Seniors Say Goodbye to Long Beach State

By Leslie Veliz

Before they walk across the graduation stage next week, we talked with three Long Beach State seniors
to get their take on their time at the university and their advice for students just starting their college career.

Karla Lopez, 22, journalism major.

Karla Lopez, 22, journalism major.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your time at CSULB?

Jenny Rodriguez (communications, 22): A grade doesn’t define your worth. If you didn’t do so well on an exam or an assignment, relax. It’s not the end of the world. Learn from your mistakes and keep pushing through. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Life can be difficult and it's not easy navigating through it alone. So, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Nick Tate (journalism, 24): I think, for me, it's learning how to navigate and coexist with people who aren't going to have the same viewpoint and still get things done. Being in charge of your own schedule can either be a blessing or a curse. If we chose not to show up, it’s going to hinder our learning. I learned to refine this skill here [at CSULB].

Karla Lopez (journalism, 21): I learned a lot at Long Beach. One of the things I learned is that there's so many career opportunities out there that don't fall under typical journalism jobs. There's an umbrella to it-you can go so many ways. Journalism doesn’t have to be just writing or being on TV, it can be creative. You can work around news stories but in the creative aspect of it like magazine and newspaper layouts.

What will you miss most about CSULB?

Jenny: The stability of school, knowing that you’re working for something and there’s a goal at the end.

Nick: The calmness of campus, the comradery between classmates, and just knowing that when we step on campus, we’re just a big community.

Karla: Being close to people who have the same passion as you is something I’m going to miss. Everyone in the real world is just doing their own thing. You have that direct contact [with your classmates].

Nick Tate, 24, journalism major. Photo by Leslie Veliz.

Nick Tate, 24, journalism major. Photo by Leslie Veliz.

What do you want to do after CSULB?

Jenny: After I graduate, I would like to take a break but look for jobs since I haven't had the time to. Career-wise, I would like to work as a multimedia journalist, but whatever happens, happens.

Nick: I’ve started a profile with a freelance website; I’m hoping I get freelance assignments from that. It’d be nice to keep my options open for jobs because of the experience I have with TV, magazine and newspaper writing, but I would want to stick to freelance or magazine writing.

Karla: I’m not sure, it sounds really bad, but I’m just going to let whatever opportunity that comes to my door happen. Whatever comes, I’ll take it and learn from it, and see if I learn anything new or anything that I’m passionate about.

Any advice for students who are just beginning their college journey?

Jenny: Take a deep breath, it's going to be a wild ride, but there will be some good moments and you’ll meet some pretty cool people and learn a lot.

Nick: Enjoy it because it goes fast. I transferred not too long ago, and I’m already done. It’s going to go by fast.

Karla: Take classes that you don’t think you'll find interesting and just step out of your comfort zone. I did that and found out I like doing design [using InDesign]. I took classes in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and learned that I liked those classes and declared it as my minor. I use skills that I learned from those classes.

Jenny Rodriguez, 22, communications major. Photo by Leslie Veliz.

Jenny Rodriguez, 22, communications major. Photo by Leslie Veliz.

What has been your best memory at CSULB?

Jenny: Just meeting people and being able to create certain memories with them.  

Nick: It’s unrelated to academics, [but] it’s probably seeing the volleyball team win the National Championship live last May. It’s something a lot of students don’t get to experience, the last championship they won was in 1991.

Karla:  I use to work at the Career Development Center. There I met mentors Michelle Gomez and Daniel Carlos. They both taught me so much about how to find a career that I’m passionate about and use LinkedIn and social media and my brand to get out there. I’m forever grateful. Another person is Burt Rivera. They were with me with the transition from my last school to here. They helped me get comfortable with CSULB.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

Jenny: Accomplishing certain goals I haven’t had the time to do like traveling.

Nick: Hopefully being able to find a really good job and stick with it. Our profession is known to be declining in opportunities, in 20 years it might even go away.  

Karla: Just to see where I land career-wise and see how maybe I can be a designer for Wired or different magazines. And just to have my family see how I go throughout the world since I’m the first to graduate.

How are you feeling about graduation?

Jenny: It’s coming up quick. I’m excited but mostly fearful of what comes after.

Nick: It’ll be nice to not worry about turning in assignments or studying for tests. I’ll be able to focus on one job and one job only.

Karla: It’s scary. Now that it's getting to the end, I have regrets of not sacrificing a job to do more internships, but I couldn't because I had to work to earn a living.

What is your favorite thing about CSULB?

Jenny: Some of the professors, because they’re really passionate about something. They make the course something to look forward to. Sometimes they’re really interested in you as a person and that makes you feel important. We need a pick-me-up every now and then.

Nick: The atmosphere. It’s cool to see that we’re all working towards one goal and knowing your struggles are the same as the next person. You’re not the only one stressing out.

Karla: All the resources that are on campus and the professors are pretty awesome. All the professors in the journalism department are super cool and they all have different backgrounds, so you learn from them.

Favorite classes you’ve taken?

Jenny: Advanced Multimedia, Intercultural Communication, Music and Film.

Nick: Feature Writing and News Reporting.

Karla: Media Design with Danny Paskin and Women, Religion, and Spirituality. Those are my top right now.

Is senioritis real or a myth?

Jenny: It can be real but it’s procrastination that gets to everyone.

Nick: It’s real. Graduation is weeks away and I’m just counting down the days.

Karla: It is real, I don’t know how many times I can count that I fall asleep during an assignment and I won't even complete it until a few minutes before class.

What will be the hardest thing to say goodbye to?

Jenny: The friends that I made and not being able to see them every day.

Nick: Having the luxury of always being on campus and having access to things students get like computers.

Karla: The friends that I made in classes and waking up for classes. Which is weird, but it’s fun. Just that feeling of being a student.