The Daily Aztec

San Diego adventures bond freshmen new to city

by Alek Sanchez, Staff Writer

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Moving out of the house for the first time is one of the first life-changing moments college brings. Some Aztecs travel far to come to school in San Diego. They pick up everything they know to start anew for their college experience.

For incoming freshman, the Discover San Diego State residential learning community serves as a stepping stone for introducing students to the university and its surrounding area.

Discover San Diego State is one of the RLCs provided at SDSU. Many of the RLCs focus on grouping people with similar interests.

Discover San Diego State focuses, but is not limited to, students not from the San Diego area.

Students in the program may come from areas as close as Oceanside or Orange County or as far away as Seattle or New Jersey.

The program offers students the opportunity to become familiar with the surrounding area. Students accepted into the Discover San Diego State program are pre-enrolled into a one-credit university seminar course. The seminar is led by a member of the residential program, and allows students time to gather and focus on new activities for exploring.

Hospitality and tourism management junior Hannah Gray-Chambers is the current resident advisor overseeing the Discover San Diego State RLC.

“It’s a good way for all the students to get together and learn the area,” she said. “The (freshmen) get a chance to learn about new places and bond at the same time, so it’s a really cool opportunity for them.”

One of the big perks of joining Discover San Diego State are the field trips offered by the program. In past years, students have kayaked in Mission Bay and visited Balboa Park.

In the final portion of the university seminar, students were asked to go to a San Diego neighborhood and share what they had learned with the class. For those still getting acquainted with the area, it was a great chance to explore the city.

Students in the program visited locales far from campus to get to know the far reaches of San Diego. From shopping in the hip, chic boutiques of Hillcrest to soaking up some sun at Ocean Beach, students got a first-hand experience in what it means to live in San Diego.

Marketing senior Tyra Ippongi, public relations senior Kelsey Moss and economics senior Karen Rai were all a part of Discover San Diego State during their freshman year and remain close friends today as graduation looms ahead.

Tyra Ippongi, originally from Aiea, Hawaii, remembered how excited she was to get to know San Diego.

“It was so cool being paired up with other students who didn’t know the area too,” Ippongi said. “We were all ‘stuck in the same boat’ and learning our way around.”

Sonoma County resident Kelsey Moss said she had a lot of fun during her time with Discover San Diego.

“We all got the chance to explore and have fun at the same time, and I think it really shaped how (our) college years have turned out,” Moss said.

Los Angeles native Karen Rai may have originally lived closest to San Diego, but she still noted the impact Discover San Diego State had on her college career.

“Looking back, I’m so glad we decided to join Discover San Diego (State),” Rai said. “I wouldn’t have been able to have made such wonderful friends here at college.”

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