Take advice from former and current Cal Poly students and the Bronco Student Center on a smooth transition into the new school year.

Jumping into a new semester can be intimidating.

With add/drop periods, waitlisted classes, financial aid disbursement, housing and other deadlines to deal with, it is easy to get lost in the transition.

Here are a few tips and tricks from current and former students, as well as the Bronco Advising Center, to help make things smoother.

A new school term can be challenging, but there are many ways to get help, such as being proactive, to succeed from the start. (Nicole Goss | The Poly Post)

Know your department

Regardless of the department, there are plenty of opportunities to familiarize oneself with each major.

It is a good idea to conduct research on one’s department and find out if it has any research opportunities or internships to offer.

Alumna Nicole Gage (‘18, physics) said she took part in research projects during her time at CPP to get involved with her major and get hands-on experience in her chosen field.

“If you’re interested in research, kindly bug your professors early on,” Gage said. “They’ll remember your face and name when they have a spot open up down the line.”

Get involved

If it is too soon to think about research or internship opportunities, considering joining clubs that are interesting and correlate with one’s major is wise.

Third-year English student Omar Del Rio stressed the importance of joining clubs and activities on campus.

“Join extracurriculars if possible,” Del Rio said. “Don’t make your college experience just a paid version of high school. It’s the best way to make friends too.”

Del Rio said he takes part in many extracurricular activities including the Bronco Pep Band. He is also a part of the CPP Concert Band.

Most clubs recruit new members every Tuesday and Thursday during U-hour.

There will also be two club fairs this year, on Wednesday, Aug. 22 and Friday, Aug. 24, with hundreds of clubs to join, ranging from the religious, cultural, linguistic, sports and Greek life.

Get organized

It’s important not to lose sight of what one is really here for — to learn.

Investing in a planner to section off time for class, homework, studying and fun is a good idea.

The worst thing one can do is rely on professor emails and announcements about when assignments are due.

Transitioning can be especially difficult for those students who are dorming or living away from home for the first time. Parents are not going to be there to remind one to do simple things like laundry, saving money, keeping things neat and figuring out three meals a day.

Matthew Martino, fourth-year zoology student, talked about how staying at CPP shaped him to become self-reliant.

“CPP has taught me to better manage my time, money and energy,” Martino said. “Being in the college environment allows people to become their true selves and I’m no exception.”

Martino also cautioned fellow students to use their time wisely.

“Time becomes much more valuable in a college setting. Learn to prioritize and you will be successful in college.”

Ask for help

Communication Specialist to the Office of Student Success Zoe Lance stressed the importance of reaching out for help at the Bronco Advising Center (BAC).

“Friends don’t advise friends,” Lance said.

Whether it is questions about class schedules, a hold on BroncoDirect, finances or anything in between, Lance advised students to reach out to their advisors and ask questions instead of waiting until the last minute.

Lance said checking one’s CPP email at least once per day and keeping up with the MyCPP portal can also help students stay updated with class and university events.

For questions and advising during the first week of school, students can visit the BAC, located on the second floor of Building 98, every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It can also be reached via email at bac@cpp.edu, as well as on social media.

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