Samantha Friesen

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California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo

Gregori Class of 2017

Sociology

Weighted GPA at Gregori: Above 4.0

SAT Composite Score (1600 Scale): 1260

Extracurriculars at Gregori: Key Club, Global Club, Mock Trial, Pole Vault


When choosing between colleges, how did you decide amongst the colleges that you were accepted into?

I didn't know anything about Cal Poly, even after I got accepted, but once I visited the campus over winter break and took a quick tour, I really got excited about the way the school works and the programs they offered. Not to mention San Luis Obispo is set in a pretty nice location, nestled in between the mountains and ocean.

What would you personally say are your school's strengths?

Cal Poly excels in specific programs and majors they offer, the most well-known being architecture and engineering. However, Cal Poly is dedicated to developing the skills of each of the students to be prepared for the workforce after they graduate. Living out the school's motto "Learn by doing", every aspect of life here at Cal Poly is centered around learning to do things with a hands-on approach.

How accessible are administrators, registrars, professors, teaching assistants, etc.?

Cal Poly's campus houses a variety of readily available resources and they make sure to know you are always welcome to stop by and ask any questions you may have, or help you may need. Professors are always happy to help you understand anything whether it's a quick question after class, or stopping by their office hours. Even in larger lecture classes, the professors are accessible, it is just a matter of not being afraid to go up to them, introduce yourself, and ask your questions.

What are the classes like? Are they more lecture-based or discussion-based? Do you often partake in group projects?

The style of classes are dependent upon both your major and whether the class is a lower division and GE or an upper division, major class; as well as the professor themselves. Most GE classes are going to be fairly strictly lecture-based, with discussion questions thrown in every now and then. When it comes to group projects, it depends on the professor and their style of teaching, for example, my comparative societies divided the class curriculum into group projects per chapter with a lecture coinciding with the particular chapter the group presented on. Whereas my GE classes are lecture-based without any projects or one larger individual project.

What is one thing that you wished you knew before you started at your university?

Before starting school I wish I knew that you are going to meet so many new people all once and one of the best ways to feel more at home and succeed academically is to just start creating relationships with everyone. Whether you met them through an orientation group, your residence hall, or your classes, there are so many different people who are all in the same boat of figuring out where they fit into college. I've found that saying hi to the people you end up sitting next to in classes is a great way to form a study group, and having people to hang out with in the passing time makes college feel less intimidating.

How would you describe the location of your college? (climate, weather, etc.) Would you describe it as a college town? (urban, suburban, rural) Does the location allow for activities outside of campus? (farmer's markets, concerts, etc.)

Cal Poly is in such a great location both with its geographic area and it's climate. A typical day will be cooler in the morning and evenings around 60 degrees and can end up anywhere from the 70s to 90s in the middle of the day. San Luis Obispo is most definitely a college town with almost all of its population either college students or retirees. Downtown SLO is the best place to go with friends and try out new places to eat or study, and Thursday night Farmer's Markets are totally worth the hype. It's so easy to grab some friends and hop on the bus or just walk downtown and nearly everyone you meet is so friendly and welcoming. SLO is called the happiest city in America for a reason.

What types of clubs are offered on campus? Are you involved in any?

Cal Poly has over 300 clubs on campus ranging from the academic/major based clubs to more relaxed and fun clubs like the Hammocking club. Currently I am still finding clubs to get really involved with, some of which include: Cru, Social Studies Club, Swing Dancing, PolyEscapes, and a few others.

Are you able to talk to your professors on a one-on-one basis? Are office hours available to help you with questions with course-work?

Cal Poly runs on what we call "Poly time" where everything begins 10 after the hour, including lectures and other classes. For one thing, this gives those slower walkers more time to get from class to class, as well as allowing time to go up and talk to your professor for a few minutes after class. With more in-depth questions, office hours are great. You can go in and get to know your professor on a more personal level which helps in the long run of grades and actually understanding the curriculum since larger GE classes are going to mostly be lecture-based with daily reading assignments.

If you are far away from home, do you ever feel homesick? How do you balance relationships with family and friends from home?

San Luis Obispo is about 4 hours away from home, so I consider it a happy medium of being far enough away to learn to be independent and close enough not to feel completely disconnected with friends and family back home. One thing some of my friends always mentioned, but I never completely understood until I got to college, was that keeping relationships with friends is a lot of work. Even with some of my best friends from back home, I find myself having to specifically set out time to talk because there is always something going on in college. Fortunately phones give me immediate access to text or snapchat my friends, and I find that setting out that time from the rest of my schedule to facetime or call a friend or family member helps me stay on top of keeping up with relationships without feeling overwhelmed with studying, and college activities and friendships.