’s not good enough.'”