By attending my 2-year community college, I have been introduced to the adult and business worlds comfortably and gradually, rather than radically and suddenly. At community colleges, one meets seniors as well as young parents, college-aged people, and even high school students. One becomes familiar with the processes of registration, socializing, learning, and working with this wide range of people from the community and representative of the diversity in the larger environment before being required to depend on the larger environment for livelihood and being expected to know how to interact with it. This immersion is of greater value than predominantly 20-something students at four-year universities can begin to imagine. They spend years tightly cocooned among others who are essentially as inexperienced as they are, who have similar interests to theirs, and who have responsibilities nearly identical to their own. I am an infinitely more mature, seasoned, patient, tolerant, gregarious, and contented person for having been shown a true picture of the world while still studying, and for having had the time and setting to get to know genuine and "average" yet amazingly multifarious students while I was still coming of age.
I have gained many lessons from my college experience. On a basic level, I learned how to live and interact with people from various races, ehtnicities, cultures, religions etc. I also learned how to muti-task by juggling educational responsiblities, work and a social life; the art of prioritizing and time management became second nature as I balanced studying, extra curricular activites, an internship and of course partying with friends. I was able to gain the lesson of community service as I contributed to many community improvement/service pojects with my co-ed fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega , such as Habitat for Humanity, Make a Wish, Meals on Wheels, SUNYA recycling initiative, Big Sister/Big Brother mentoring program etc. and various fund raising efforts. I emerged from college welll rounded and responsible. I also felt a unique sense of pride as I was the first generation of my family immigrants from the West Indies and Latin America to graduate from college in the United States. Attending and graduating from college has been a invaluble experience in that I was able to achieve the American dream and transition from a child of hopeful immigrants to an "elite" college graduate and business woman.
My college experience is one I will forever remember. The first moment I set foot on the grounds of Northampton Community College I began to recognize a change within myself. I became a more out-going friendly person. I learned how to make friends easily and they soon became my second family away from home. Living in an on-campus appartment, I experienced multiple types of living situations. I had multiple roomates, all from different backrounds and lifestyles. This opportunity opened my eyes to morals, values, and family practices different than my own. I have become well rounded, more accepting, and caring to those close to me due to this opportunity. In attending challenging college classes, I have expanded my mind and thinking. I have become more organized, efficient, and successful. My professors at NACC taught me all the tools neccessary to become a successful dental hygienist. I enjoy going to work everyday, meeting with my patients, aiding in the improvement of their overall oral health, and helping them overcome potenial health problems. For these reasons, I have now to decided to go back to college to further my education and expansion of my mind.
You create the experience. Although your college's academic programs, financial aid, and location may be very important in your college selection, the atmosphere is what will most directly affect you. Don't rely on college visits for a sense of the atmosphere. More important are the people you'll surround yourself with, the classes you'll choose, and the activities you'll select. They're like "micro-environments" and they can change drastically. Simply living in suite 101 rather than 102 can make a huge difference. Rely on yourself to place yourself in the best situations possible, given what you've got. Whatever you want, find what makes you happy, and pursue it. And if you need help, just ask! Especially as a Freshman- just go ahead. You're not supposed to know everything about college life anyway. So relax. And certainly ask your professors for help if you need it! Visit their office hours, email them- remember, they're there to help you! Create your experience: Don't like hanging out with the people you met on the first day? ... Make new friends. Don't like your classes? ... Swap. Want your cheese sandwich grilled? ... Try the waffle-maker.
I have recieve an invaluable amount of knowlede and leadership experience from my time at SUNY Albany. I have grown not only as a student but as a person. Living on campus has given me a lot more responsiblity and maturity. Through my involvement on campus in the peer assistance organization called Middle Earth. My experiences with working with hotline clients will prove to be enormously helpful in the future as I pursue my doctorate degree in counseling psychology as well as just interacting with people in general. My primary career goal is to become a counseling psychologist after I complete my undergraduate degree and doctorate degree. I would love to focus my practice on counseling children and young adults; may be even doing some family therapy. Later after I have established myself in my career as a counseling psychologist; I plan on getting my teaching certification. My experiences on the hotline will also help me in my future plans of becoming an educator. My journey at SUNY Albany has open my eyes to so many amazing ideas and provided me with countless oppportunities to help my community. I am very greatful for my SUNY Albany experience!
Finding the right college is very hard on students especially for parents, because they want the best for their kids. For parents it is good to keep in check with their children on what they want to study. They should give them a reality check on what waits for them for their future, but they don't need to be pressured from so early on on such decisions. What I am trying to say is that they need to make that decision (about their future) on their own; and they will through the university they attend, the students and especially the professors they interactwith, and ofcourse the campus they are surrrounded by. Students should decide on what college to attend based on what they should study , and not on which school has the best parties/bars to go to. Paying for any university can be very expensive so parents should explore scholarships and maybe even the option on working on campus. Students should make the most of their college experience by interacting with other students (mostly in class) because thats were friendspis start and also clubs/organizations/sports. Even though schoolwork can accumilate they should make some time to explore .
Entering college, I was unsure of what I wanted to be. I decided to undertake finance and psychology as my majors and felt that the combination could make for an interesting career. Going into my second year, however, I felt something was missing. Perplexed about my future, I ran from my indecision. I studied abroad in Europe and explored the world. The exposure to different countries and people was humbling and exhilarating. A conversation I had with a fellow program participant ended with "The world is ours". These simple words made me realize the potential and opportunity I have been blessed with. I returned with a new-found confidence and quickly added pre-medicine to my discipline. I came to the decision that I would go to medical school and ultimately into psychiatry. This declaration forced me to test my boundaries academically, sharpen my time management skills, and turn to my family and friends for needed support. I am now in medical school pursuing a dream that at one time seemed so far and foreign. Sorting through my desires and fears was accomplished in Albany and has led me to a place that I can truly say I am happy.
I would advise myself to get involved in groups on campus earlier. Right now, as a senior, I am involved and hold a position in seven different groups. Being involved in each one of these groups has given me public speaking skills, leadership qualities, organizational skills, networking skills, and friends who share a common goal of graduating college with a good GPA and continuting to grad school. Through my involvement I have been able to create connections with the community, network with government officials, go overseas and teach English in a school in Haiti, and discover who I really am. My first two years of college I was not very involved with groups on campus. I would be with friends and spend time off campus shopping or doing other things not related to school. Being involved is what allowed me into being the Representative for two differnet programs, the President of one honor society and Membership Chair of another, President of an advocating club for EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) and President of the Haiti Fundraising Committee, and Fundraising Chair of Future Educators Club. I am now considered a Leader on this campus.
My college experience has at times felt like a curse, but has turned out to be a blessing. My parents did not attend college, so I have been attempting to achieve in uncharted waters. Because I could not rely on my parents to help me, I had to embark on my own journey. College has put me in relation to some very talented professors whose insight and perspective have changed my life. I have learned how to create on demand, and how to create out of limited resources. I have tried different artistic and social techniques that I didn't know existed prior to college. I have felt small and overwhelmed, and had to grow past those feelings. After I figured out the system, I have had the opportunity to help other students. The experience of helping others has motivated me to expand my major out towards more altruistic endeavors. Completing my degree will open up the possibility of being accepted into artist residencies. I have developed my skill sets, and expanded my perspectives. The benefit of attending a liberal arts college was the diversity of courses available. Because I attended college I am a more confident learner.
I would advice college students and their parents to analyze what they feel as ideal characteristics in their college of choice first before exploring specific options. It's best to perhaps make a list of these characteristics such as financial aid, location, housing, transportation, social activities available, and academic focus. It is important for the student to make an informed decision early as to what their academic focus will be before choosing the best school. Its smart to have a college that has career exploration programs and will help you obtain that job when school is done. Many colleges just care about getting paid and having you graduate then leave the career search up to you. It is extremely important to discuss funding options before hand as well to make sure the student does not get in over his/her head and have no job in that field on top of it. A college focused apredominately social life and no academics is no place for a serious student. These ideas should be discussed as early as the students start of senior year of high school and the application process started early to allow for the best shot at financial aid.