Saturday, January 26, 2013

Money Talk

Finances as a college student are never an easy task. Whether we are dependent on ourselves or if we rely on our parents for assistance, managing your money is a very important key to your academic success. Why you may ask, what does money have to do with my academics? It’s quite simple! You see the more you worry about your financial woes the less time you worry about assignments or school in general. Many of us have had the issue of deciding whether something is a “want” or a “need” and truly you shouldn't have to give up everything you would like. You just need to make a budget for yourself at the beginning of the semester or at the beginning of every month, depending how much money you have allotted for each of you expenses.  

Tracking all of your expenses isn't all that hard in today’s world; there are many apps and websites to help you with this task! I, personally, like the old school method of sitting down at a table with all of my bills and with a bank statement that tell me how much money I have, but lets face it, I’m not very technologically savvy. Tracking tools such as,, or or even your bank's website can help you determine how much you will spend on entertainment or recreational shopping. 

Your finances don’t only affect your emotions and stress levels but they can also affect your credit which will harm you in the long run. I know many of us aren't thinking of owning homes just yet, but having a bad credit score can follow you for a long time, one faulty payment can cause damage that is a difficult task to repair. By keeping your finances in order you will minimize any worries of financial burdens you may have which will allow you to spend more time studying and on your academic assignments and, it will save your credit from being damaged which will allow you to buy your dream home in the future. So don’t forget to make that budget, keep track of your spending, and make those payments on time!

By Wendy Vega

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Finding Your Niche

As a first year student, I did not know what to expect coming to CSU, Chico. Some of the things that did come to mind though were, how diverse the campus would be? What kind of people would I meet? How would I make friends? My first day of school was definitely a culture shock and made me feel very alone. I walked through campus feeling like the only Mexican on the whole campus. I felt so alone and with no diversity. I started to become really homesick, but made an effort in talking to strangers in hopes of creating friendships. I would eat at Whitney Hall alone listening to my music and knew right away that it this was not who I was. The next couple of days that week I would ask other students, who were eating alone, if I could join them.  Soon I came across other students who were in the same boat as me and felt homesick. 

Coming to Chico, I knew that I wanted to be involved and remembered that there was an organization, MEChA, which I was in during high school that was also on Chico State Campus. I found out that they were located in a place called the Cross Cultural Leadership Center. One day after class, I walked over to the center and as soon as I stepped foot inside, I was welcomed with open arms and a sense of relief came over me. I asked the front desk attendant if there was someone I could talk to about MEChA at Chico State. Fortunately, one of their para-professionals was actually the president of the organization and was happy to talk to me. We talked about our backgrounds and found out the we lived 30 minutes away from each other back in southern California. He also talked to me about programs that MEChA would do around the community and on campus.  He then gave me a tour of the CCLC and let me know that I could come and do homework, use the computer, and even sleep there. I finally felt at home and a sense of belonging at the center. I found that it was the most diverse part of campus and I met people from all over the state, the country, and even the world.

I recommend that if you are one of those students who are in the similar situation that I was in, go to the Cross Cultural Leadership Center in the Meriam Library. All of the staff make you feel at home and you will meet some of the most amazing people at Chico State. The CCLC also provides diversity events like the Diversity Summit, Blueprint for Success Conference, and the ILead conference to help students create greater bonds with other students and faculty on campus. These conferences will not only help you succeed during your college years, but creates you into a more well rounded person. 

By Andrea Hernandez 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Untold Stories of a Peer Advisor

Ever wonder, "Am I in the right major?"  How can I find the right major for me? What careers can I get with certain majors? These are some questions I asked myself my freshman year.  Applying to CSU, Chico, I was declared as a Bio-Chemist major in hopes that I could go off and do a Forensics program to become a medical body examiner. All my life I knew I wanted to be in law enforcement, but once I entered college I came to find that I wasn’t super great at Calculus and that science was fun, but too hard. I kept thinking of other things I loved doing and what kinds of talents I had. 

I always knew I loved kids, I loved being around them, and had tremendous patience. Then I looked into jobs that had to work with kids and that’s where Liberal Studies found me. Going into Liberal Studies I knew that most people take the major in order to prepare themselves to become an educator.  I set up an appointment to speak with an advisor about my dilemma and in hopes that she would guide me to the right path. She began to explain the major and the more she talked about it, the more I fell in love with the idea of becoming an educator. The moment I knew that I was in the right major was when she began to tell me that there was a bilingual/cross-cultural education option which would help me to get my multiple subject bilingual credential. I was so excited to start my new major because I had been looking for major that would allow me to help youth.  

It wasn’t until my second semester of my freshman year where I began to take classes for my major. As a Liberal Studies student at Chico State, our general education is integrated into our major, so I began to take GE and my major classes. I loved all of my classes and my teachers and they completely helped me to grow as a person. In the blink of an eye my second semester was coming to an end and I came into my advisor’s drop-in day. The office was filled with students in need of help deciding which classes to take and what instructors were recommended. I sat at a table filled with three or four other freshmen and my advisor came to ask if we were comfortable in advising as a group. We all agreed and she began asking us questions about our semester. Then she began to ask us about our plans for next semester and I had shown her the classes I enrolled in. She said I was on the right path and that I was good to go for next semester. I noticed that the other students next to me were flustered and felt confused and began to suggest classes and professors they could take next semester according to our Major Academic Plan. My advisor was impressed with me and suggested that I should join PALS, Peer Advisors in Liberal Studies. I had to think about whether or not I wanted to join because I felt I knew little about the major and did not feel prepared to be a peer advisor. My advisor supported me and reinforced that I would be great for the job and so I applied. 

Becoming a Peer Advisor in Liberal Studies has helped me grown in more ways than one. I gained more confidence in myself because I was helping students in and out of my office hours with questions they did not feel comfortable asking the advisors. As a peer advisor we are more than just there to help with planning your schedule. We are peer advisors because many of us have lived and gone through academic and personal situations that a lot of other students have gone through. Our main goal is to help all students succeed academically, but also enjoy everything that college life has to offer. We took on this challenge in hopes of students feeling comfortable to come talk to us about anything and everything. So if you ever have a problem  just know that “We care, because we were there.” 

By Andrea Hernandez

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Report Card Remorse

Have you ever received an unwanted, less than satisfactory, plain ugly, bad grade?  By bad grades I don’t just mean a D or an F, I mean receiving a B- instead of that A that you were aiming for. If you’re anything like me, you probably have been beating yourself up about it. Well not to worry the world isn’t over, really look outside, and look at your calendar (we’ve passed “Doom’s Day”); today is a new day and that means there are changes that can be made! Cheer up buttercup! As a person who has been there and done that I know it may not be the easiest thing to tell your parents or even admit to yourself, but let’s face it some battles must be lost in order for us to learn from our mistakes, in the end things like this make us better people. I’m sure you’re reading this and saying, “Wendy, you’re crazy! There’s nothing to look forward to, my life is over!” Negative my friend! There are many things to look forward to, but the first step before finding a solution to your bad grade situation is taking a step back to look at the process you took that led you to that unwanted grade. 

While looking back look for things such as simply studying for the course, did you really input the time and energy you needed? Did you ask for help from your peers or the Student Learning Center when you didn’t understand the material? Lastly, did you ever take the time to speak to your professor during office hours, before or after class, or even send them an email asking for help? Now that you reflected, let’s take the time to see what can be improved for the next time and also keep in mind we are no longer in high school, things are much more competitive and grading isn’t taken lightly.

In order to improve we must take a look at what WE have done and not place the blame on others, then we see what areas of our techniques need improvement. Let your parents know that you have reflected on your experience and you understand why you didn’t receive the grade they or you anticipated, after all no parents like to see their children suffering. Take the time and let them know that you will try better and explain to them all the steps you will take to improve your academic standing. Here’s how we’ll do it, together!
  • Remember, a grade does not determine what kind of a person you are, so don't feel as if you are a terrible person.
  • Don't focus too much on the fact that you did get a bad grade, since you can't change the past.
  • Don't compare yourself to others; they're not you and you're not them, you will always get different marks from each other.  It's part of life!
  • If you were not specific enough in your studying, tell yourself this will never happen again; you will get 100% on the next test because you are more experienced and you know what to expect.
  • Stay after school or class if you need extra help. Many teachers are happy to help, in fact they love to interact with their students and know that you are not just a number but a person with a name and story.

Also keep in mind that if you truly gave it your best and did all you could in order to succeed sometimes things don’t go as planned and at times we really didn’t understand the subject matter being taught. Some stuff isn’t meant for everyone and it’s okay if you don’t.  I guarantee there are others who feel just like you do. Some battles are lost at times but there’s no need to wallow in misery for the next few years of college; let’s get up, dust off the dirt and get back on track because without trying again we’ll never know how great we can be! 


Happy holidays!!