Student Speaks: “What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to Saddleback?”

As the Spring semester wraps up for the 2023-2024 school year and the new incoming first-year students commit to colleges, Saddleback students on campus shared one thing they wished they knew before coming to Saddleback to share with new students.

First-year student Seneen Hussain. Maren Schwartz/Lariat

“I wish I knew what classes to take,” said first-year student Seneen Hussian. “I got stuck taking a class I did not have to take for my major, and now it will take more work for me to graduate on time.”

Hussain said she wished she had done more research on the classes she needed for her biology major beforehand instead of guessing. She advises first-year students to meet with the counselors, who are there to help them navigate the first semester.

Second-year student Sophia Daniel. Maren Schwartz/Lariat

“I wish I knew how flexible your schedule could be,” Sophia Daniel said. “You can also take classes you want to take, and it’s not just core classes you have to take.”

Daniel agrees with Hussain that you definitely need to be careful about what classes you take, but if you see one that interests you, you should go for it.

This is Daniels’ first year as a Saddleback student, but she is a sophomore. She did her first semester elsewhere but said this goes for any community college.

She said incoming first-year students should know there can be fun in the class selection process.

First-year student Leahnna Podhaski. Maren Schwartz/Lariat 

“I wish I realized the level of organization you need,” freshman Leahnna Podhaski said.

Podhaski said staying on top of the work is essential because it can be easy to fall behind when slacking off.

First-year student Diego Mendoza. Maren Schwartz/Lariat

“I really wish I knew how to time manage,” first-year student Diego Mendoza said. “I think time management is really important.”

Like Podhaski, Mendoza said that to stay on top of the course load, one has to have some level of organization and efficiency. The class work will not get done on its own, and inner motivation is the key to success.

First-year student David Morales. Maren Schwartz/Lariat

David Morales is a first-year student and is friends with Mendoza.

“I wish I knew how awkward it would be,” he said. “I wish I could work more on socializing.”

He said being on campus can be very awkward for some people, and it would be a lot easier for him if he were good with meeting new people and putting himself out there.

Second-year student Harrison Devonald. Maren Schwartz/Lariat

Another friend of both Morales and Mendoza is sophomore Harrison Devonald.

“I really wish I had learned to register as soon as possible,” he said. When I first started, all my classes were all over the place.”

Devonald said his classes were all over the place because he waited overly long to register.

He thought that if he had registered sooner, he would have been able to take the classes he needed instead of whatever classes were still open.

All three of the friends agree that making friends and being social on campus is hard, but the experience will be elevated if you choose to do so.

First-year student Paige Davis. Maren Schwartz/Lariat

Freshman Paige Davis said people feel like they do not need to work in community college, and just like some of the other students said, she feels people do not realize how hard they have to try in order to stay on top of their course load.

“This is going to sound dumb, but you actually have to work,” she said. “I came here, and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s just going to be like high school!’ I thought I was able to just kind of float by.”

She said it is not like that, and studying is the primary way to do well in class.

Another thing she noticed is that effort needs to be put in, or there is no way to pass and be successful.

Many students need help maximizing their resources. Some keys to success are taking advantage of the counseling department, mapping out classes to take per semester, being aware of deadlines and taking time to study.

Saddleback has many resources to benefit students, which can help them graduate on time while enjoying every semester. These student suggestions are not just for first-year students but anyone needing more motivation for this next year.