FAIRFIELD — Elena Lopez thumbed her cellphone Monday while she waited with her friend Claudia Magallon in the financial aid line on the first day of school at Solano Community College.
Like many other lines on this first day, the line went down the hallway and around the corner but the wait wasn’t too bad, Magallon said.
“Wait, let me check . . . 23 minutes,” Magallon said, smiling, when asked how long they’d been waiting.
The friends, both 18, experienced their first college class together and had differing views on that first day.
“Everything is new,” Magallon said. “It’s different than Fairfield High School. The campus is way bigger.”
She’s taking three classes and going three days a week, giving her time to work, she said.
“I (can) choose the day I go to class. It’s not like I have to be there 8 to 3, Monday through Friday,” she said.
Lopez, who graduated from Vacaville High School, said it’s not “that” different, but she did find the teachers more social in her college classes. She opted for four classes and is going five days a week, but she said the schedule also gives her more time to work.
Magallon was in the financial aid line to see if a fee waiver was accepted, giving her some financial breathing room. She just spent $200, she said, on rental books for her three classes.
“In high school, they just give (them) to you,” she said.
To help new students such as Lopez and Magallon, the new student ambassador program set up shop on the bottom floor of the Student Services building. Armed with popcorn, bags, hats and pamphlets, students were on hand to help those in need of information or directions.
Bibiana Mejia, 19, said she’s seen a lot of students who need help with counseling, financial aid and of course, those who needed directions.
“We’ve seen a lot of lost students,” she said. “We’ve been giving them maps but some are really lost so we have to walk them to the (needed) building.”
Mejia said she wanted to volunteer because that type of help wasn’t available when she started at Solano College.
“It would have been nice to have that help,” she said. She said she wanted to make the school year “easier and nicer” for the new students.
The student ambassadors will be available in the Student Services building for the remainder of the month.
Students getting acclimated and fixing schedules contributed to a sense of hustle and bustle all over the Fairfield campus. Jowel Laguerre the college’s superintendent and president, said things will “calm down” in days to come. The semester opened with 10,000 students enrolled in the college district.
“It’s a good day,” he said. “It’s good to have the students back.”
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.
This version updates the original to include the fall enrollment total.