Saturday, April 30, 2011

No room for privacy.

Gain a roommate and sacrifice your privacy.  It's not ideal but that's how it works when you get to college.  If you're lucky, you'll have a roommate that seems to venture out when you're having your 'me time', however, it's pretty unlucky for most students to get this lucky every single time they need to get changed or make a phone call.  Surprisingly enough, people seem to get used to sharing their intimate lives with their roommates.

Juliana Verdugo, 18-year-old child development major, says, "I'd rather be alone sometimes, just for certain things.  Sleeping's not an issue, just alone time like getting out of the shower and putting on clothes instead of having to dress while wrapped up in a towel... stuff like that."

On the contrary, Nimna Jayamanne doesn't feel as much resentment towards privacy issues.  "She's not always there so it works out well," she says about her roommate.  Nimna, a 20-year-old international studies student, is on exchange from Japan and, therefore, has different reasons for enjoying the maximum time that she can get from living with someone.  "For me, I can study English better when having a roommate," she says.  "It really helps."

A typical Los Cerritos Hall dorm room,
 shared with a roommate. 
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.
Living in dorm rooms strikes the question - is absolute privacy with everything we do completely necessary?  Or can we survive well enough without it all the time.  That's something that you'll have to figure out as a weakness or a redundancy in your college life.

Unhygienic hygiene habits.

Sometimes a person can feel even dirtier after washing up than they did beforehand.  This can be solved with the simple and considerate behaviour of cleaning up after yourself when using the toilets, bath, showers, sinks or basically anything else in the shared dorm bathrooms.  It sounds easy enough, right?  Then why is it only sometimes being done?

Tiffaney Anongdeth has no trouble in listing the two most disgusting things that she discovers in the Los Cerritos Hall bathrooms.  "I hate it when girls pee all over the seat and leave gross things in the sink," she vents.  The 18-year-old nursing student is referencing the habit that some people tend to have of washing their dishes in the bathroom sinks and leaving the leftovers to clog up the drains.

Mel Bird, 20-year-old maths and physics major, doesn't have as many issues as this in the International House.  "I actually have no quarms about sharing the bathroom.  I haven't had any issues with others.  I've never had to deal with anything other than what I deal with sharing the bathroom with my family at home," she says.  Although there has been one incident that wasn't so pleasant for anybody: "We did have someone who left a hair ball in the drain every time they showered but that stopped when the drain got clogged and we had to get maintenance in."

It's a little thing called respect for others and, sadly, some people aren't as fluent in bathroom etiquette as they perhaps should be when sharing so many personal facilities with a building full of other people.  Here's a great life motto - treat people how you would like to be treated!

The first floor bathroom sinks and toilets in the
West wing of Los Cerritos Hall.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

Welcome to the International House.

If you're looking to meet an international exchange student, this is the place to go.  The I-House, as fellow occupants abrieve it to, is set out as more of a luxurious layour than the other, more basic and traditional buildings, located closest to the campus exit at the end of Beach Drive.  Many students hope and wonder what it would be like to be lucky enough to experience this type of on campus living.  Here are a few of the pros and cons of the International House from occupants of the dormitory rooms inside:

The International House is built in a more
modern and stylish architectural way.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

Hanna Villa, 18-year-old psychology student, describes the good points of living here, saying, "There's always activities like movie night going on and it's a nice dorm house, not like the regular ones.  I really like the fact that you room with international people from differenct cultures and everybody hangs out together."  What's not to like?  Well, according to Hanna, "It's really quiet most of the time.  Everyone seems to be doing their own thing, like being really busy with school work or something.  Also, there's no A/C so it gets really hot in Summer time or whenever the sun is out."

Alex Montoy, 19-year-old electrical engineering student, has pretty similar views about the International House, loving it all the same.  He says, "You get to meet people from all over the globe and the house is pretty isolated from the rest of the campus."  His personal negative on living with international students is that, "People develop a relationship with each other, then are forced to go their different ways."

The International House is home to many
exchange students from all over the world,
partnered with American roommates.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

Kelo Akalamudo, 18-year-old computer science student, agrees about the love for meeting new and interesting people: "You get to meet a lot of different people of other cultures and nationalities and get to learn all about them.  The downside of living there is that everybody is always in your business."

So if the International House appeals to you, the smart thing to do is to get your housing application in as soon as possible - it's definitely the most popular place for living!

Rules and regulations. Fair or frustrating?

Just like living with your parents, there are certain rules,  regulations and things that are forbidden, either completely or to an extent, when housing on campus at CSULB.  Some of these include the possession of alcohol or recreational drugs by you or your guests, smoking indoors, having members of the opposite sex in your room after 2:00am, and more.  It may sound like a detention camp but is it really all that bad to students living on campus?

Minji Park, 22-year-old journalism student doesn't think so.  "I'm pretty happy about it, I mean it's not that strict but it's not that free," she says. 
Smoke detectors embedded in the walls of
the Los Cerritos hallway to protect students
from fires, as well as catch smokers.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed

Andrew Mussett, 21-year-old kineseology student has a different view on the matter.  "I think the rules would be okay if they weren't governed so tightly and the consequences weren't so harsh.  I've been written up twice this year for being in a room where there has been alcohol, when I myself was not even drinking.  Alcohol is part of college and making the campus a dry one, in my opinion, can potentially ruin people's experience of college and may even be the main reason why this is a commuter college.  Also, you would think we would get a bit more freedom from the exorbitant amount of money we have to pay to live here."
Anthony Haines, 20-year-old business administration and finance student, has a similar opinion on the prohibition of alcohol.  He considers the safety side of the situation, saying, "I think that it would be better to drink here than off campus because there's more supervision." 

One side of a Los Cerritos Hall dorm
 room.  No people of the opposite sex are to
 be in the dorm rooms ater 2:00 am.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed
It's not uncommon for these rules to be broken but there is some skill needed if you plan on getting away with it.  Some words of advice:  Think twice about rebelling... The punishments can be quite serious, ranging from three hour meetings to being kicked out of your dorm.  Good luck!

The burden of clean clothes.

Laundry day.  The dreaded day for almost any student living on campus at California State University, Long Beach.  If you're lucky, it will be over and done with in a minimum of one hour and 45 minutes - no waiting required.  However, that rarely ever happens with each dormitory building only having one to two laundry rooms.

The washing machines in the West wing
of the Los Cerritos Hall laundry room.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.
The anger and frustration that can arise due to laundry facilities is unbelievable.  Azalea Mayes is a 19-year-old international studies student, living in Los Cerritos Hall, where there are three washing machines and three dryers in each of the two laundry rooms and says that her biggest annoyances are,

"When there are no open washers and you have to wait forever for one to finish.  Then, the owner of the laundry doesn't come and remove it from the machine until they're ready.  I've seen girls get so pissed off with waiting so long that they'll grab the clothes out themselves and put them on top of the washer so that they can start their own." 

A student removing her clothing
from the dryer in theWest wing of
the Los Cerritos Hall laundry room.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.
Asmita Deswal, 19-year-old philosophy pre-law student, has the same issues and more.  "It's ridiculous that we have to pay to use the machines," she says,

"Especially after spending so much money to live here.  The machines should be included."  Although it only costs $1 per washing machine load and 50 cents per dryer use, the fact that students can only pay with card and not coins makes the system all the more frustrating.  Not to mention, washing detergent won't buy itself. 

Yes, the laundry system definitely could be better at CSULB but, for the meantime, people are just going to have to learn how to be more patient as well as more considerate to the poor people who are waiting, in their filthy clothes, for your laundry to be cleared from the room.

Being a resident assistant - not all fun and games!

Residence building B.  Every dormitory has it's own
resident assistant.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

Free housing and food for the entire semester.  Sounds pretty good, hey!  Although definitely worth it financially, being a resident assistant isn't nearly as easy going as it sounds.  An abundance of time, energy and patience is consumed in emotionally or physically helping out students in need, as well as ensuring that everybody is behaving themselves in relation to the dormitory rules and social manners towards other dorm occupants.  If that doesn't give you an insight to how exhausting it can be, take it from resident assistants Michelle and Melissa...

Michelle is a 21-year-old art and film major and has learnt just how restricting her job can be.  "The most annoying thing about being an RA would probably be not having the freedom to just go whenever I want and leave campus.  I have certain hours that I have to be here so I can't just leave when I want to.  I always have to check in with someone or check out so everybody knows whether I'm on campus or off campus."  However,not only does she have to stay nearby for a majority of the time but, while she does so, she rarely gets a moment to herself.  "It's pretty much a 24/7 job.  There's not certain hours that I'm working per say, it's just pretty much that I live on campus when I work.  Plus the middle of the night lock outs and getting woken up at all hours."

Melissa Hernando, 20-year-old business management major, completely understands the difficulties of being a resident assistant.  "I would say the biggest thing is that it's hard to get away and find your own space because you're constantly dealing with other people's problems.  A lot of the freshman that come here feel homesick and miss their parents a lot.  I feel like a lot of them think that a resident assistant is their parent and rely on me more than they should so sometimes it gets difficult to deal with every single problem and still have my own issues.  Plus, it's definitely hard to be confidential.  It's hard being the person to vent to and not be able to tell anyone," she says.  What kind of problems does she have to deal with from students?  "A lot of them don't get along with their roommates in the beginning and they fight over such small things that they need to learn how to compromise on because they need to get used to not being on their own anymore.  Also, some of them don't really know how to control themselves at times and they'll come back drunk and doing crazy things.  Usually the freshmen."

The recreation area of Los Cerritos Hall.  Resident
assistants are sure to be found nearby this area.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

It all sounds a lot harder from a resident assistant's opinion.  However, if you think you can juggle all of these responsibilities without running out of patience then maybe you're just the person for the job!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The taste of CSULB

There is no argument in saying that the three dining halls at California State University, Long Beach provide an enormous abundance and variety of food for students each day, for every meal.  However, one theory created by students is that 'quality over quantity' is not at all a rule that the chefs abide by.

A sample of the variety of food available
in the dining halls on campus.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

There are five weekly meal cycles that vary between each dining hall and ensure that no two days contain the exact same menu.  Students are all given a residential dining booklet to allow them to know in advance which hall is serving what food, therefore giving them the choice of where they would like to eat.

The salad bar located in the Residential Dining
Hall, consisting of numerous types of
vegetables, cheeses and dressings.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

Parkside Dining Hall and Residence Dining Hall both contain a salad bar, dessert area, condiments, hot food section, sandwich bar, cereal area and rotating bar which varies depending on the day of the week.  However, the Residential Learning College, located off campus and reachable by shuttle, has its own pizza section and burger area in place of the rotating bar.

It's fair to say that everybody's taste buds are different, but most of the student body at CSULB tend to lean the same way with their opinions of dining hall food:
"It's poor, I don't like it," says 20-year-old marketing major, Matt Tsimos.  Plain and simple.  Tyler Konishi, 19-year-old international business major elaborates on this.  "I feel that it gets boring.  Some days it's very good and the food is prepared well but other days it's poorly prepared and I just leave the dining hall," he says.

Ashley Barrett gives the campus chefs a little more credit than the others.  The 20-year-old human development major says, "I feel like it's gotten better over the years.  Salmon night is the best night.  I hate it when they do Mexican night, unless it's a themed dinner."  She ends her opinion of Mexican night with vomiting noises.

A group of students socialising during lunch time at
the Residential Dining Hall.
Photo by Ashleigh Mehmed.

Happy eating!