My Experience at a Small Public University

December 12th, 2012

As an alumnus of a small Cal State, in particular, California State University, Channel Islands, my experience was much different than that of my friends. First of all, it is a particularly new institution in Camarillo, CA. At this university, I had the experience of a private education but at the price of a state level institution. My largest class size was around 40 students and that was in a lecture hall. The small class sizes allowed for everyone to become well acquainted with one another which made study sessions, as well as casual gatherings easy to organize. For one project, we had to develop a presentation that would immerse the class in discussion and really break down boundaries. My group all gathered together and rehearsed our proposal to the class. As we arrived to class, all the seats were in a circle (with room to spare) and we began our presentation. Everyone in the class became immediately engaged. Since the faces around the room already had a familiarity to them, we were able to completely let loose and hold firm to our opinions. People laughed and even cried.

I have a hard time envisioning this happening at a much larger institution. Some of my friends have told me about their classes being either 300 strong and over impacted; others have exclaimed that they simply cannot even enroll in the classes they need. These issues really help me to appreciate that I attended a small college. All my professors knew the entirety of the class by first name, were very successful, and were regularly available for help outside of the classroom. The success of my professors, which greatly reflected their teaching abilities, went from an accounting professor that was CEO of a firm that maintained the entire Verizon accounting department to an entrepreneurial professor that served as Commissioner of Small Businesses to President Bill Clinton. Their inspirational stories and different teaching styles made each class uniquely different. We, as a class, enjoyed talking with the professors to gain insight to their success and their approach to obtaining it. In all, my education at CSUCI was incredible and the chances to have memorable experiences were ubiquitous.