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Life in College at Cal Lutheran – Thriving in Your First Year of Independence

July 21, 2013

Interview with Rebecca Bomfim (Dublin High School Class of 2012 and California Lutheran University sophomore)

As the latest entry in the popular Life in College series, Dublin High School Class of 2012 graduate Rebecca Bomfim shares her experiences at California Lutheran University after successfully completing her first year of studies. Ms. Bomfim is majoring in communications with an emphasis on public relations and advertising. What was your decision process for selecting California Lutheran University?

Rebecca Bomfim: “I heard about Cal Lutheran through a friend who graduated from both Cal Lutheran and Dublin High. I visited the campus and absolutely loved it. I kept Cal Lutheran in my top choices while I looked at other private schools including Point Loma University and Chapman University, and once I was accepted to some schools and I received the financial aid offers, Cal Lutheran seemed like the best option.” What about the Cal Lutheran campus caught your interest?

Bomfim: “Cal Lutheran has a beautiful campus and they are rebuilding everything: a brand new football stadium, gym, classrooms, and cafeteria. The campus is small, which I really like. When I took a tour my guide was saying ‘hi’ to people as we were walking around, she knew a lot of people. It was a very friendly environment, everyone was really nice and welcoming. I got a great vibe from the campus.” What was the first few months of transitioning from Dublin High School to Cal Lutheran like?

Me (left) and my roommate during orientation

With my roommate during orientation

Bomfim: “It was a really smooth transition. It’s weird to go from living with your parents, and having all these rules, to becoming completely independent. It’s a lot of responsibility living on your own, but I think the cool thing about college is that you really focus on yourself. You learn a lot about yourself in the first couple of months, and you learn how to be independent. I grew up in Dublin almost my entire life and had the same friends for over ten years, so it was a big transition meeting new people and getting used to a completely different lifestyle and culture.” How do high school and college differ from an academic perspective?

Bomfim: “College is a step up from high school. I wouldn’t say it is ridiculously hard, where you are in the library every day, but it’s definitely harder. You don’t really have homework assignments – you are assigned readings and things like that, but it is up to you. No one is seeing if you did the work – your grade is determined by two or three tests. That’s the biggest change. In high school you have homework assignments and projects, a lot of things that build up your grade, but in college it’s really just the tests. You have to get into a routine where you do your reading every night even though technically you don’t have to. You have to get in the habit of getting stuff done, even though no one is looking over your shoulder.” What has the non-academic side of college been like?

Bomfim: “I ran for student government in my freshman year as the Cal Lutheran Programs Board Representative, which involves helping plan the school events on campus. Every other Friday we organize a free event called Club LU to get all the students together. I was elected in my freshman year and again for the upcoming sophomore year.

“I’m also going to be a peer advisor. All incoming freshman take a Freshman Seminar in their first semester, meeting once a week. A peer advisor is an upperclassman student who leads twenty freshmen and helps them transition into college.

“I’m in a couple of clubs, the Pilates Club, Backpacking Club and Rotary Club. I’m also involved in the residence life team – I host student tours that come into my dorm room about three times per week, look at the room and ask me questions, and  I also hosted overnight students who wanted to experience the campus.

“There’s a lot happening on campus there are many ways to get involved.” What planning did you do after graduating from high school and before you started college?

Bomfim: “I did a lot of research before starting school. I went on the Cal Lutheran website and researched everything. I wanted to know what I could do for fun, what were the things going on around campus, what I could get involved in; as a freshman you don’t really know anything that’s going on so I did a ton of research before I even got there. That’s how I found out about programs, sports and student government before I arrived. Definitely research the school you’ve committed to.

“I also created a basic four-year plan to help figure out the classes I wanted to take and map out how I could graduate in four years.” How did AP classes at Dublin High School prepare you for college?

Bomfim: “I took a couple of AP classes including AP U.S. History which was the most like a college class because we didn’t have homework assignments but rather had a lot of tests. In high school you have so many assignments that you are almost babied into your grade, but a class like AP U.S. History really helped me prepare for college.” Did you experience any homesickness during the first few months?

Bomfim: “I experienced a little bit. I love my family and love being with them, I was always very dependent on them, but the thing that helped me the most was getting involved. Because I was so involved and always doing things, I was busy and caught up in the routine of school, that I didn’t dwell on not being at home.” What is keeping you busy over the summer?

Bomfim: “This summer I’m busy traveling, but next summer I want to find an internship in the L.A. area. Internships are a huge deal at Cal Lutheran and many majors, including mine, require you to complete an internship in order to graduate.” What advice do you have for students who are thinking of working during their first year in college?

Bomfim: “I found the position in the Cal Lutheran Career Services office through a student job listings website, applied, was interviewed and got the job. I only started in the second semester, after the winter break. The nice thing about having a job on campus is that they know your number one priority is academics. They work around your schedule and most students only work 10-15 hours per week.

“The office provides career counseling services for students such as preparing resumes, conducting mock interviews, and things like that; we post about forty jobs and internships per day on our website for students. We have a lot of connections with employers. For the first month it was really hard going to work every single day and having classes. It was a hard balance at the beginning but you learn to do your homework in-between classes and really take advantage of time in your schedule.” What advice do you have for Dublin High School students who aspire to attend a four-year college?

Bomfim: “During high school be as involved as possible. That really helps you get to know what you like doing and what you want to be involved in during college. During the college selection process be very open-minded because a lot of people don’t end up going to the college they thought they were going to. That happened to me – I didn’t think I was going to attend Cal Lutheran at first. Look at a variety of schools: public, private, small and large. I originally thought I wanted to go to a huge school and be in a sorority, but then I visited Cal Lutheran and ended up falling in love with the opposite.”

At the Dublin High School 2012 Senior Awards Night Rebecca Bomfim was named a California Scholarship Federation Life Member and won a President’s Silver Award for Education ExcellenceRebecca was also awarded a scholarship to attend California Lutheran University.

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Other articles in the Life in College series: