For incoming freshmen, there’s a long list of things to fret about: getting used to a new campus, adapting to living on their own, navigating a confusing system, or passing prerequisites.
To help alleviate some of those normal pre-semester worries, about 250 pre-engineering students living in on-campus housing had a chance Monday to hear from a successful alumnus, get familiar with support services, and tour engineering labs.
Tracy Maples, associate dean of academic programs, said about one-quarter of incoming freshmen want to be engineers. Although popular, the major is also demanding.
“The thing about engineering and computer science is you need to ask for help,” said Maples. “As a college on campus, we’re anxious to offer you a top-notch education. We have people who are here just to help you—that is their job.”
The Engineering Student Success Center offers advising, free tutoring, an honors program, professional development workshops, internship help, and support for first-year students. Two beginning classes—Engineering 101 and 2012—offer an introduction to the profession and various engineering majors and guidance on academic success.
“You guys just moved in,” said Marina Crawford, the College of Engineering’s first-year-experience coordinator. “Your first semester’s going to get you acclimated to being a college student. Crawford added that CSULB students have direct access to faculty, unlike at other universities, when students have to do approach teaching assistants for help.
CSULB 2014 civil engineering graduate Sandra Labib, now a project manager at Southern California Edison, urged the incoming students to focus on three things: Respect, Networking, and Time Management. She recounted how she applied for an internship at Edison while she was still a sophomore working part-time at Subway. An executive she struck up a conversation with in the Edison elevator turned out to be in charge of the department hiring the intern.
Labib stressed the importance of seeking mentors—people who’ll believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. She credits Emmitt Clark, director of the College’s Professional Development & Internships Department, for encouraging her over the years and seeing something in her that she didn’t see herself.
“You’re going to have self-doubts . I have voices in my head telling me to quit. But I didn’t want to let the people who believed in me down,” she said.
After hearing from Labib, students toured the Human Performance & Robotics Lab, the Impact Group Engineering Research Lab, and the Polymer & Advanced Composite Lab. They also had a chance to meet with representatives from student organizations.