After settling into your new dorm room and finishing WOW week, reality sets in. You realize what you’re really here to do: receive a college education.

The first cautionary words of advice are to ensure that you take the right amount of classes your first quarter.

Pateel Krikorian, a food science junior, advises, “Freshmen should take 12 units their first quarter. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself, and you still want the opportunities to be social and meet people in the dorm. By focusing on three classes and making sure you do well in those three, you can then slowly add on in the future.”

Learn by Doing

Cal Poly students also have the chance to experience the school’s “learn by doing” philosophy. This motto structures all classes so that you can acquire skills and knowledge by applying it to real life.

Kaleigh Hertz, an art & design junior, says, “For my typography class we actually had to go find a non-profit organization and offer our design skills. By doing that, we learned how to communicate, compromise and deal with budgets and printing just like we will have to do once we are in the design business world after graduation.”

The “learn by doing” philosophy will reaffirm your decision to attend Cal Poly and make classes that much worthwhile. However, class selection has been limited compared to previous years.

Budget Cuts

As you all should know, the CSU (California State University) system has been impacted by the current fiscal crisis.  According to a press release issued by the California Faculty Association, since 2007,

  • Funding cuts have led to more than 5,000 fewer class sections offered
  • 45% increase in student fees

Students felt the drastic change when they started paying more tuition money, yet were receiving less class options.  Krikorian adds, “there are less classroom sections and with less sections, you’re less likely to get in, and that prohibits you from graduating in time.”

Crashing Classes

A popular trend that has developed because of this is the notion of crashing classes. Forget the basic ideal of attending class. Even if a student isn’t enrolled, it won’t stop their efforts. A crowd of anxious and hopeful students standing outside the door is expected and if you don’t show up, they’ll take your spot proudly. Amy Davidson, a third year journalism major, details her experience as a freshman:

“It was a Thursday, during the first week of my college career, when I awoke to the sight of my clock displaying the time: 10:48 a.m. Panic stricken, I jumped up out of bed, shouted some swear words and began to pace. My public speaking class (COMS101) was from 9-11am and I had overslept. The class would be over by the time I could run down there and so I emailed my professor apologizing for my absence. I hated that my professor would already think negatively of me by missing class but I patiently waited for her response. I had attended class Tuesday morning and was pleasantly surprised by how awesome my professor was; I was excited to take a class that is typically avoided. Later that afternoon, I checked my inbox and received an email that would change my perception of class crashers forever. Since I was not present that morning and there was a crowd of students hoping to enroll, my professor had no choice but to line-drop me. Essentially, I was replaced and had been dropped from the class altogether. After the shock subsided, I rushed to speak with my counselor. She informed me of what classes were still open and I was able to enroll in a new class. Needless to say, I set 2 or 3 alarms every morning now to ensure that I wake up for all my classes, especially during the first week of every quarter. It’s definitely a lesson learned; beware of class crashers and attend every class you can.”


New Changes

The prevalence of class crashes on campus stem from a lack of sufficient classes. However, Governor Schwarzenegger aims to change this and signed the 2010-2011 budget to include a proposed $366 million to aid funding of the CSU system.

  • $305 million would restore the lost money from last year
  • $60.6 million would increase enrollment in the system’s 23 campuses

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