Tips from those who come before you

By Beth Casteel, additional reporting by KC Longley

Walking through the doors of the Cleveland State University Student Center on the first official day of classes, saw many first-year students in awe of their newfound surroundings.

As the hustle and bustle commenced, students could be seen looking at printed out schedules, trying to figure out where exactly each building was. While the first day could be considered chaotic at best, fewer looks of awe and printed out schedules could be seen throughout the week once the reality of this new place officially kicked in.

Going into the second week of classes, it occurred to a few staff members of The Cauldron that not everything about the first semester of college can be easy. Between trying to meet new people and navigating the campus, there are a whole slew of things after the initial first week that can come up during a freshman and transfer student’s first semester at this new campus.

Unfortunately, a survival guide to the ins and outs of navigating one’s first year at Cleveland State University isn’t readily available. While a guide to the first year isn’t something that can be purchased, speaking with fellow Vikings who have gone through their first year (and survived) has found itself to be a pretty valuable experience.

While these four students shared similar tales, and anecdotes, of their first year of college, it became evident rather quickly that one’s freshman year can vary for us all. Some became so-called college experts during their first year, while others still are trying to figure it out, and that’s the beauty of the first year experience.

In this feature, readers will find four interviews with a sophomore, a junior and two seniors discussing what they wish they knew during their first year at this university. Additionally, the staff of The Cauldron has put together a list of on-campus resources that would be good for any person affiliated with the campus to know about.

Chau Tang

Senior, Journalism major

What I wish I knew as a freshman:

“[What] I wish I knew [before coming to Cleveland State,] was that you’re going to have to learn time management skills. [You should] try not to procrastinate, because you won’t learn any faster if you do.”

What resources should students take advantage of:

“Whatever you’re majoring in, [I suggest] finding an organization or club where you can network with people. [You should also] talk to your counselor every semester so you can stay on track. [Also], if you need help go to the resume center, they really help with your resumes and interviewing skills.

A tip:

“Honestly, if you want to do something then just do it. Think you’re not good enough? I didn’t think I was either. I still don’t, and I’m a senior, but I will do it anyways.”

Paul Tartaglia

Sophomore, Film major

What I wish I knew as a freshman:

“What I wish I knew before coming to college is the importance of friends.  Even if you have a lot of work, there will always be times where you sit and want something to do.  Without friends, it can become very lonely and isolating…and nobody wants that. Having friends gives you company, but it also allows you to find yourself within the school.  Without the friends I made last year, I would be a hermit, they made me explore the city and learn a lot about myself.”

What resources should students take advantage of:

“I would recommend [students checking out] the Rec Center.  I’m not big into working out, but I do love to run. It keeps my blood flowing and it’s also training for running marathons.  I also enjoy the volleyball courts and ping pong tables. Additionally, I would recommend making use of the city we are in. It’s pretty compact and there is so much to do and explore.”

A tip:

“Take college seriously and learn to balance school and pleasure.  If you have a major that’s super hard and makes you want to die, then maybe that’s a sign you need to switch majors.”

William Allen

Junior, Business, Marketing and Organizational Skills major

What I wish I knew as a freshman:

“Something I wish I knew before coming to Cleveland State, was [learning how to] manage my time, and going to bed at a certain time. Being tired really affected my focus and affected me being able to perform well in that class.”

What resources should students take advantage of:

“A resource that’s pretty good on campus, something I wish I knew going into it, is going to the Student Center. Going to the little computer lab they have. There’s always an individual in there that’s working with the computers, helping people figure out information like printing, sending emails, anything that can help benefit in the class.”

A tip:

“Freshmen should try to get involved with an opportunity on campus that involves them working, like the Call Center or the REC. [It would help] get them familiar with working and also being in school because at some point in your college career, that could something you might have to get used to, so why not get that going in your freshman year?”

Jake Wight

Senior, Computer Engineering major

What I wish I knew as a freshman:

“I wish I knew how diverse and intense Cleveland State can be.”

What resources should students take advantage of:

“[Incoming] students should take advantage of campus activities of any kind, to be involved. Cleveland State seems to have a lot to offer in terms of that, I don’t even know all of them, purely based on the fact that there are so many.”

A tip:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for directions.”

Campus Resources

While Cleveland State is primarily a commuter school, that doesn’t mean the university doesn’t offer various on-campus resources for the students, faculty and staff to take advantage of during their time on campus. Whether those resources be tutoring for classes or seeing a primary physician for general health purposes, there are so many resources that can be taken advantage of during your stay at the university.

Health & Wellness

The Cleveland State Health and Wellness Center is a resource for students to receive varying degrees of medical attention.  At the center, students can get their flu shots, prescriptions, various lab services, and see a primary care physician, with just a visit.

The Center for Innovation in Medical Professions is located in Room 205.

For further information:


Recreation Center (REC) Services

Branding themselves as the place that has “everything you could want in fitness, sports and leisure,” the REC Center is the place that students can stay active and healthy on campus.  For those interested, free fitness classes and massage services are offered. Additionally, those who want a more focused class can join a premium fitness program for a small fee.

For further information:


Office for Institutional


The Office for Institutional Equity is a resource that is responsible for investigating and resolving any and all complaints of “unlawful discrimination, including complaints of sexual, racial and any other types of unlawful harassment.”

For further information:


Administration Center Room 236


TRIO is a service that was created for first generation and low-income college students to help them on their way to graduation. It provides assistance with academic development, college requirements and it provides the support that is needed for getting a college degree.

For further information:



Tutoring and Academic Success Center (TASC)

TASC is a resource on campus that offers free academic help to all undergraduate students. Services include tutoring, success coaching, and working with Supplemental Instruction (SI) and Structuring Learning Assistance (SLA) leaders who work with students one-on-one.

For further information:


MC 233

Ticket Discounts (Student Life)

Students might have heard the saying “city is our campus” a time or two, which might be to do with this organization. Student Life is an organization on campus that offers students discounted tickets for Cleveland’s major sports teams, Playhouse Square shows, the Cleveland Orchestra and a few events happening at Quicken Loans Arena and the Wolstein Center.

For further information:


Counseling Center

The Cleveland State Counseling Center is a resource for students, faculty and staff to receive academic, career and personal counseling.

The Counseling Center has office hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can also be made from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For further information:


1836 Euclid Avenue

UN 220

Counseling and Academic Success Clinic (CASC)

CASC is an additional counseling resource for students that may not need to use the services available at the counseling center, but still feel the need to speak with a counselor on a weekly basis.

For further information:

Main Classroom 215D

Mondays and Tuesdays, 9-5

Wednesdays and Thursdays 9-6


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