30 Things to Do Before You Graduate from CSULB

30 Things to Do Before You Graduate from CSULB

A bucket list by a senior in denial that she's (almost) out of college.

Okay, so I guess this doesn't just have to be for seniors, but if you're a fourth year (or fifth or sixth or whatever), you really need to start crossing things off, because it may be your last chance (sniff sniff).

  1. Give your favorite professor a cheesy teacher gift to say thank you. If even ONE professor has impacted your life, or even an advisor or CSULB staff, make sure to thank them before they forget your face in the next few years. Even a nicely worded email about how they've changed your life will literally make their career.
  2. Actually use the Rec center, since our tuition pays for it anyway. There's even yoga class and rock climbing.
  3. Roll down that one grass hill your SOAR advisor told you about. Isn’t it supposed to give you A’s? Who knows. I think it's the hill by the Hall of Science building, but I'm sure any hill you find will do.
  4. Actually talk to someone in your class and make a friend instead of being anti-social and only talking to the people you've met before.
  5. Drink a beer or wine at the Nugget. This one isn’t for me, but for any other legal student that has been lagging. I’ve crossed this off my list a long time ago, as displayed here (the beer is green because it was St. Patrick's Day):
  6. Make friends with a professor. And by friends, I mean to the level where you have at least one inside joke and they've added you on Facebook. This is a plea to my professor Norbert Schurer - you're the bomb!
  7. Go to a sports game that isn’t basketball. Unless you have friends who are athletes, it's tough to be motivated to go to events, but I guarantee that our student athletes will surprise you with their energy and skill. STILL go to basketball games, but make some time to see women's volleyball or even baseball!
  8. Buy an alumni shirt for yourself. Or maybe a shot glass. Do they have those?
  9. Find out where you can use your student ID to get a discount, and go there while you still can. I don't want to be a real adult yet. Maybe I'll go to school one more year so I can keep getting a measly discount at some places...who could turn down this messy-bunned blonde?
  10. Go bowling at the USU. Why haven't I done this yet?
  11. Explore the library. Find a secluded spot for some...ahem...private studying with that one guy from your chem class that smells like AXE but has really cute dimples.
  12. Go to the University Art Museum. That little tucked away place next to the Horn Center needs some extra loving!
  13. Study at the Horn Center for once instead of the Library. The chairs alone make me dream about taking naps there between classes.
  14. Do all the fun things that CSULB offers during finals week, like massages and henna.
  15. Lay in the hammocks whenever they’re up. They are actually super comfy and surprisingly big. I suggest sharing with a BFF and avoid running into the professor of the class you ditched that morning.
  16. Get your face painted by Dave, the guy who paints on the grass during the day on the commencement lawn. Go follow him on Instagram, too @ davetherainbow.
  17. Go to a show at the Carpenter Center. They're always having events there like musicals, concerts, lectures, and student performances. Some are even free if you're a student!
  18. Take a class I would never take in a million years just to challenge yourself. I suggest Love, Life, and the World, or a class that is the total opposite of your major.
  19. Pull a finals week all-nighter. Like, a legit all-nighter with NO sleeping. Push some library tables together, drink a Monster, pile up pillows and blankets to stay comfy, and study until the sun rises the next day. But no camping, I guess...
  20. Juggle something with the juggling club. Man, they always look like they're having fun when I walk by them.
  21. Go through Fall or Spring sorority recruitment or rush a fraternity. Hey, don’t knock it till you try it! Even if you don’t join, you can end up making a few friends and realizing a bit about yourself on the way. I ended up making lifetime friends and memories with some amazing Alpha Omicron Pis! But don't let me convince you. Sign up for Formal 2015 Sorority recruitment here and learn more about fraternity recruitment here.
  22. Eat a meal at the Outpost. If you're a Liberal Arts major like me, you may not have even heard of this place. It's just like the Nugget, but it's by the Engineering buildings. The breakfast is the bomb, and it's usually less crowded with obnoxious people, unlike its counterpart.
  23. Become involved with your major department. Actually go to events they put on like the mixers, apply for a scholarship, maybe even join one of their clubs if you haven't already.
  24. Go to the Japanese Garden. Look up the hours beforehand, or even go during a break in classes. Bring a friend or go alone - either way, it's beautiful and relaxing. You can even feed the koi fish!
  25. Eat at a dorm dining hall. Befriend a student who lives in the dorms so they can swipe you in, or go and pay per meal with card or cash. I suggest the off-campus dorms at Beachside, but they've finished construction on the Parkside dining hall and it's gorgeous. Sure, it's not restaurant quality (believe me, I used to work there), but you gotta do it once, especially if you're a transfer or never lived in the dorms.
  26. Befriend an international student! Help them with English, and maybe learn a few phrases from their country. Who knows, if you ever do end up in Germany, you could have a place to crash!
  27. Leave a big tip for your favorite Starbucks or Coffee Bean barista. C’mon, they make us coffee to get through all those midterms, suffer the sighs and requests and complaints from bitchy professors and students, and do it all with a smile. Yeah, they may not always spell our name right, but they’re literally college students just like you, so tip ‘em really nicely after you get your paycheck.
  28. Study abroad, if you haven’t already. Go to Brotman Hall and pick up a flyer, or stop by their office and look into programs with international universities. Expand your horizons! Traveling abroad always looks good on your resume, especially if it has to do with your field of study. I recommend doing volunteer work in an underprivileged country, but visiting a touristy European city can be worthwhile, too. There are always scholarships available to help sponsor your tuition, and even trips that happen during Winter Session or Summer Session. You can even earn college credit while you're away! I personally went to India for three weeks, and was so glad I did.
  29. Vote in the ASI elections. Actually research candidates and VOTE! These students lobby for us on our behalf in order to make CSULB a better place for us and future students.
  30. And last, but not least, jump into the Brotman Hall fountain. Snap a few selfies while you’re at it, too, to memorialize your senior year. Brownie points if you jump in with your grad gown.

Anything you'd add to this CSULB student bucket list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments before they send me my diploma and kick me out!

Cover Image Credit: Megan Crayne Beall

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It Took Me 4 Years And $100K To Realize Why Poor Kids Like Me Don’t Go To College

But now that I know, I can't get it out of my mind.


I grew up poor.

There, I said it. It's out in the open now—I don't come from a family that has a bunch of money. In fact, my family doesn't have much money at all. My single mother works in fast food and does a DAMN good job trying to support herself and the rest of us. A lot of the food my family gets comes from food pantries. We have received government assistance before. I grew up poor, but I haven't let that define me.

Especially when it came to going to college.

I didn't want to let my economic background hold me back from my potential. I wanted to be the first person on both sides of my family to receive my college degree. I wanted to get a better paying job and moving up in socioeconomic status so I don't have to be the "poor" girl with the "poor" family all my life. I'm not really ashamed of coming from a poor family, but I also don't want to be poor my entire life.

For a majority of my college career, I wondered why there weren't many poor students around me at college. I go to a public university, and it's just the same price as any other state school really. Coming from a lower income home, I did receive a lot of assistance, and without it, there's no way in hell I could be here. I know that many other lower-income students can get this same assistance, which really made me wonder why there was such a lack of other poor kids around me.

I mean, everyone posts videos from their nice, upper-middle-class homes on Snapchat over holiday breaks while I go back home to the trailer park.

Everyone can call mom or dad and ask for money when things get rough while I pay for 100% of the things I own because my mother simply cannot afford it.

Everyone walks around in their name-brand clothes while I'm rocking Walmart knockoffs. It's not something I thought about for a couple years in college, but once I noticed it, I couldn't think of anything else.

It took me nearly all four years of college to realize why there's such a lack of poor students at my average, public university. Poor students are set up for failure in college. It's almost designed to be a survival of the fittest when it comes to us lower-income students, and those of us who are deemed the fittest and do make it to graduation day are typically stuck with a lot of debt that we don't have the financial intelligence or support to even think about paying off.

Poor students are in the minority in college, and when you're in a minority anywhere, surviving can be difficult. When it costs $100 just for a 5-digit code to do your homework, it can be hard to stay in school. When the cost of living on campus is $10,000 or rent for an apartment is nearly $500 a month, it can be hard to stay in school. When you don't have a car because you can't save up the money for one and your parents can't help you, it can be hard to stay in school. When you're forced to get a minimum wage, on-campus job that limits your to twenty hours a week, it can be hard to stay in school. When all of your friends don't understand why you can't go out to eat or to the bar every weekend, it can be hard to stay in school. All of these reasons add up to the main reason why poor kids don't go to college—the odds are stacked against us.

I never had shame in my socioeconomic status until I went to college. In my hometown, I wasn't much less than the norm. Now, my home life is drastically different than that of all of my friends. I know that this is something that is never going to change because when I enter the workforce in less than a year, I'll be going in as the first member of my family with a college degree. People will treat me differently when I tell them this, even if I don't want them to. People will treat me differently when they ask where my parents work and I tell them McDonald's. It's an unfortunate reality that I cannot control.

It took me nearly all four years to realize why poor kids don't go to college, but now that I know, I can't get it off my mind.

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5 Tips For Handling A Quarter Life Crisis

Don't know what to do with your life, me either


I thought I had my entire life figured out; career, graduate school, moving. All of it. But maybe I was wrong. I have already been accepted to graduate school, have my internship/capstone figured out but then I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to do a different internship that made me question if my plan was the right plan for me. It was terrifying, stressful and difficult to figure out what to do because it affects the rest of my life. But there are some tips you can do to keep your cool.



Write that shit down. Take a piece of paper and plan out where each path could take you and the steps you need to take to get to each goal on the path. Seeing it all on paper will slow you down and help determine if what you're thinking is even an option.

2.    Talk to people


Talk it out, talk to your friends, your family, your advisor. Talk to anyone you can about your plan. You will hear other people's opinions and thoughts. They may have thought of a factor that you didn't. It will help you better understand your thoughts when you explain your tornado brain to someone else.

 3.    Be Open


This was REALLY hard for me. I talked to probably five different people about the change in life choices and heard both positive and negative thoughts. It is important to be open and listen to the negative idea even if it seems like you're being attacked. It will make you think, are you really prepared for 4-8 more years of school (or whatever else it may be).

 4.    Breathe and Stress Relieve 


YES, this is 100% one of the biggest most stressful decision you have to make but it is also incredibly important that you are patient, and calm throughout the entire process. It is easier said than done, trust me but take five steps back, seven deep breaths and 20 minutes to relieve the built-up stress. Go to the gym, listen to music, paint, do whatever is going to put a smile on your face and calm you. Then come back to the problem with a clear head to think and process all the options.

5.    Don’t be afraid


It is literally terrifying when you feel lost, and unsure of what to do with your life. Especially if your family is super strict and you want to keep everyone happy. But REMEMBER it is YOUR life. YOUR future. You have to worry about what is the best option for you and what will make you happy in the long run. Even if it is harder and going to take longer. Be concerned about YOURSELF and not what anyone else thinks of you.

Quarter life crises are totally normal and not fun. Don't feel like you're alone or a failure for being unsure. It is good to explore all your options and be the happiest you can be. If that takes a little freak out and some stress so is it. Just use these steps to make the best of it.

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