By Kelsey Reichmann
I didn’t aspire to attend CSUDH. In all honesty, I was upset that I had to go here. And then something clicked. I realized that while literally no one I knew even knew CSUDH existed, it had more opportunity for me than I would have ever received at a school like UCLA.
Someone asked me recently why I didn’t go to UCLA because a degree from there would “follow me anywhere.” And for the first time, my answer wasn’t strictly related to the exorbitant price tag or the high GPA/SAT score required to receive admission.
I didn’t go to UCLA because I didn’t want to be at a research-based university. I like being at a teaching university where education is more driven towards real-world experience.
I didn’t go to UCLA because I didn’t want to be taught by a graduate student in a class of 300 students. I wanted one-on-one mentorship from professors who have been in the field and want to share their knowledge and experience.
I didn’t go to UCLA because it wasn’t the best university for me.
People, especially high school seniors deciding on colleges, are drawn by an innate need to fit in and be cool. They rarely focus on what’s actually best for them.
At CSUDH, I completed research with a professor that I presented at Student Research Day. I spent two semesters on the student-run publication, The Bulletin. I spent the first semester as managing editor and this semester as editor-in-chief. This summer I will take part in the DC Scholar program where I get to spend a semester in DC completing an internship, and will also be graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in journalism and a minor in photography.
However, these things weren’t just handed to me. I worked my ass off to make sure that I took every opportunity before I graduated from this university.
If you have ever been in a class with me, you know that it is rare that one goes by where I don’t have at least a few questions or comments. I am not the student who sits quietly in the back of the room.
As editor-in-chief of The Bulletin, I made it my mission to move away from writing fluff pieces and take on big issues that seriously impact this university. I interviewed countless administration officials and faculty at this university. I even had the opportunity to interview and face criticism from our university president.
The point of telling you this isn’t to make you feel bad that you didn’t try harder or that I think I am better than everyone, but it’s because I see something missing from many of my peers: Passion.
I didn’t work hard because I wanted a high GPA or recognition from my professors and peers, it was because I am genuinely passionate about what I do and who I want to be.
While I possessed that passion before I came to this university, I truly believe that my experience here helped me cultivate that into a career. Moreover, I feel as though the professors at this university took extra time to actually teach me not just to get A’s in their classes, but learn something that I could take with me into their post-college career.
I decided to write a three-part series on the faculty at this university because I truly believe the professors who I interacted with changed my life and that’s really what college is about.
The professors at CSUDH care. They don’t teach at CSUDH because this is a prestigious Ivy League school because it isn’t. They don’t teach at CSUDH because the university offers the most grant money for research. CSUDH professors are here because they genuinely want to share their knowledge for the benefit of their students.
My wish is that more students would truly appreciate them and actually engage with them. While they can give you all the information and opportunities, they can’t make you take them. Students need to stop thinking of their professors as giving them homework, tests, and quizzes to punish them and start thinking of professors as people trying to change their lives.
So if you ask me, I think my education at CSUDH has been more than worth all the money, stress, and tears because I came out on the other side knowing exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life and with the tools to be able to get me there.