My final paw print in The Cougar Chronicle

Gayana Parsegova, Opinion editor

The fumes of marijuana slapped me across my face as I had been looking for my class in Academic Hall my first semester of college. Repulsed by the smell as well as my peers around me, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “So this is what college looks and smells like?”

Don’t worry, my image of CSUSM has vastly changed since my first semester of college. To be quite honest, I’ve fallen madly in love with every aspect of the university.

Somewhere between immersing myself within my various Literature & Writing classes, meeting people I have absolutely nothing in common with but turned out to be my closest friends, and figuring out a way to avoid, “The Freeway of Death,” (also known as the highway 78 on an early Monday morning) there is something beautifully special about Cal State that you won’t find at any CSU, and it’s the notion of “Breaking Bread,” with one another, as one of my Literature professors  elegantly put it.

Allow me to elaborate.

CSUSM is different from any other CSU you attend for your undergraduate career, because this campus gives you a various amount of opportunities to participate in. Indeed you may think, “This school has about 2,000 people, and it’s a boring commuter school. There’s nothing to do here.” But to be honest, because we are such a small school, it’s easy to hop right in and get involved! Between joining a sorority/fraternity, or club, signing up for intramurals sports, or even joining your local newspaper, there are no politics involved! This school isn’t some crazed popularity contest, it’s a place where you can feel at home.

Which brings me to my next point, once you have found your special organization on campus, you definitely can’t help but feel extremely at home!

I’m going to be completely honest with you, I had a decent amount of bitter disdain towards CSUSM when I was first accepted. There was nothing about the university that I had found any sort of revelry in. It seemed like a joke. After a year however, I stopped being stubborn, and started to be a bit more social, and sometime during my third year I had crossed paths with Craven 3500! (Yes ladies and gentleman, the infamous Cougar Chronicle newspaper room!)

Once I joined the newspaper office, I felt at home. I felt that I had finally served a purpose here on campus, and I overall  felt extremely welcomed. Here was this little office that no one could ever find, hiding in a corner next to an elevator,  and filled with the most loving people you could ever meet on this campus, all in one little room. For the first time in a long time, I felt genuinely happy, and excited to actually be at school! Sure, I met a lot of weird but nice people during this past year, but they were all memorable people that I had ended up learning powerful lessons from.

To this newspaper office and the different people I had met, I want to thank you. I want to thank the people who improved my college experience on campus, who gave me a voice in the newspaper and allowed me to publish my work, who took the time to listen to my story, and who wiped every tear that had every trickled down my cheeks good or bad.

The Cougar Chronicle isn’t just some newspaper office, to me, it was my family.