Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University - Comments and Student Experiences|
I would recommend visiting before attending because HSU and Arcata can be a culture shock for some city dwellers...everyone smiles, strangers say hello, "hippies" sun themselves on the Arcata plaza, the lack of fast food chains, the constantly changing weather...while easily embraced by some these factors can be deal breakers for students who want a cosmopolitan lifestyle during college.
If you want a small college that offers lots of educational and cultural experiences in a beautiful setting with a liberal minded and accepting/tolerant community...you and HSU may be a perfect fit for each other.
First, I noticed that I liked Humboldt less and less the longer I lived there. At first I thought everyone was open-minded and free-spirited hippies. After a while you start to realize this isn't the case. "Oh, you're not a vegan? You must not care about animals or the environment." "I studied abroad in Nepal. I really got in touch with my inner spirit." There's a lot of arrogance self-righteousness with the so-called hippie students. But, as with any school, this attitude (though prevalent) is only a small portion of the student body (just avoid the quad on a sunny day if you can't stand these kinda people).
Con: The other concern of mine was the lack of gay friendly attitudes on the campus and in the community. Though Humboldt State has many wonderful resources for queer folks, one does not need to travel far to get stares and called nasty names. Let's just say I got yelled "faggot" at me a lot by the more conservative folks outside the Arcata bubble. Also, being in such a small community, the dating options for gay men are pretty slim. From what I've noticed though, Humboldt has a fabulous lesbian population (for example, all my female Humboldt friends).
Con: A lot of the classes were jokes. Sometimes the professors would go on political rants that had nothing to do with the subject we were studying. I had a math professor who started talking about the Founding Fathers and went on for a good 15 minutes. It's not that it wasn't interesting; it just wasn't math. I had other professors who were more interested in showing off how cool and cultured and well-traveled they were than actually expanding the minds of their students. Sometimes all I had to do was half-ass a 7-page paper and get full credit just because I did it and my citations looked pretty relevant.
Con: This place is cliquey. It's small and people find their niches pretty fast and don't seem to leave them. Maybe I'm just weird but I never found my niche. I made friends, sure, but never had the group sense of community. However, if you are into yoga, rock climbing, organic farming, or the like you will find your niche so fast, and make so many friends in the process that your head will be spinning.
OK, now that I've turned you off of Humboldt State, time for the pros!
Pro: Oh my god, I love the weather here. Coming from San Jose, Humboldt's cool crisp weather, the rolling fog, the gentle rain...it's kind of soothing. Plus it makes everything green and beautiful. Summers are never too hot. Winters are never too cold. If there's one thing I miss more than anything else it's the weather.
Pro: People are friendly. Yes, I can complain about self-righteous hippies and cliquey folks, but if you ask someone a question they will brighten up, smile, and give you an answer that takes 5 minutes. People will wave to you when you are walking down the street. Local baristas will make you amazing drinks and do so with a smile and a genuine "have a nice day!" Even the ever-prevalent gutter punks and transients will start up a friendly chat with you (erg...sometimes...other times they can be pretty aggressive...especially when parents, my parents in particular, are visiting.)
Pro: While some classes are jokes, other classes are mind-blowing. Some professors are passionate about their subject and their passionate about their students. They want you to learn. They want to help you. And they love when you visit them during office hours. I have some professors I still keep in touch with and whom I consider more to be friends than professors. I highly recommend any Religious Studies class, any Film class, and just about any History class.
Pro: Lots of outdoorsy stuff...and lots of artsy stuff. If you like to hike, bike, climb, backpack, camp, or do anything outdoors, you will be in heaven. The school has all kinds of outings and affordable activities. Also, HSU gets some pretty big acts coming through. When I was there I got to see Fleet Foxes, They Might Be Giants, Bright Eyes, and Mike Birbiglia. Also, all kind of acts come through Arcata and Eureka. If you love art and crowds Arts Alive in Eureka is always fun (especially the December one).
Pro: If you're awkward and shy like me, you will still make friends and still have fun. There are cute little coffee shops you can hang out in and have a drink and play a game of chess. There are fun potlucks. There are dive bars. And the best part is, it's always low-key. You don't have to dress up and no one cares about your status. No one cares if you're in a frat or a sorority. No one cares if you are an honors student. No one cares where you're from or what you are studying. Buy them a beer and compliment their flannel shirt and they will be your buddy all night long. OK, so now I've told you all I know. Pretty mixed message, huh? Well, nothing is clean and cut. There's no definitive good or bad when it comes to picking a college. Go with your gut. My gut told me to go to Humboldt and I don't regret it one bit. Good luck!
As for minority, if you're not ready to adapt to certain situations you probably shouldn't be in college in the first place. The multicultural center has improved drasticaly and supports a lot of culutral clubs and even some hispanic sorrorities. My room mate was involved with an African American club that tended to be very popular and threw formals and dances every semester. I also would recomend Latino Peer Mentoring which helps hispanics adjust to to a new kind of environment...It is one of my favorite programs at HSU and in case you're wondering it did not only help Mexicans. Most of the people I met in that class were of central American decent.
I happen to work in housing and dinning and the food is not as terrible as others have posted. They get most of thier food from the neighboring farms (INCREDIBLE SALAD BAR)..it's always fresh and we replace it daily so there is reason to panic over food poisoning.
Arcata and Eureka, (the neighboring city) both have Arts ALive, which celebrates culture and the arts every month. It is absolutely beautiful around the holidays. During Halloween there is a gaint pillow fight and the town turns into a cornicopia of exotic and strange adventures (no pot intended). People are just so eccentric there, and from what I learned, the evil pot heads are nice, just don't bother them and they wont bother you. The only town I had trouble with was the town north of arcata, that's definately an ignorant hic town. However I did get free tacos at taco bell when I went there, and no they weren't laced with some kind of drug. It's called saying please and thank you, something we all learned in preschool.
AMTRACK is the best method of getting back to socal. Yeah it takes 16 hours, but it's only $90 dollars versus the $400+ it takes to get back by plane, which involves stopping in the San Francisco Airport (which is the worst airport I've ever been too, bad customer service), then finally to LAX.
There are three types of freshmen dorms. The Hill (drugs and party central/ the better social life, no studying is done here), the canyon (quieter, smaller living communities and newere building) and cypress (suite style living, specialized living communities, native american, gender neutral and regular freshman dorms) Campus Apartments and Creekview are for non freshmen who want to live on campus. And they are building new Campus Apartments for returning students and a new soccer field. Off campus housing is relatively cheap compared to other areas in Norcal. My friend lives in a two bedroom apartment, 1&1/2 mile away from campus for around $800 a month, utilities paid.
THE beach is beautiful. Moonstone is my favorite so far. Trinidad and Patrick's Point are breathtaking. Mad River not so much.
By far the journalism program is good too. The Osprey has one several awards and the Lumberjack is a very good community newspaper that deals with many social justice issues. The library needs some work/ that computer lab sucks. But in other building the computer labs are better, you just need to know where to look. SCIENCE SCIENCE AND MORE SCIENCE, wildlife and biology programs are wonderful. The oceanography class lets undergrads abord thier boats, most univeristies don't let that happen.
By far the best class I have sat through is Religious Studies! Brilliant professor and awesome student teacher communication. Best thing is he never picks on just one religion, he isn't biased. After taking that class I almost changed my major to Religious Studies (seriously it was that good). Overall, I love going here, but it's so far from family so despite my good review I will end up transferring...It's a wonderful school for freshies and Marine Biologist Majors. It taught me responsibility, and how to live self-sustained. It also gave me a huge appreciation for the environment. It is a place of understanind and acceptance, and I wouldn't trade this experience. I may have to transfer but deep down I will always be a lumberjack. :)