Freshmen get their bearings

By Allison Lechman/ Reporter

By Allison Lechman



Audrey Chhun is an 18-yearold kinesiology major.
Photo by Allison Lechman

Audrey Chhun is an 18-yearold kinesiology major. She felt her first semester at CSU Bakersfield was successful.

  “I expected not to do much here. I expected to just get by my first two years and then transfer,” she said.

  Her first month at CSUB was a cycle of class and studying, but then something happened.

  Chhun’s friend encouraged her to try rock climbing at the Student Rec Center.

  “When my friend took me rock climbing, that’s what basically changed my whole spirit of the school because I really wasn’t into trying to get school spirit,” she said.

  Now she visits the SRC every day.

  Chhun is also finding new ways to connect with CSUB.

  “I’m trying to join a club, basketball club or rock climbing club. One of those [clubs] and just talking to more CSUB people to get involved with the community,” she said.

  The unknown can be a problem, like trying to find a restroom. 

  On her first day, she spent an hour walking around campus in over 100-degree weather just to find a restroom.

  “Now every time I give advice to my high school friends that are seniors right now, I tell them to find the bathroom. You better find that stupid bathroom or else you’re going to hate yourself,” she said with a laugh.

  Having trouble finding the restroom is just one of the first semester kinks that needs to be ironed out.

  “I thought my first semester went really well. I enjoyed it,” she said.


Henry Nguyen, a 19-year-old freshman, is an international student from Finland.
Photo by Allison Lechman

Henry Nguyen, a 19-year-old freshman, is an international student from Finland. He is studying business marketing and is on the CSU Bakersfield men’s soccer team.

  “I have never been to the U.S. before. I came four months ago. I didn’t have any idea how things were here,” he said through his Finnish accent.

  His expectations of America came from what he saw in the media. He watched  “Project X,” a movie about a boy in high school who throws an outrageously huge house party. “It doesn’t show the reality,” he said.

  With a new country and school, Nguyen had many things to get accustomed to.

  People in Finland do not do small talk like Americans. 

  “The first time I went to Trader Joes I was so shocked when they asked me, ‘Hey how are you?  How was your day? Did you get everything you need?’ In Finland, they just put their stuff on the counter, then you just pay and you leave. You don’t say anything,” he said.

  “That is the biggest difference. Here they are more open minded. They like to talk.  In Finland, we don’t have anything like that,” he said.

  Along with cultural differences, the education is different.

  “School is surprisingly easy. Back home I was below average, here I’m an A-B student,” he said.

  The difference is illustrated by the math class he is currently in is the same math level he was in when as a freshmen in high school.

  “Overall it has been really good experience for me as international,” he said.


Ariel Portillo is an 18-year-old freshman at CSU Bakersfield.
Photo by Allison Lechman

 18-year-old freshman, Ariel Portillo, experienced different bumps in his first CSU Bakersfield journey.

  “[My first semester] went horrible because I didn’t have anyone pushing me to do my work, so I fell behind in all my classes,” he said.

  With great collegiate freedom comes great responsibility. Professors will not hold your hand or guide you through.

  “I thought CSUB was going to be a little bit easier [than high school]. Turns out I was extremely wrong. It’s pretty hard,” he said.

  College can be a shock to students’ systems. Up to this point in their educational careers, almost everything about school has been micromanaged. 

  “In high school you really can’t do much. For example, if you’re out in the restroom and you take more than 10 minutes you’ll get in trouble.  Here you can basically do whatever you want. You can go kick it with your homies, eat, do whatever,” he said.

  As far as the people and the campus, “It’s like a completely different environment,” he said.

  Portillo has met many new people during his first semester. “People in high school are stuck up. If you try talking to them they will give you a smart remark, but at CSUB they are friendly,” said Portillo.

  A college campus is uncharted land for most freshmen.

  On his first day of class, Portillo parked far and had to walk 10 minutes. “I got so lost,” he said.  

  “I think I’ll do better next semester because I’ll be on my case with stuff and not fall behind,” he said.


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