Life at California Baptist University took some getting used to for me…I felt weird being away from my parents for the first time and there were definite “typical CBU girl” expectations that I did not meet. At first, I tried to fit in and meet those expectations, but by the end of my first semester, I realized one very important thing: I am not a “typical CBU girl” and I will always dislike my time here if I try and fit someone’s mold. Finding out who I am and what type of person I am was a very important step for me to take in college. There are ten things I would like to share with newbies at CBU. Some of these can be utilized at different universities, too! Keep reading for 10 tips to make life easier at California Baptist University!
1. Stop trying to fit into the “CBU mold.”
At least for the women here, there is a definite “type” at CBU many students try to fit into. Don’t force yourself into this type! We all know what I’m talking about—straight hair to the shoulders, flow-y shirts, skinny jeans, and booties. In the winter, add a knitted scarf and a cardigan; in the summer, put on a flow-y sundress and a cute pair of saltwater sandals. Don’t forget the beach-y makeup look! Now, I prefer to always be in either sweats or shorts and a t-shirt; my hair is a massive, curly mess; and I rarely ever wear visible makeup. Not surprisingly, I felt completely out of my league. It wasn’t until I realized my looking different or not always being as put together as they were was perfectly acceptable that I began to enjoy my time and be comfortable with how I look. Don’t get me wrong; I’m just as girly as the next girl! I love dressing up and doing my makeup every once in a while. I just don’t have the time or patience to do this every—single—day. It is okay to feel this way!
2. Don’t overload yourself with activities.
I love the activities at CBU! They always have something for people to do—intramural sports, job fairs, and various evening events. Besides these events, there will always, always, always be a group of friends who invite you to eat lunch or dinner with them. During my first semester, I thought I was the worst person in the world for not going to events. The bottom line was that, sometimes, I just really wanted to spend that part of my day alone. If you are at the end of a long day full of classes or work, then it is absolutely natural to spend the rest of your day alone! Be confident and say no sometimes. Enjoy a relaxed evening. Being in college doesn’t mean that you have to constantly surround yourself with people at events. You will be dog-tired all the freaking time; and, by the time you get out of college, odds are you won’t even remember half of those events anyways! Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Enjoy college at your own pace!
3. Don’t cheat yourself out of community life.
On the flip side of number two, don’t say no to everything! Remember, college is a time to grow and experience life on your own a little bit. If you live on campus, then you are your own master. Enjoy a little bit of freedom! See what kind of events you like going to, or what kind of people you like hanging out with. Enjoy staying up late at night for no reason or sleeping in ‘til ten a couple times. Or, if you’re a morning person, go to sleep early, then get up and watch the sunrise! This is a time in your life when you can do things on your own and see what kind of person you are. I have found that I am really just a “day” person. I hate staying up ridiculously late (11:30 is too late for me on a school night), but I also utterly detest waking up before 7:00am. Find out what works, and stick to it!
4. Make friends with all of the staff and faculty.
CBU has terrific staff and faculty. The majority of them are always willing to help me sort out a problem and guide me through college. Put these people on your friend’s list. If you don’t want to be “friends,” just remember to definitely not make them your enemy. Trust me, when you need a little bit of grace for a mistake, a friend is a lot more willing to aid and assist you than an enemy. Plus, these people have been through the system already—they have so many tips. CBU hires tons of CBU alumni, which means they’ve seen the system from both sides. They can help you talk to the right people, choose the right professors, and take the right classes. They are there to help—utilize them.
5. Go off campus to relieve stress and catch up on homework.
My favorite place to go when I am stressed about a class is Lift Coffee Roasters. Right down the street from CBU is one of the hippest and most “chill” places to relax and quietly work on homework. The only reason I got an A+ in calculus was because of the countless hours spent at Lift drinking a macchiato and pouring over study guides and example problems. Change your environment and you won’t feel as though you’re suffocating on campus. Sometimes, a change of pace will make you feel energized and focused.
6. Get an on-campus job.
There are so many jobs offered on campus. Seriously. Through these jobs, you will meet lots of new friends and work on tip number four—making friends with the staff. There are many things I didn’t even think about as being a job before I got on campus. Did you know there are special note-takers for disabled students? What a great opportunity. You would get to sit in on extra classes without having to take any of the tests and get paid for it! My favorite job is being a workout instructor at the gym. I get to teach people how to be healthy and fit, while working out and getting paid for it. My number one suggestion for an on-campus job is to go through the Group Fitness Instructor program and get certified through the school to be an instructor. I get paid to go do something that I was already doing anyways! Besides the pay, that job has given me a very good set of skills. I am forced to speak in front of a group of people (which used to make me unbearably nervous) and I have to lead them through a series of difficult moves only using my words. This has helped me to be clear and direct in my diction and speeches. It is the best job to have on campus!
7. Go to the recreation center.
I can’t tell you how many people come in mid-semester checking in to the rec center for the first time. Such a waste of tuition! The facilities are great at the rec center, albeit smaller. There are great workout classes, free personal trainer sessions, and informational events for health benefits. Everyone who works there is interested in your well-being and they make sure it is the safest environment they can possibly make it. Enjoy time there working out and getting healthy!
8. Skip Wanda’s Café as much as possible.
Skip Wanda’s! This small café on campus is overpriced and time-consuming. This is also the only restaurant on campus that doesn’t take a meal swipe, so you have to either use “dining dollars” or pocket money. Besides being pricey, the service is not great. It once took me twenty minutes to receive my order of a grilled cheese sandwich. Consequently, I was late to a class and had to be very quiet eating my sandwich in class. While the food is good, it’s flavor and portion size is not proportionate to the price. Furthermore, Brisco’s, El Monte, and the cafeteria offer better healthy choices for just a meal swipe. If you must try Wanda’s, get the taco salad (with steak, because there is always fat left on the chicken) with a strawberry banana smoothie. The smoothies are surprisingly good and healthy (however, still rather pricey). Be healthy and frugal!
9. Get the cafeteria food “to-go.”
Technically speaking, this is illegal. However, the point at which I’m paying $18,000 a semester, I don’t have a problem with sneaking a little bit of food out of the caf. Here’s what you do: Go to Wanda’s (I know, I know…I just now said don’t ever go to Wanda’s; but trust me!) and kindly ask one of the nice cooks for a to-go box. They will look at you funny and say, “Do you want a lid, too?” You should kindly answer yes to this question. Once the to-go box (with the lid) is procured, head over to the caf. Now, at this point, you haven’t spent any money at Wanda’s! Use a meal swipe at the caf—if you’re smart you will use this trick on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, because that is when they serve sushi! Once you’re in, take your to-go box out of your backpack and proceed to fill it, but only with as much food as you will actually eat! The to-go box is not very big, so, if you’re like me, you will be able to fit two sushi rolls and two small pieces of pizza. Now, put the lid on it, stick it in your bag, and confidently walk out! I do this when I have to be somewhere quickly, but just really want some different options than what other restaurants offer; or, when the caf is completely filled and incredibly loud.
10. “Like” all of the different offices on social media.
In order to be in the know with all functions on campus, you must keep in touch on social media. The most important pages to like are the community life page (@cbu_commlife) and your own living area. The community life page notifies students of events going on (especially ones in which you can get free things!) and discounted tickets for events in the community. These discounts include Six Flags, Disneyland, and movie theater discounts! There are lots of opportunities to get involved in things at CBU and our surrounding community. Try them out!