The Peace And Excitement Of Starting At CSUF

CSUF Irvine campus

As I talked about a number of months ago, this fall I’m starting at Cal. State Fullerton as a junior… 2 years away from finishing my B.S. in Child and Adolescent Development.  That post was in celebration of my official acceptance, but I still had so many questions I needed to answer: how many of my classes would be offered at the Irvine campus, how does the credential program work, how much is this going to cost me?  It’s been a flurry of information and understanding over the last couple of weeks, but my questions (those mentioned above, and more) have all been answered.  Beyond the calm that comes with being in-the-know, I’ve stumbled onto another emotion – excitement :).

First of all, back on June 8th, I went to the transfer orientation seminar at the actual CSUF campus.  Years ago I might’ve considered taking the easier way out, and just doing it online (the orientation is mandatory for enrollment), but I wanted to meet my fellow classmates, get my questions answered in person, and check out the school – even if I never/rarely step foot on it.  The orientation was broken up into three parts, the main introductory section and two smaller meetings specifically for our major.  When I first walked into the large hall, I was pointed to the tables marked #3, which were designated for the Child and Adolescent Development (CHAD) major.  I could easily see the markers for #4 and #5, elsewhere in the room, but I didn’t have any problem finding my area – it was the one filled with 97% women.  My table and I joked about that fact, and I’m sure it’ll be a common joke for the rest of my time in the major (heck, even my career), but we also chatted about what we want to do once we’re out in the field, and it was good fun.  The school really did a very nice job of laying out a bunch of information in a way that wasn’t cheesy nor boring.  We eventually split into our smaller groups, to talk about our specific majors, and beyond getting all of my questions answered (without having to even ask), I was really very pleased to see just how planned out my major is – the school provides a very thorough map of what to take and when, and a few days later I went through the course catalog and pretty much planned out my next 2 years.. at least, in terms of what classes to take during each semester.  After adjourning from my final meeting, answers galore running through my head, I decided to take the campus tour, too.  Why not, right?  I learned that the school has a small bowling alley on the grounds, and it was a pretty cool walk around the place, seeing what was offered and taking in the atmosphere – I sort of wish I lived closer so I could go to the main campus more often :).  Before leaving for the day, I took my very sexy school ID picture, and left the college, feeling great about what was in store for me.

This past Sunday, to continue the story of good-tidings, I found out how much I was going to be getting in financial aid.  It’s info I should have had before, actually, but when I was filling out my FAFSA in February, I accidentally set it to go to Saddleback, instead of Fullerton.  So, after I’d fixed my error a couple of days before, I decided to check in and see if it had gone through, yet, and I was greeted by a sum far larger than I was necessarily expecting.  You don’t need to know how much it is, but I was absolutely humbled and sighed such a huge breath of relief when I saw the total.  CSUF is a public school, and it isn’t exactly one of the priciest, but I was counting on seeking out other scholarships to help with the overall cost.  Of course, I wasn’t sure just how much school was going to cost, but with this help, I knew I was going to be more than able to pay for it without dipping into loan-territory.

Wednesday night I hung out with Korkie (bowling, trying to find Ding Dongs), and on my way home I stopped by the CSUF Irvine campus, just to see exactly where it was.  While the tour of the grounds in Fullerton was really fun, it was something else to finally see the campus where I’d be spending most, if not all, of my next 2 years (because my major is offered entirely in Irvine).  It was late at night, so I just drove through the parking lot, but seeing it in person, along with the fact that the campus is literally just a short walk away from the Irvine Spectrum, made me smile :).  My excitement hadn’t peaked yet, though…

Yesterday, after eagerly waiting with my intended classes in the online shopping cart for the last couple of weeks, I registered for my first classes.  I had to do it on my perfectly-timed break at work, since I didn’t want to risk the classes filling up, but it was all done in a matter of minutes.  So, as of right now, I am officially enrolled in my first four university classes.. all of which are at the Irvine campus.  And, to top it all off, after seeing my grand total owed for the semester, I was able to figure out the per-class cost… and if my financial aid reward is the same for next year, I’m getting a free ride to college :).

When I figured that out, you couldn’t have smacked the smile off me with a wildebeest tied to a stick.  It was that Ed Harris reaction at the end of Apollo 13… in the midst of the jumping and cheers around him, he takes a thankful moment of relief and sits down.  This entire road toward teaching has been the easiest journey of my entire life, and it’s a wonderful testimony to how God can work in our lives.  It all started when I decided to pursue this teaching endeavor less than a week before classes began at Saddleback, and I somehow made it into every class I wanted – 15 unit’s worth.  Absolutely everything has gone just as smoothly, and it would be foolhardy to believe that God hasn’t been a guiding hand through it all.  I have felt consistently humbled by this fact.  As I said before, nothing has every gone so continuously well for me, and that only makes this all the more exciting!  It’s a curious thought, my actually being excited about going to school, but I really can’t wait :).  I’m quite giddy about it all, truthfully… and this has me wanting to join clubs or take part in academic-related social activities.  I barely graduated high school because I was sick of it all, and now I’m using words like “giddy” to describe how I feel about starting my final college years at a 4-year university.

I have a feeling these next few years are going to fly by, too… but considering what things lie ahead of me afterwards – I’m okay with that :).


About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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