Wise Up

Listen to these pieces of advice from your soon-to-be instructors. They’ve been there, done that.

I want incoming freshmen to be prepared to work hard, to expect to spend at least two hours out of class studying for every hour of class time. College is very different from high school: Students are not forced to come to classes or do their homework and, generally, their professors will not intervene if they choose not to.

The professors at Chico State are committed to helping students any way they can. Find out the office hours of your professors and visit them early in the semester. For example, you can inquire as to your instructors’ policies regarding late or missed homework, papers and exams. If you have classes during a professor’s office hours, try to set up an appointment.

Thomas Mattman

Chico State mathematics professor






Wise Up
Be careful what you sign; the fine print matters. Watch where you park, but go to the park often. And get to know your professors; it is hard to flunk someone you know well.

Get involved. There are so many good groups, events and opportunities in Chico. Leave your door open. You will meet a lot of new people. Some will be lifelong friends; others, well, mark your stuff and keep serial numbers in a safe place.

Be smart. A slow academic start, MIP or bad habit can be hard to overcome later. Plan on studying abroad and getting involved in community service learning programs.

Make Chico a better place because you were here.

Paul Persons

Chico State political-science professor






Wise Up
Reflect critically and thoughtfully upon what you really want out of your experience in college. First, set some realistic, short-term goals. Next, plan to meet each one of your professors at least one time during their office hours and chat. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Learning is always personal.

Finally, all complex concept learning includes purposeful, engaged, self-directed study. Initiate study sessions with peers and engage in dialogue about what you are learning. Create a brand new self-image: you as college graduate. Enjoy living the life of the mind!

Paula M. Selvester

Chico State education professor






Wise Up
Dr. Guillermo Rojas, chair of the Chicano Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, used to say to me: “Young people don’t take the time to listen to the stories of their elders.” Of course, the older I get, the more sense this makes to me!

I took his advice to heart and try to make time to hear stories from older family members, friends, colleagues or strangers, no matter how many times I may have heard them before. Once elders pass on, the experience of their live-storytelling is lost forever, but those stories are invaluable and something you can share with the next generation.

Susan Green

Chico State Chicano studies and history professor






Wise Up
Show up; follow directions; learn to think for yourself and be sure to enjoy the journey! Your first year of college will be filled with challenges. You’re in school to learn to think; your education is not just the means to an end. Attend class and question constantly; get to know your teachers—ask them for help. But accept responsibility for your own performance and follow through with course expectations. Organize your time; don’t procrastinate. Somewhere on your journey, find what you love to do. But don’t just dream about it; find the means to make it a great trip!

Marianne Warner

Butte College dean of the Language Arts Dept.






Wise Up
One piece of advice I can give is: Make sure you don’t confine your educational experience to the classroom and the campus. Get out and see the world—you can learn as much or more out on the American road or traveling in other countries as you can on the CSUC campus.

Attending classes and doing your homework are obviously important steps in your development, but saving money and using your spare time (winter break, spring break, summer) for adventuring can lead to real intellectual breakthroughs—to say nothing of exotic social encounters. So save up, get a backpack, and hit the road to wherever your interests and your instincts take you.

Robert Archer

Chico State history professor






Wise Up
A great prof at Chico State once told me, “Drink lots of beer, read lots of books, and talk fearlessly about everything.” The truth of what he had said—avoid the hard stuff, do more than mere homework and prepare to be articulate—arrived after the demise of Pioneer Week and long before the St. Patrick’s brouhaha became National Projectile Vomiting Day. Now, consider this: Find real teachers and make them teach you how to think, rather than what to believe, and your inevitable flirtations with sloth and excess can lead to better places than jail or the White House.

Phillip Hemenway

Butte College English instructor






Wise Up
It’s time to let go of the past: This is when no one cares about your SAT score, if you were an all-league athlete or not, that you were a bedwetter or bully, let alone your teen acne and angst. It’s all about who you are now.

These are your warp-speed years of adventure and redemption: Exorcise your old demons and give birth to your healthy adult persona. Don’t be paralyzed by the new or unknown; open your mind and heart to experience unique and extraordinary types of people. Turn down the volume on your parents’ ghostly voices; go your own way and investigate different ways of thinking.

This moment and forevermore are when you begin to design, practice and perfect your own flight patterns—face-plants, crash landings and all. Go take a big bite and fly on, Little Wing!

Mark McKinnon

Butte College English instructor






Wise Up
I fell in love with Chico during a campus visit in 1993. I joined the faculty of Chico State that year, and I’ve lived here ever since. Chico is a warm and friendly community, with a wonderful downtown and excellent university. While overt acts of racism and xenophobia are infrequent, students of color may face bigotry in other concrete albeit subtle forms.I urge students not to allow occasional experiences of intolerance to deter them from enjoying all that Chico has to offer, including its diverse residents, while recognizing prejudice as a symptom of much larger hierarchies that maintain power and privilege. Also, check out spaces such as MEChA, Food Not Bombs and spoken-word events.

Frank Li

Chico State English and English as a second llanguage professor






Wise Up
Although students occasionally party too hard, almost everyone admires them. So love yourself but earn it. Don’t disappoint yourself by failing courses you could have aced.

• Get a jump start by purchasing used texts before the semester begins. You’ll typically get homework right away in college.

• Consider taking a study skills course.

• Don’t fall behind at any time.

• Don’t miss a single assignment or deadline.

• Party lightly. Many students aren’t wise enough to prioritize.

• Live fully. Love deeply, laugh deeply, study deeply.

Joe Abbott

Butte College reading instructor






Wise Up
Get your bearings! (Mind you, I personally have absolutely no sense of direction.) Literally and abstractly, figure out where you stand in this community. Test many roads, make wrong turns, back up, look at this place from an aerial view and crawl around in the dirt. Intelligence comes to those who strive to make connections between things. And, write to your mother. Often.

Sheri Simons

Chico State professor of art and art history






Wise Up
Your first semester will be a time of adjustment, so take courses that you know you can do well in. I think it is a mistake to consider the course list a smorgasbord table. Don’t take physics because it’s something you always wanted to do. Do take history because you always got A’s in high school. If you treat school as a full-time job, you will have great success. Set aside at least 40 hours a week, every week, for being in class and for homework. That leaves 70 hours for sleeping and 98 hours for fun.

Remember that you are paying for classes, so why would you cut a class? It would be like going to a restaurant and paying for a meal and leaving before it is served.

Glen Bleske

Chico State journalism professor






Wise up
Be yourself, be organized, be prepared, and be honest! Know your strengths and weaknesses and plan your semester. Create a calendar (examinations, field trips and days when you will have to miss class): Everyone is on the same schedule, and when Professor X has an exam in week five, chances are Professors Y and Z will have one! Prepare to work: The university is not high school but a job! Be honest with yourself: A famous statement from ancient Greece was Gnothi se auton ("Know thyself"). True thousands of years ago, true today, and true for the rest of your lives!

Charlie Urbanowicz

Chico State anthropology professor