By Katheryn Robichaud, Communication Studies, ’13
When I came to Chico State as a freshman, I was hesitant: How would the transition be? Is this the right school for me?
For the first time, I was moving away from my home in Pleasanton, and I knew I would face some homesickness. I decided to dedicate freshman year to learning how to balance my time, studying for my classes, and becoming familiar with my new world. That year, I explored Chico, the downtown area, and Bidwell Park and made new friends living in the residence hall. By the end of my freshman year, I knew that I liked Chico, but I didn’t yet feel a strong connection to the campus and community.
Since orientation people had been telling me, “Make sure you get involved,” but I didn’t quite know how. I was unsure of what to do to feel more connected. My sophomore year, I decided to make joining a club a priority and ended up joining one within my communication studies major. The club helped me to meet people within my own area of interest and become friends with people in my classes.
At the same time, I became more familiar with the Chico area, learned all the streets around campus, and had got to know more of my professors and classmates. By the end of my sophomore year, I knew I really liked Chico.
But it was the third year that changed my entire college experience. My junior year, I became a Summer Orientation peer advisor, and it was one of the best opportunities I could have found.
As a Summer O leader, I trained for six months to become a Chico expert, and throughout the summer I got to welcome all the new freshmen and transfer students, orient them to campus, tell them the ins and outs of being a Chico State student, introduce them to graduation requirements, and help them pick out appropriate classes for their first semester. I got to share my own experiences with these students, and it felt great helping to kick-start their Chico Experience.
Meanwhile, I became friends with the other 28 incredible students who were hired as Summer Orientation leaders. Along with making connections with faculty on campus, I improved my teamwork skills, public speaking, and ability to interact with a different group of people every day. At the end of my third year, I loved Chico.
In my senior year, I continued with the Summer Orientation program as one of four senior staff members, meaning I got to help select the new members for the 2013 Summer Orientation, train them, and put on workshops to help the team bond. I concurrently had an on-campus internship, making it my busiest but most rewarding year. I now felt the strong connection to the campus and community that people had told me about when I first came to Chico. I finally fully understood that “getting involved” was the key to a well-rounded experience at Chico State.
I graduated this spring, and it is very hard to accept that this chapter of my life has come to an end. By graduation, I loved Chico State so much that I wished I could have stayed longer! After getting involved with Summer Orientation, making countless friends and connections on campus, and making an impact on new students, I can look back and say that coming to Chico State was the best decision I ever made.