Emilie Johnson | Mustang News Credit: Emilie Johnson | Mustang News

As incoming freshmen join the Mustang family in the fall, they are bound to have questions. So, here are some helpful tips that freshmen and incoming students might find useful in their first year. 

What are the best study spots on campus?

The Warren J. Baker Center (building 180) is always a great option. The top floors offer seating on the balconies with a birds-eye view of campus, but you can also choose the floor below if you need an empty seat. It is very well air-conditioned and offers some relaxation on those warmer days.

If you are looking for a quieter setting, head up to the fifth floor of the Kennedy Library. Or, if you like to be outside, Dexter Lawn offers plenty of grassy space.

How do I switch a meal plan?

Cal Poly Campus Dining gives students the ability to choose between three varying meal plans: First-Year Basic, First-Year Plus and First-Year Club.

If a student feels that the meal plan they initially chose is not satisfying their health and nutritional needs, they can go into their housing portal and make a one time switch in their dining membership.

Students are only allowed to make this decision during the middle of fall quarter from Oct. 27 through Nov. 15. Their new choice will go into effect the following winter quarter.

My first quarter seems like it has a lot of units. How do I drop a class?

Classes can be dropped through the eighth day of instruction (Sept. 29) without an affect on your academic record.

All requests to drop or withdraw from academic classes or programs must be submitted in writing to the Extended Education Office. If a student drops a class after the class start date, a form is required.

You can officially drop a class by navigating to the “Student Centers” tab of your Cal Poly portal and clicking “Enroll”. Then, click on the “Drop” tab, select the class you would like to drop, proceed by pressing the button “Drop Selected Classes,” and click the “Finish Dropping” button to solidify the changes.

What are some activities everyone should do at least once at Cal Poly?

Definitely do the Tri-Tip Challenge! Students are challenged to hike the three peaks—the Cal Poly “P,” Cerro San Luis Obispo (also known as Madonna) and Bishop’s Peak. The accumulative hike is around 7.5 miles. If a student completes it in one day, they can travel down to Firestone Grill and reward themselves with a tri-tip sandwich.

Go downtown to Bubblegum Alley and add your gum! With over 70 feet of colorful chewing gum, this is such a fun place to go with your friends and make your mark.

Venture out to the Architecture Graveyard in Poly Canyon to see the collection of experimental structures built by past students—it’s also a great place to go stargazing.

Lastly, go to the Farmer’s Market on Thursday evenings and support local vendors. San Luis Obispo’s market offers more than produce—food vendors from popular restaurants all around town often set up booths, so it’s the perfect place to grab dinner as well.  The market attracts people from all over, so try and visit if you can. Taking the bus from campus is a quick and easy way to get there.

What advice do you have for making friends?

Get involved!

Take part in the Cal Poly Club Showcase on Sept. 18. Many of the clubs that are on campus will be there and you can ask them questions about becoming a member. One thing to know is that they have a rolling membership, meaning you can leave just as easily as you joined.

Another idea is to take part in an on-campus job. Join Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) to get involved with student government or work at the bookstore.

If you are into sports, join an intramural team. Or, join the Cal Poly Greek Life!

It is all up to you as to how much you want to be involved in. Take it in stride.

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