Shakhzoda Khodjakhonova, ’23, is attending California State University, Long Beach, and is majoring in Finance.
Q: Why did you choose to attend California State University, Long Beach?
A: What I liked about CSU Long Beach was the weather and the location. I’m right next to downtown LA, so I feel like I have a lot of educational opportunities.
I also liked the CSUB moot court program Long Beach has. CSUB moot court is a program similar to mock trial. We compete between colleges. You are doing trials on an appellate level, so you are either the petitioner or the respondent. Moot court is literally like a pre-trial.
I will hopefully join it for the spring 2024 recruitment season and stay on that team until I graduate. I’ve always wanted to try out the moot court. I have heard about it and saw how different it is because I had been doing mock trial at Country Day for two years.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: At the beginning of the year I was very determined to take between 15 and 18 units, but the more I thought about it, I was like, “I should let myself have time to adapt to the college environment because I’ve never been there.” So, I opted for 12 units just to see how I’m going to do and what I can handle.
Right now, for my first semester, I took 12 classes. My first class was English 100, the second was Philosophy 101 and the third class was Statistics 118, all introductory classes. My hardest class, but my favorite, was Intro to Business and Law 220.
Intro to Business and Law 220 is a lecture class. Each chapter we go over is a class in law school and we see how they apply in the business world. Like how it would apply to a corporate company. She gives us four homework assignments, and the majority of our grade is tests.
Q: What is your smallest class?
A: My English 100 A. There are fewer than 30 people which is nice because we get to discuss and have a professor bond.
Q: What is your largest class?
A: My Philosophy class. It has, like, 136 people. I have to get there 15 minutes early before class. My classes don’t start at 8:20 in the morning anymore, so I’m just not in a rush. I’m not 30 minutes away from school. I’m five minutes away, 10 minutes max.
Oh, yeah, I come to class early now. If anyone is reading my story, let all the teachers know, especially Dr. Whited and Mr. Hinojosa.
Q: Are you part of any clubs?
A: I’m part of the CSULB Finance Management Association club.
I’m also in the CSULB Surf Club. I met some friends a couple of weeks back. I saw them at 11 p.m. at a parking lot and I walked up to them and I was like, “Hey, could I go surfing with you guys?” I picked up surfing from there. Now, I go surfing every Friday at Bolsa Chica State Beach.
I also got into a program at the beginning of the year called the OURS Connect program. It’s a volunteering research program. Right now, I’m trying to start on research for my next semester.
Q: How do you like college so far?
A: I love it. This might be a bit controversial to say, but college is so much easier than high school. I’m less stressed. I go to sleep by midnight. I get to plan out my days. I can choose whatever my classes are, which is so nice because that means I can balance my stuff out.
In high school, I barely had time to do anything else besides extracurriculars, mock trial and academics, but here, I can focus on so many more other things besides academics, and it’s amazing.
People say that college is hard, but I think those people just don’t know how to manage time. I have gotten so much better at time management and I haven’t procrastinated at all since I got here.
Q: How do you manage your time in college?
A: I think it is just a mindset thing. Have a goal in your mind. For me, it is law school. I want to go to the best law school, like a Top 14 law school. Every time I feel like I’m being lazy, I remind myself what I am here for. It drives me to be like, “Okay, you should probably just get started.”
Once you get into that mindset, you’re just gonna get your stuff done. I get all my homework done by the latest Friday afternoon. If I have work to do, and it’s a weekday, I am going to do my work before I go hang out with anyone.
My biggest issue in high school was that I would work late into the night. I pulled more than 10 all-nighters junior year. I don’t do homework past 6-8 p.m. anymore. I don’t stay up late anymore. I can’t do it. My brain is just fried if I do it.
Q: Do you dislike anything about college?
A: Dorming and bathrooms. I love my roommate — she’s amazing and we are pretty similar people, but I love my alone time so much more. For me to recharge, I have to be in an alone setting for a prolonged period, and I can’t do that as much when I’m in college. The general idea of living with someone is not the most ideal living situation for me.
Also, the communal bathrooms. I just hate them. I have to share it with, like, 16 people.
Q: What surprised you about CSULB?
A: I did not think I would be walking as much as I do. There’s a shuttle that takes us to the classes, but even with that, you have to walk so much. The first month was so annoying. I was so close to getting a scooter. Now I’m used to it.
Q: How has your transition been from Country Day?
A: It’s pretty easy. At Country Day, it’s so easy to make close relationships with teachers, where you are best friends. I don’t think I am going to make those relationships here. It would be much harder because it’s professors and they know so many students. I just got all my professors to memorize my name.
Q: Has Country Day prepared you for college?
A: Yeah, I’m not struggling. I think that’s a sign of good preparation. I know how to communicate with my teachers. I think mock trial had a lot to do with it. I’m more confident in everything I do. A lot of freshmen coming into college are not as confident and I feel like I have the upper hand because I’m very confident. I am very grateful for that.
Q: Do you have any advice for the class of ’24?
A: Don’t overthink everything. Don’t think you’re going to fail because your thoughts become reality. Just be super confident. Keep your head up. I guess your college life just goes way better if you are confident or at least faking to be confident. For the first week, I’m not going to lie, I was faking it a little bit.