In the aftermath of conquering the SAT’s, compiling recommendations from professors and writing personal statements that presented the best possible versions of ourselves, it was time to open the email that would decide our collegiate fate. We all remember the anticipation. Immediately following the jubilation of being accepted into San Diego State, however, many incoming freshmen realized the uncharted territory awaited them on the hills of Montezuma.
For psychology freshman Keaujahn’e Polk, setting foot on SDSU’s campus for the first time was a reminder that the college environment was much different from her hometown of Long Beach.
“I had a little bit of a culture shock,” Polk said. “I knew I would I would miss my friends and some of those bonds would be broken.”
Despite her initial reservations, Polk’s efforts to make it to SDSU contributed to her excitement for the new journey ahead of her. With encouragement and support from her parents, three siblings and a small boost from SDSU’s outreach programs, Polk worked hard to put herself in a position for college.
“I really didn’t think I got in, but I was offered a presidential scholarship. Although I didn’t get it, it really pushed me to come,” said Polk. “Then I came to Harambee Weekend, and that really helped. It was cool to see people reaching out to minorities.”
Every year, SDSU’s Cross-Cultural Center hosts Harambee Weekend. The overnight event provides an opportunity for admitted students to interact with other minority students and faculty. Attendees participate in panels, talent shows and get a chance to sleep in the resident halls before Explore SDSU activities begin the following day. Common obstacles freshmen encounter during their first year at SDSU are issues with roommates. Polk, however, utilized her resources and contacted her roommate in University Towers well before the year began.
“When I met (my roommate) it was perfect. I had already gotten her number off the website so I’d been talking to her and I felt like I knew her already,” Polk said. “I was really excited to meet new people, to live in the dorm and be on my own.”
Polk’s preparation didn’t stop there. Another mistake freshmen commonly make is overscheduling classes. With the allure of San Diego’s beaches and the distractions associated with never-ending parties presenting themselves, it is easy to get off to a slow start.
“I had 17 units, but someone told me that was a little too much, so I dropped a few classes. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew,” Polk said.
She also took the time to familiarize herself with the campus.
“I walked around the school to see where my classes were and I retraced my steps to get a good memory,” Polk said. “After the second day I was pretty good, I even found a couple of shortcuts to get to my dorm.”
With a lighter course load and a better understanding of campus, Polk could focus on school and her other passion: getting involved. In high school, Polk was president of the African Student Union and volunteered with a suicide prevention organization. Naturally, when SDSU hosted its organization fair, Polk jumped at the opportunity to continue her love for involvement.
“I really liked the Afrikan Student Union and the Student African American Sisterhood,” Polk said. “Those are the only two I want to focus on now, because I really want to be committed.”
It’s clear that Polk came to SDSU prepared to handle her business, but that does not mean she’s afraid of letting loose and having a good time. Polk has taken full advantage of the Aztec Nights events to start off the school year.
“I‘ve meet some new people and the events are really fun,” Polk said. “The best was the carnival. I wasn’t expecting anything but to have a good time. Even though I had to be a ‘designated walker’ at times, it was fun.”
Polk is just getting started at SDSU, but her knack for planning ahead, passion for involvement and a winning smile make her poised and ready to make an impact within the fabric of SDSU’s student leadership.