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California Maritime Academy

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I grew up in Bakersfield, California, in theBrightMechanical Engineering
I grew up in Bakersfield, California, in the middle of the central valley, so going from desert to water life was radically different. I started by looking at engineering schools with a "hands-on" bent. Cal Poly was an obvious strong contender, then I learned about this school. I did an overnight tour of the campus (I stayed in the dorms and followed a student around half the day), and loved it. I was a little bit early, so my guide was in the middle of welding class, so the instructor actually let me put on the gear and draw a few beads.

Coming straight out of high school, don't expect a cakewalk. I skated through high school not having to work at all, then when I went here, I almost flunked out of CMA by not showing up to class or not working at all. When regulations are imposed upon you, understand that you wear a uniform, are REQUIRED to attend class for a reason. Life onboard ship is radically different then life at a 9-5 job. "15 minutes early is on time" is the slogan when it comes to your responsibilities at this campus (there is a lot of beaurocratic BS that you have to put up with, but that is everywhere as well).

Due to its small size and the entire nature of the campus, the professors are usually extremely friendly and helpful. They usually go out of their way to help you (at least in the mechanical engineering department, that is). My professors knew me by my first name and some even knew me by the way I did my homework or did exams. They aren't the type of professor who is only there just for his research $$ and "complimentary lab time" that usually goes with a university professor. The Mechanical Engineering degree just got its ABET (Accredidation Board for Engineering and Technology) Accredidation, so I was able to take the EIT (also called the F.E. exam), which I passed, due to the engineering info I learned @ this campus.

Now onto the maritime aspects of this school. I wasn't entirely sold on the idea of sailing until I went on my freshman training cruise. The experience of being on a ship, traveling on the world oceans, you really feel like you are doing something with yourself. Going down in that engine room for the first time when everything is actually running, man it was eye opening and I decided I wanted to do that (at least for a while). Here is a list of the countries or other places you could visit while a student @ Cal Maritime:

Japan, Alaska, China, Saipan, Midway Island, Hawaii, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, Costa Rica, Chile, Panama, Mexico....The list could go on!

I graduated CMA with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a USCG-issued License to sail as a 3rd Assistant Engineer on Steam, Motor, or Gas Turbine Vessels of any horsepower. I just finished sailing with SUNY Maritime College's training vessel as a watch officer (on the T.S. Empire State), I am now going to be sailing as a 3rd A/E with MSC (Military Sealift Command).

5th Year Male -- Class 2005
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Social Life: C-
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I graduated in 1998, so my memories ofBrightOther
I graduated in 1998, so my memories of the school might differ from the reality of today, however I believe the school has a great program regardless. I learned leadership skills, maritime skills, and overall practical life-type skills. I don't remember much of my physics and pre-calc classes, but that's not what I went to CMA for. I learned about navigation, maritime law, and how to anchor and dock a ship. These are skills I still use today. Our student body was para-military and we had great camaraderie between us- we all worked together and helped each other out. We were shipmates. I remember being on the annual training cruise with all of my classmate buddies as an 18-year-old. We were standing on the fantail enjoying the evening air and being at sea, on our way cruising to Hawaii. I thought to myself- where else could I get an education like this? This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I have never regretted it, I would go back again, and my career is where it is today because of the education and training I received there.
4th Year Male -- Class 1998
Education Quality: A+, Social Life: D
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I like this school dispite the minor challengesAverageMechanical Engineering
I like this school dispite the minor challenges I need to endure. The school has a really low percentage of females and as a result I tend to stand out. The campus is gorgeous, but it's because we are at a waterfront. One would have to try to make it look bad. The school has become a unique hybrid.

It's quasi-military and it's under the wing of the California State University system. Those who see the school as a semi-military school tend to be super conservative, and those who see it as a Cal State school tend to be radically librel. These two group tend to clash when a major chnge to the school takes place and unfortunately both parties are closedmindded about thier ideas, so one might find some intolerent students on campus.

As a Mechanical Engineer major, I usually take on 21 units. My major has the most required units in it's program. This leads to many other students in the mechanical engineering program to be somewhat arrogant and snooty, espcially toward majors like Business Administration and Global Studies.

The courseload is challenging and their are many who drop the program or are unable to graduate in four years. Failling one class can cause a student to graduate a whole year later than thier plan graduation time. For most students, there is really no competition. Most just want to survive in the four year program.

There are not many extracurricular activites, but there's always a spot for those who want to join one. One of the best things about the school is that it holds a private school-like enviroment for a CSU price.

1st Year Female -- Class 2008
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Surrounding City: F
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