Photo courtesy of Amaya Anguiano

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Amaya Anguiano, ’23, pursues urban planning at CSU Monterey Bay

Amaya Anguiano, ’23, started her freshman year at California State University, Monterey Bay, and is majoring in Environmental Science Technology and Policy.

Q: Why did you choose to attend California State University, Monterey Bay?

A: I really liked the location of CSU Monterey Bay. I thought it was a good distance from home, and I liked how it was near the beach. Another big part was the Environmental Science program.`

Q: How did you choose that major?

A: During my sophomore year, I did my sophomore project on redlining, the practice of denying a creditworthy applicant a loan for housing. I wanted to find a way to make sure everyone was housed without damaging the environment. That sparked my interest in urban planning. 

So when I was looking at what the school had to offer, I wanted to make sure that I had an environmental background so I could use that to possibly develop cities in the future.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: I’m taking environmental writing, chemistry, pre-calculus and a first-year seminar.

Q: What’s your favorite class?

A: My favorite class has to be my first-year seminar. It’s kind of like a speech class. We do three individual, short, five-minute speeches every two weeks. We get to choose our own topics; the only general guideline is the speech needs to talk about the environment. 

I really like my professor — he teaches the class in a way where we can study whatever we actually want to learn. You could say that it’s student-led. He’s pretty lenient, so if you don’t like your topic or just want to change it, you could easily discuss it with him. 

So far, I’ve only done three speeches. My favorite one is the first speech that I presented. It was about finding motivation when you’re fresh out of high school. It can be tough when you have to start setting goals for yourself.

Q: Would you say the homework load is easier compared to high school?

A: No, I wouldn’t say it’s easier; it’s definitely a heavier workload. I can’t say exactly how many hours I spend on homework a night since some nights I will just prioritize sleep, while others I’m doubling down on homework. 

There is around four hours of homework per day. There’s quizzes in math every Tuesday and Thursday in addition to writing papers and studying for other classes. It’s a pretty big deal since most of our grade is homework.

Q: Are there typically school events near the beach?

A: There aren’t many school events at the beach, although there was one at the beginning of the year where the whole school took a “cold plunge,” which essentially means that the whole school goes into the ocean at about 9 a.m. Otherwise, it’s mostly just me and my friends hanging out at the beach. We go once every few weeks but we don’t tend to go into the water since it’s cold.

Q: Has anything interesting happened on campus?

A: Yes, actually, a few weeks ago, high schoolers started touring the campus and there was a group of high school kids just sitting outside of our dorm window. My roommate and I waved to them, and they asked if they could come up and see what the dorms looked like. We let them and there were probably around 15 high school students in our dorm at once.

Q: What’s something you dislike about college so far?

A: The campus food. It might not be the worst food out there, but it is not good. If I had to rate it, I would give it a two out of 10, and that’s me being generous. It tastes like nothing; to put it simply, it’s just “mid.”

Q: How is college different from Sacramento Country Day?

A: The biggest difference is probably the connection between students. Chemistry is my largest class and it has about 150 students. Since it’s a lecture hall, there aren’t many interactions between students, which is the biggest difference I feel regarding Country Day. We don’t talk much in that class since we’re just being lectured. If you have questions or anything, it’s the student’s responsibility to make those connections with the teacher. 

Although, my school is pretty small just like Country Day, so you would know everyone in your grade. Wherever you walk, you will see familiar faces.

Q: How are you adjusting to college life?

A: It was a little difficult at first since you have to learn how to rely on yourself. It’s different from high school — you choose what you want to do and you’re in charge of your daily schedule. I really like how I’m able to discover more of my interests. I’m really enjoying the freedom of having this self-discovery experience. 

Q: Do you have any advice for the class of 2024?

A: The one thing would be when making decisions for which college you’re going to attend, make sure that you’re choosing for yourself and not for anyone else. The last thing you want to do is end up in a college that you don’t even like.

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