The New Student Chronicles: Kianna Fernandez, Ch. 2

We’re checking in again with new student guest blogger Kianna! Here she is…

“It’s funny how fast a semester can fly by when you’re having fun. Three weeks into the semester I had the rude awakening of homework…of course I already expected it, but after the many Ghirardelli sundae trips, homework hadn’t really crossed my mind.

I quickly learned how truly possible it is to leave my heart in San Francisco, as even on campus standing on the top of Lomo I can look out and see the whole city before me. I’ve heard the saying “nothing is ever perfect” many times, but at the University of San Francisco, honestly I don’t see how it couldn’t be. Everything about living in a lively city and exploring with new friends has filled my days in college with so much joy that even when I go home for a weekend, as excited as I am to see my friends and family from back home, a part of my heart aches knowing I’m leaving people I truly care about behind in a city I’m completely in love with.


Not only have I met many new amazing friends here, but I’ve also gained over one hundred sisters in a matter of a month. Rushing for Kappa Alpha Theta brought me close to so many strong, confident women I admire completely. My sisters created a sense of home I had been missing.

I can’t say I’ve stopped missing home and the amazing friends and family I have there, but in a way San Francisco is my home away from home. Yes, midterms can be crazy and it’s hard to find some alone time in a dorm building where I am completely surrounded by people, but it’s those same people who have helped me through it all. From the specific unique knocks on my door that bring a smile to my face because I know who it is before I’ve even left my desk to the late nights talking about everything from the past, present, and future, the people I’ve met have already made a lasting impact on my heart.

In the short two months I’ve been on my own I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned I really need to remember to balance my time better and carve out time to actually go out with friends instead of thinking I need to finish everything in one night (I’m still working on it though). I’ve learned to stand up for myself and be assertive when I feel it’s necessary. I’ve learned that even though I love having “me” time, when I actually have it I long for the moments when I’m listening to friends play the guitar and sing to our favorite songs. I’ve learned that navigating the bus system isn’t actually that terrifying. And believe me, with my sense of direction, if I can manage to not get lost on the bus nobody will have any major problems.

I know mid-semester is tough, from midterms to the realization that this is one’s new reality, it’s a big adjustment, but even when I feel alone, I know that everybody around me is going through the same thing. Yes, college is different. It’s new and exciting. It’s funny when I go back to Lodi, people ask me “So what’s your life like? Tell me everything!” Then I sit there and think: how can I possibly explain everything? How can I explain everything I’ve felt, from homesickness to excitement to stress to happiness to nervousness to… you get the idea. There’s a lot of different emotions in college, but after I’ve thought about it all, I look up and say the only answer I can: My life is everything I’ve ever dreamed and more. Simple…even in the most chaotic of moments, I still wake up and go to bed with a smile on my face knowing that everything I’ve ever done up to this moment got me to a place I am completely and totally in love with.

So, when people ask you what your life is like in college…I hope you can smile and laugh to yourself as you try to come up with a way to explain everything and after you’ve tried that, I hope you can look up with a big grin and say “My life is exactly the way I want it to be.”

Find joy in craziness, and happiness knowing the stress of midterms is almost over, and most of all find pure excitement knowing college is the place where dreams begin to take shape. Because soon, we’ll look back on every second we spend here and smile because it was life and we decided to live it.”


The New Student Chronicles: Kelsey Duff, Ch. 2

It’s time to check in with our guest new student blogger, Kelsey!

“Hey everyone!  I hope you have all enjoyed your school so far! The semester is coming close to an end, and Winter Break is just around the corner! It’s crazy to think that were already picking out our classes for next semester. Since the last time I wrote to you all so much has happened and there have been many more parts of San Francisco that I have gotten to see and enjoy.


One of my new favorite places to go off campus is Haight Ashbury Street. There are so many cool shops and restaurants that are to die for! At Haight Ashbury you can find one of a kind art as well as clothing. Many people love their consignment shops and thrift stores and always hope to find a hidden treasure in the stores. I myself found a really cool skirt for only twenty dollars! The prices are definitely reasonable and are always finding a good deal!

For October break my roommates and I decided that we should explore the city! So since I had yet to actually see the Golden Gate Bridge up close and personal we decided to go to Baker Beach! The view is impeccable and it’s understandable why people travel all over the world to see the view. We also have explored other various parts of the city such as Union Square and the light show at the Bay Bridge. A huge recommendation I have is going on the Duck Tours! It can truly bring out the kid in you, and you get to learn a lot about the history of San Francisco. When you’re all done you can have bread bowl and chowder at fisherman’s what’s not to love?


I’m sure you all must have had a fun Halloween! The thrill of figuring out what to wear and what character you will be is tons of fun and also brings out the creativity and imagination in every college student! Hayes-Healey actually hosted a get together and a photo shoot for all of the students in the dorm. It was a blast and the photos came out great!


Now I know we are all getting excited that Thanksgiving is here and soon enough so will Winter Break! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday and look forward to talking to you guys soon! Happy Holidays!

-Kelsey Duff”



New Student Chronicles: Kelsey Duff

If you are rubbing your eyes wondering if you could possibly be seeing two blog posts in one week when we have been quiet for so long, I don’t blame you! But I was too excited to introduce you to one of our new Communication Studies majors that I couldn’t wait any longer! Help me welcome Kelsey Duff to USF! She has agreed to document her first semester here on the blog for us! Here she is…

“Hey everyone! My name is Kelsey Duff and I am a freshman, Communication Studies Major at USF! Leaving my hometown of Somerset, MA seems so far to others, but I am already excited about everything San Francisco has to offer! I am sure you are all wondering why this 18-year-old girl wanted to fly all the way across the country to go to the University of San Francisco. Well, I can tell you that when I visited this school last March with my family it was love at first sight. From the beautiful hilltop views, the stellar school clubs, the overall beautiful campus, and having this all located in THE BEST CITY EVER, what more could a student possibly want?

New COMS major Kelsey

New COMS major Kelsey

First day of moving in was exciting, nervewrecking, and busy.  Everything was planned to the nines for the new students even to the point where I received a 3 musketeer on my desk as I entered my room! My room and the school itself were starting to feel like home instantly. Once the bed had been made, pictures had been hung, and the overall convocation ceremony had been performed, I felt like I had officially become a Don.

As I began to attend all of my new classes, I got to know the campus better. Yes, the views are extraordinary at Lone Mountain I assure you, however the hike up to get to class is certainly a workout! But after the first week it’s a piece of cake! I certainly will not gain the “freshman 15” going up that mountain. Either that or the Koret Recreational Center will surely keep me in shape! Koret has so much to offer! The other night my roommates and I did Zumba! What a fun workout!


No need to go to Koret...

No need to go to Koret…

One thing I have definitely looked forward to about this school was visiting the city with my friends and just going to different kinds of events, restaurants, and shopping districts. On our first weekend off, my roommates, Danielle and Macie, and I used the MUNI pass for the first time and went to Union Square. Now you have to understand the excitement when I saw a two-level Forever 21. It was awesome! What girl wouldn’t love that large amount of space filled with brand-new fashion-forward clothes?

My roommates and I love the independence we get from going in the city! In fact, just buying groceries for our dorm makes us feel a little grown up inside. We all just love walking around town trying to figure out how to get from here to there and enjoying the overall San Francisco scenery! I love going to Golden Gate Park for a run and seeing the beautiful garden displays they have there. The flowers are absolutely stunning, and the park is always maintained well. The fresh air, beautiful views, and fun paths make the run even more worth it than just getting into shape.

Some scenery we found in San Francisco!

Some scenery we found in San Francisco!

Overall I am beginning to adapt to San Francisco as my new home! Even though I may be far away from Massachusetts and I am missing my family and friends at times, I know it is all worth it. I look forward to telling you more about my experiences at USF and thanks for reading!”

Thank you, Kelsey! We are glad you are enjoying USF!


New Student Chronicles: Kianna Fernandez

I am happy to be back to the blog after some unintended time away and I am excited today to introduce one of our new Communication Studies majors, Kianna Fernandez. Kianna has agreed to be a guest blogger and share her thoughts during her first semester here at USF! Here she is…

“Hey everybody, I’m Kianna Fernandez from the small town of ‘livable, lovable, Lodi’ (as we call it) two hours East of San Francisco. For years I had eagerly waited for the moment I would be on my own, out of a small town and into a new world I’d get to discover myself. It was not until I had my dad’s truck piled high with boxes of clothes, okay probably too many clothes, shoes, oh ya and school supplies (that’s what college is really for right?) that I realized how fast the time had really gone!!

New COMS major Kianna

New COMS major Kianna

Like any freshman leaving home for the first time, I grew somewhat anxious of the new life I would live on my own. Yes, there were countless tears shed in my first weekend here as I said goodbye to my two younger brothers and my parents. That’s normal…there’s beauty in knowing you have something so special it makes saying goodbye so hard. Don’t forget though, college is pretty special too.

Through my first few weeks, I’ve learned the importance of branching out; leave your comfort zone- try out the new exercise class at the gym, meet a friend who lives across the hall, try every food imaginable at the café, and most importantly, challenge yourself in and outside the classroom to question and explore everything.

The University of San Francisco boasts a diverse, lively playground many people travel around the world to experience.

I’m lucky enough to call San Francisco my home. Take advantage of everything this city has to offer. Ride Muni for the first time during rush hour, packed like sardines, laughing with your new family the whole way. Go to Union Square and take touristy pictures with the hearts on every corner. Ride to Fishermen’s Wharf twice in one day to enjoy a clam chowder bread bowl for lunch and a Ghirardelli mint chocolate chip sundae for dessert. (Just watch out for the seagulls…they’re smarter than they look and have quite the obsession with seafood as my friend sadly found out).

Kianna and her new USF friends... Go Dons!

Kianna and her new USF friends… Go Dons!

Already, San Francisco has become my home and people I just met over a week ago quickly became family. I once read a quote (sad to admit I’m Pinterest obsessed) ‘sometimes it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.’  Right now…in this moment, in my dream city, on this too-amazing-for-words campus I’m happy.

Take every moment and make it worth remembering…go on the Welcome Weekend trips to Union Square or Walking the Golden Gate Bridge, watch Family Feud in the lounge, laugh until your abs hurt, scream with your roommate about how Ezra Fitz couldn’t possibly be A after watching the Pretty Little Liars season finale. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so make the most out of every second, because sometimes, if you’re lucky enough your reality will finally become better than your dreams.”

Thanks Kianna! We’re so glad you are enjoying your first few months here at USF! We’ll check in with Kianna again later in the semester.


New Student Chronicles: Nicole Sanabria

As our dedicated readers may remember, each semester I ask new students to serve as guest bloggers to chronicle their first semester here at USF in the Communication Studies Department. Today I’m excited today to feature one of our new student guest bloggers, Nicole Sanabria! Let’s hear from her…

“Hi everyone! My name is Nicole Sanabria and I am a freshman at the University of San Francisco. I hail from sunny SoCal! I still remember all too clearly leaving my house in Upland, CA with the thermometer in the car reading: 98°F. When we were driving into the city, I just remember watching the temperature drop from mid-70s to high-50s. My immediate reaction was one of worry and surprise. I knew it was going to be cold, but I was not prepared for temperatures that I experienced only a couple of weeks out of the winter. I can definitely say that I have come to love SF weather though!

New COMS major Nicole!

I had visited the campus the summer before my senior year of high school so I vaguely remembered it, but on move-in day the reality of it really hit me. It was everything that I was looking for!  It still had a college vibe, but it was modern and urban; I did not feel like I had been dropped off in the middle of nowhere. I realized that I would be living here for the next year and I was genuinely excited to experience this new phase of my life. I knew that I had made the right choice to attend USF. I couldn’t picture a better school and city that would allow me to question, grow, and become more independent and secure with myself.

As excited as I was to be here, I still had the classic worries of any freshman. I was excited and nervous about being away from home and about having to rely on myself for everything. Thankfully, I quickly become great friends with some of the girls on my floor and they have proven to be my support system here in San Francisco. They are becoming such a part of me, much the same way that the city is becoming a part of me. I now feel like a native and not a tourist navigating the Muni which gives me a sense of pride. I love knowing all the possible routes to take and the connections to make. I’m not going to lie though, Google maps can only help so much! I have been surprised to find that I have a pretty decent sense of direction!

Nicole and her friends navigating muni

The weekends are always the highlight because there is always some exploratory journey to go on. All the neighborhoods are so diverse, eccentric, and entertaining that you can always find something going on. Some of my favorites have been the Greek Food Festival that we found in the Mission where I ate way too much baklava, and uber-hip Dolores Park. Of course, there is always the joy of Union Square and all the shopping that always leads to buyer’s remorse! I love seeing the distinct changes from one district of the city to an entirely different one. It’s one of the reasons why I am coming to love the city so much!


I could not feel any happier or secure with my decision to come to San Francisco and I can honestly see myself forming a life here!”

Thanks, Nicole! We are so glad to hear that you are enjoying your first semester here at USF! We’ll check in with Nicole later in the semester…

Do you have any advice for Nicole and our other new students? Comment back and share your wisdom!


New Student Chronicles, Ch. 2: Emily Koh

We’re checking in again with new student blogger Emily Koh. This is what she has been up to during her first semester here at USF!

“So I promised you big calves, and big calves are what I got. Running in between classes, zumba, and all the extra-curricular activities I have eagerly joined, I discovered that freshman year is a self-discovery each and every day. I’ve learned my limits on procrastination and I’ve learned that crepes every night pack on the unwanted pounds.

Since the beginning of the year, I became a floor delegate for Residence Hall Council for Hayes Healy, got hired as a showroom host for prospective students, founded an online magazine called Her Campus (www.hercampus.com/usfca) at USF, and became a charter member of Kappa Alpha Theta. It’s quite a challenge juggling classes, extra-curricular activities, a social life, and my sanity.

Emily pledging Kappa Alpha Theta

A hefty list it is, I still have managed to explore the city of San Francisco. I no longer have ‘tourist’ printed on my forehead and I have become quite the expert at the Muni. While I am jotting down notes and keeping track of all the tricks to the city, I still have so much to learn. College has tested me not only in academics and responsibilities, but who I am as an individual. I’ve come to the realization that even though USF tries to provide all the tools to help me succeed in life, it’s really up to my own initiative to make things happen. For example, I was at a warehouse sale for American Apparel and by chance I interviewed Dov Charney, the owner of American Apparel, for my magazine. After some talk, I received a call later that day from American Apparel offering me some gift cards. I, of course, willingly agreed. A small action on my part ended me with some bragging rights and a self-indulging shopping spree.

Emily interviewing the owner of American Apparel for her online magazine

Every word you speak, every action you take, and every encounter ultimately determines whom you will be and whom you will associate with. So I want to tell you that freshman year is not only about self-discovery but taking advantage of everything that is offered to you and seizing every opportunity. Sure I’m just a freshman, but who says I can’t have a success story after one semester? Try everything and aspire for everything because if there is one time to do it, it’s now.”

Thanks Emily! I know I have said it before, but I am so impressed with how involved on campus and in the community our new students are! They have only been here a short time, but have already set up roots! I think all of our new student bloggers are setting excellent examples of how to become involved on campus. Congratulations!

We’ll check in with Victor, Sascha, Karissa, and Emily one more time after the end of this semester.


New Student Chronicles, Ch. 2: Karissa Montania

We’re continuing our check-in with our new student bloggers! Up today is Karissa Montania…

“Hey, It’s Karissa Montania again! So far, my semester at USF is going really well! I decided to pledge for Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. I am also getting into routine of my classes, even though I’ve been walking up to Lone Mountain twice every other day!

Karissa and her friend in front of the GG

During my first few months here, I have gone down to Clement Street a couple of times with friends to get dim sum and have continued to explore the city. I also attended Treasure Island Music Festival and got to see bands such as Empire of The Sun, YACHT, and Cut Copy perform! I also went to the Legion of Honor museum, participated in the Breast Cancer walk in Golden Gate Park and surprised my friend for her birthday in her dorm room!

Happy Birthday!

The weather here is definitely different than expected, because I thought it would be cold and windy in San Francisco 24/7, but it surprise me when we would have the hot, sunny days where I could wear shorts!

My goals for the rest of the semester is to keep up with my studying in classes and find more places to eat in the city! I was introduced to Off the Grid, which is a food truck stop with a variety of choices for food such as Crème Brulee, macaroons, cupcakes, friend noodles, potstickers and much more!”

Off the Grid

Thanks Karissa! So glad to hear that your first semester here is going well!


New Student Chronicles, Ch. 2: Sascha Rosemond

Today we are checking in with new first year student Sascha Rosemond! Let’s see how her first semester is going…

“Middle Ground

Hi everyone! It’s me again…….Sascha.  So, it’s about that time when things start getting a little crazy and you feel like the wind can sweep you away at any moment.  Midterms, essays, reading, tests, quizzes, and not forgetting to wear your retainer and eat at a decent hour can make a girl crazy.  Whoever said college is the most memorable time of your life definitely wasn’t lying.  I have experienced so much in these last two months; I’ve grown up and realized that my life is a blank canvas for me to paint my own pictures.  Even though my classes are challenging, I feel like a sponge absorbing all the complex theories of utilitarianism and deontology.  Life itself and the day to day seem so much fuller because I know so much more about people, the world, and myself.  I’m no expert, but I’m getting there……just kidding!  Last week I went on a field trip with my Hinduism class to Hindu temples in Livermore and Fremont.  I was in a state of wonder with what I saw, life beyond the metropolitan San Francisco and a kind of faith that is rooted in so much more than just one thing.  It was a wonderful experience to see, hear, and smell the wonders of Hinduism and the Indian culture.

A picture from Sascha's Hinduism field trip

It’s crazy for me to think that not too long ago I was a high school senior and now I am ( for the most part) an independent young woman finding my way.  School is amazing, I never thought I would enjoy learning this much.  Fun projects and lively discussion make learning more of a voluntary activity rather than my job.  My French culture course takes fun to another level; one of our projects was to have a class cheese tasting to experience firsthand the variety of French cheeses.  The classroom smelled of Normandy, Bourgogne, and the Loire Valley of France. Each student brought in a cheese of their choice; we munched on grapes and bread while we sampled all the cheeses, the only thing that seemed to be missing was French wine! It was a great experience and something that I will always remember.

YUM! Fromage in the French Culture class!

When classes are over for the day, I usually find my friends around campus.  We eat together, watch movies together, and laugh excessively together.  The other day I told one of my friends that I don’t think I’ve laughed as much as I do now.  I have a special kind of love for my friends, they are always there and somehow in this short amount of time I feel like I’ve known them my whole life.  I am always guaranteed a good laugh or just an interesting conversation.  Going out to dinner is always fun, there are so many restaurants and cafes to try.  We all get dressed up and designated person looks up the directions on Google maps and off we go! Just recently my roommate took me to an amazing ice cream shop called Smittens in Hayes Valley.  They make every cup of ice cream from scratch right in front of you.  They use all natural ingredients and only use what is in season and local.  It was definitely a change from regular chain ice cream shops that I’m used to.

Sascha (right) and her roommate

Sascha and her friends waiting for the bus

When I’m not studying or going out with friends chances are you will find me at an event around campus.  I am a staff writer for the Foghorn which requires me to attend events that I am assigned too.  Just recently I attended the State of Black event put on by the African American Studies department and the McCarthy Center.  The event was centered on African American out-migration in San Francisco; I just turned in the final draft of my article this morning! I am also part of the Black Student Union and Sister Connection on campus.  The highlight of my on campus involvement was being a hospitality volunteer for the annual Fall Fest Concert.  I got to decorate an artist’s room and stand front row for all the action.  It was a great night!

Sascha and her friends at the Fall Fest concert

So life is good here at USF; I’m happy and healthy and ready to go! I am in transition, the middle ground.  There is so much more to see and do before the semester is up! I can’t believe I’m almost done with the first semester of college.  Halloween came and went quicker than I can say, Thanksgiving is fast approaching and then it’s done! WOW Time really does fly by when you’re having fun.

Trick or Treat!

Until next time! Laugh, it’s healthy!”

Wow! It is great to hear how Sascha and our other new students are getting involved on campus! Congratulations!

Now I’m hungry… how can I figure out how to incorporate cheese tasting into my Communication and Everyday Life courses? If anyone has any ideas, send them my way! Thanks Sascha!