Marvelina Barcelo is the co-director of the Transfer Center and a member of the iFALCON grant team.
My college experience at UC Santa Barbara is one I will treasure forever. Linking up to student activities and student support resources prepared me for college, but there are definitely a few things I would have done differently. Check out how I iFALCONed in college!
My Best Practices:
Attending orientation-learned how to register for classes via the telephone, read the schedule of classes and meet other students in my major.
Exploring the EOP office my first semester-became familiar with student organizations through bulletin boards and the counseling services available to me
Linking up to a student organization-started off as a member and eventually held the position of President my junior and senior year.
Linking up to the Career Center-learned how to create a resume and obtain internships.
Linking up to Tutoring Services-learned to write papers for some of my general education classes.
Keeping up with Educational Goal-stayed up-to-date with general education and major requirements to satisfy graduation requirements
Networking with 2nd, 3rd & 4th year students-learned the college system quicker.
My Not-So Best Practices:
Attending a 3-day orientation-cancelled a one-week orientation to attend a three-day orientation; I could have met a lot more students outside of my major before the quarter started.
Selecting classes based on a student’s opinion of “easier grading”– Enrolled in a class that was graded as 50% midterm and 50% final. Much more difficult! The history class was The Nile River. Not my cup of tea!
Selecting classes based on what friends were adding -continued to take Chicano Studies classes when I should have kept taking more Sociology courses; after all, that was my major.
Arranging class schedule over 2 days out of the week-jammed all my classes in two days to give me 2 full days for my internship; instead I was more exhausted and left homework to the very end. Not such a bad idea to spread out the classes.
Selecting a night class that meets once a week-learned that my energy was in the morning. I dreaded attending my night class, never again!
Picking random professors to write letters of recommendation-waited until the last minute to find a professor to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school.
Regardless of whether you have a college role model in your life to help you navigate the college system, it is important to adopt, carry and apply the skill of networking. Most of my best practices have to do with allowing myself to learn new things by virtue of networking. I did not have someone to walk me through the college system, but my networking skills made it easier to navigate the college and succeed. Looking back at my not-so best practices in college, I would have to say that my researching skills needed improvement. I lacked the initiative to investigate things on my own that were in my best interest in the long term. I could have looked up course descriptions in the General Catalog to find general education classes more suitable to my interest, had discussions with a counselor or peer mentor on how to plan classes that matched my energy level versus what looked better on paper and looked into how to prepare for graduate school.
So how do you keep up with your iFALCONing?
Career Services – assistance with choosing a major and making career decisions
Student Activities – student clubs
Academic Support Center (ASC) – Tutoring and study skills workshops
General Catalog – course descriptions and program requirements
Online Orientation – orientation to the college
Programs/Majors – program/major requirements