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10 Giveaways You’re a Cal Poly Student

1. You have a fondness for donuts at SLO DO CO.

Donuts might be a blah snack for some college students, but for Cal Poly students donuts are a way of life. The donut shop SLO DO CO is a rite of passage for students here in San Luis Obispo, and for good reason! The donuts are not just your regular old-fashioned chocolate donut, no. At SLO DO CO, you’ll find donuts like chai cream cheese, nutella or donuts covered in Fruit Loops!

Thank you, SLO DO CO, for these masterpieces.

2. You love Thursday nights.

Thursday nights are a beautiful thing in San Luis Obispo. Besides being one day closer to Friday, Thursdays are when the weekly farmer’s market is held.

Once it starts to get dark, downtown SLO comes to life. The lights strung across the street glow overhead and the street becomes crowded with happy people. Vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful flower bouquets or other cooked foods line the streets, bringing mouth-watering smells and tastes. There are live music and entertainment shows on every street corner, so there is always something to look at and admire.

The farmer’s market harmoniously brings together Cal Poly students and residents of SLO to celebrate food and a fun night out. Yep, Thursday nights are the best.

3. Sometimes you question why Cal Poly is known as an engineering school. I mean c’mon our mascot is a mustang.

Although Cal Poly is great for engineering, there are also large agriculture, food, plant and animal science departments that each come with unique perks.

One of those being the Cal Poly brand foods that are made and sold on campus, such as chocolate bars, cheeses, jams, BBQ sauces, honey and chocolate milk (which I would highly recommend).

Cal Poly also sells plants, flowers and fruits and vegetables that are grown right on campus! (Hint: Check out the organic farm booth at the farmer’s market for your fresh produce).

Another perk is seeing cool animals on campus. There are cows and sheep, and horses that foal in the spring. Seeing these cute animals is definitely a convenient stress reliever.

There are also interesting events on campus put on each year for students by the AG departments, like the corn maze, tractor pull and rodeo. Yet perhaps most famous is the line-dancing culture that has been created at Poly. Break out your flannels and cow-girl boots because on Thursday nights we go line-dancing!

Cal Poly is definitely an AG college, too. I mean c’mon, our mascot is a mustang (a literal mustang runs down the football field at games)!

4. You smile at the new WOWies every September.

Without fail at the start of every new school year, Cal Poly will be filled with new WOW groups, complete with their leaders wearing yellow shirts and holding signs with their interesting group names.

This sight often brings back nostalgic feelings about your own Week of Welcome – filled with meeting new people, walks to Poly Canyon Design Village, informative seminars, eating downtown, kayaking in Morro Bay, hiking Bishop Peak and bonfires on the beach.

5. You grumble at your friends on the semester system.

Cal Poly runs on the quarter system, which means the typical Cal Poly student takes three quarters per school year, compared to the two semesters other students take during semester system.

The quarter system moves fast and does not slow down until finals week. This means that while your semester friends are cruising through week five, Cal Poly students are taking midterms. It can be quite intense and takes time to get used to, but the quarter system allows students to experience more classes and learn from more professors in a school year.

6. You own at least one piece of Cal Poly gear and wear it proudly.

Green and gold are great colors that perfectly represent your school. Whether it is a mustang sweatshirt, a water bottle or a lanyard to hold your Poly ID, you rock your Poly gear.

When you are back home and see someone else wearing mustang gear, you feel a camaraderie with that person, knowing you both represent Cal Poly.

7. Waiting in a 20 minute Starbucks line has become the norm.

Being a Cal Poly student, you have gotten used to standing in a Starbucks line that stretches down the hallway of the University Union, waiting for your drink of choice. The line gets particularly bad just before and after classes get out, but if you can get there in the middle of a class hour, the line is usually much shorter.

8. You can literally live in leggings and sandals year around.

It is no secret how relaxed the weather is in San Luis Obispo. The average temperature here is around 70-80 degrees – perfect weather for your favorite leggings, which is probably what you’ll be wearing for the rest of the school year. It is okay to wear the basics and be comfortable at Cal Poly.

9. You say you like hiking (even if you really don’t).

The campus of Cal Poly is nestled and built into the hills and mountains that are a spectacular part of San Luis Obispo.

Bishop Peak is an iconic landmark that rises above Cal Poly in the distance. The hike up Bishop is easily doable in a day and you are rewarded for the climb up with a spectacular view of Cal Poly and SLO.

The Cal Poly P is built on a hillside and is quite a steep hike that leads to an awesome view of campus.

Poly Canyon Design Village is a nice walk to see the bizarre architectural creations done by students. If you wish to go further you can hike to Serenity Swing – which is a great photo opportunity – but beware of the steep incline!

Hiking seems to be a natural part of the Mustang Way, and if you ask a Cal Poly student what they enjoy doing around SLO, most of them will say hiking – even if they have only hiked Bishop once to check it off their Cal Poly bucket list.

10. You’ve considered buying a hammock to sit back and enjoy the view.

There is no doubt how stunning San Luis Obispo is. You’ve got beaches, mountains and trees within easy reach. The golden hillsides around campus turn a brilliant shade of green in the spring and wild flowers open their petals to display dizzying colors.

The weather is mild year around and oftentimes the sky is clear and blue, making it perfect to stop and enjoy the view.

What better way to enjoy the view and relax than in a hammock? Cal Poly even has a Hammock Club, where hammock and chill enthusiasts alike can meet and swing in their hammocks together.

The biggest giveaway that you are a Cal Poly student is your appreciation and love for the beautiful, unique place you call SLOme. 

Meghan is a third year Anthropology and Geography major at Cal Poly.
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