The Insider’s Crash Course
Tips from four experienced students on negotiating the turf around local campuses.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Cal State University Monterey Bay
As a member of the popular rock band Slices of Home, and as the public relations director for the Associated Students organization, Mason Rothschild maintains a high profile on the California State University of Monterey Bay campus. As a senior, the charismatic music and performing arts major has a lot of advice for newbies coming into the university.
Being a musician, it comes as no surprise that Rothschild suggests students take music classes like Professor Paul Contos’ Survey of Electronic Music, which introduces scholars to underground artists like synthesizer virtuoso Wendy Carlos and experimental musician John Cage. In addition, he says that Media Tools, a class that shows students how to design Web sites and use Photoshop, is essential for folks who want to be able to survive in today’s increasingly high-tech environment.
When it comes to facilities on campus, Rothschild doesn’t miss a beat when proclaiming his love for the Black Box Cabaret, an on-campus café and performance space that often features live bands, plays and open mics. “The BBC is the coolest place on campus,” he says. “We have all kinds of bands from all over the nation.”
There are also two free activities on campus that Rothschild thinks incoming students should note. One is disc golf, a game played with Frisbees that can be endeavored on one of the campus’ two courses. Another is an activity that is specific to CSUMB, something he calls “Ording,” which is exploring the vacant buildings on the sprawling former army base. Rothschild has never been Ording, of course, as it is technically illegal.
Chelsey Gilbert has a favorite place to hang out at Hartnell College between classes. When not taking courses towards her psychology degree, Gilbert spends her time sitting on the comfy chairs in the atrium of the Hartnell College Center.
There, under trees, Gilbert can catch up with all her classmates who pass through the area on their way to the adjacent bookstore and cafeteria.
Gilbert, a second year student, has also seen hours pass by in the college’s classrooms. Her favorite courses so far include Human Sexuality and Professor Lawrence Adams’ Political Science class.
“He’s really easy to follow,” she says of Adams. “If you pay attention and go to most of the classes, you can get a good grade. And he’s funny.”
When Gilbert doesn’t eat in the college center, she heads to the Bagel Bakery, Mountain Mike’s Pizza or a juice bar called Cosmo’s. All three eateries are located within walking distance of campus.
Monterey Peninsula College
Before departing for San Diego State, where he will double major in journalism and kinesiology, former Monterey Peninsula College student Christopher Christensen has a few tidbits of advice for those attending the local community college.
With a wide range of classes from History of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East to Massage Therapy, Christensen suggests that students should dip their toes into all sorts of different subjects as a way of discovering new interests. Even for students who have never spent much time staring up into the sky at night, Christensen calls Professor Homer Bosserman’s Astronomy course a don’t-miss. “He makes the subject completely interesting,” he says.
As for dining options, Christensen says it’s best to head out in nearby Monterey. “Don’t eat campus food if you are looking for good food,” he says.
Monterey Institute of International Studies
Second year Monterey Institute of International Studies student Nikita Desai has some superb advice for fellow members of the student body chugging coffee and studying late at night on campus. “The bathrooms get locked at 2am,” she says. “So do your business before that.”
As for academic business, Desai says students should definitely sign up for Introduction to International Development, which features a couple of instructors. “It is taught by two professors that give a unique perspective in the fields of gender and security,” she says. Also, Desai has a warning for people who will have to create a course schedule come next semester. “Don’t take an 8am Policy Analysis course,” she says.
For non-academic reasons, this fan of downtown Monterey bars like The Mucky Duck and The Crown and Anchor, says signing up for Friday classes is not a good idea. “Keep your Fridays open, so you can party Thursday nights,” Desai advises.
Whether hungover or just frazzled by spending hours in MIIS’ on-campus reading room, Troia’s Market, located just a block from campus, provides cheap eats. Desai says the store offers big sandwiches at reasonable prices.