As they have grown, changed and worked to earn their degrees, UAlbany's graduating class of 2003 has also seen war, recession and the tragedy of 9/11. With Commencement approaching, five seniors took a few moments to reflect on their experiences at UAlbany and what lies ahead.
Hometown: Wappinger's Falls, NY
When I was thinking about college, I expected that I would take classes that would stimulate my intellectual development. I also expected that if I wanted to get involved then there would be many organizations to choose from. The last thing that I expected is that I would go to a university where I could speak my mind and not get in trouble for it.
Everything was realized at UAlbany. I had the opportunity to be a part of some amazing classes that have made me a more intellectual person. I had many organizations to choose from and I did as many as I could. I have also been able to speak my mind on anything I wanted and have never been told that I can’t.
When I was in High School (Roy C. Ketcham) I very much wanted to help people by becoming a medical doctor. I took an advanced placement class in Biology and soon found that it wasn’t for me. I still wanted to help people and remembered taking a psychology class in high school. I remember seeing many school shootings around that time and decided that becoming a guidance counselor and eventually a principal are the jobs for me, which is why I became a psychology major and an education minor.
All of the events of the past four years have been easier to deal with because of my friends, family, and the UAlbany faculty and staff. I felt very comfortable at a University that promotes free speech and has many kinds of support staff. The real world is different when you are at a college setting, but UAlbany has prepared me enough to be able to take it on.
I have become a better, more intellectual person. I am more confident, a better public speaker, and more open-minded. Professionally I grew by joining many organizations, clubs, and committees. I have been part of Middle Earth, Future Educator’s Club, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Inter Fraternity Council, the school’s Judicial Board, The University Community Relations Committee, the Adopt a Block program committee, Sexuality Week Planning Committee, The President’s Advisory Committee Concerning Drugs and Alcohol and Women’s Safety, and The DOC (Discussing Our Choices) facilitation group. All this has helped me grow professionally. Socially I have made many great friendships with faculty, staff, and students.
Pivotal or life changing experiences…
Pledging and being a part of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity has been a life-changing event for me. My fraternity brothers have been an amazing support system during my four years. It has made me a better and stronger person and has also allowed me to have a family away from my real family. Joining the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Hotline has also been very life changing. It has taught me how to be a better counselor and person. The friendships that I have made and the support I have gotten from the counseling center staff have been indescribable.
I will also never forget the many school events like Fountain Day or Park Fest. It has been great to see all the students come out and support our school.
I have made many strong relationships here, but I will talk about a few. John Murphy, director of judicial affairs, has been a great mentor to me. I felt very comfortable coming into his office and just talking about my life or fraternity issues. He has gotten me through some tough times. Others in Student Life, like Omar Torres, have also done the same. My other mentor is Dr. Delores Cimini, who is the Director of Middle Earth. I have had some tough times this year and she has gotten me through all of them. I owe all my success to her because she has been the hand to point the way. The rest of the counseling center staff has also been there for me. Last but not least, my fraternity brothers have become the brothers I never had. The relationships I have made with my brothers have been wonderful.
I am happy to say that I like this University enough to get my master’s degree here. I will be in the guidance-counseling program for about two more years. I have many things that I want to do over the next two years -- I want to help fraternities grow, help provide alcohol and other drug education, and help out Middle Earth.
I have loved being at this University as an undergrad. I have no regrets and have made the most out of my college experience. Graduating means a lot to me. I have an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment thanks to UAlbany.
I look forward to being here next year as a graduate student and feel ready to begin the program. My short-term plan is to graduate with certification in guidance counseling and start right away. My long-term goals include becoming a principal at a high school and then eventually a superintendent of a district. Even further along, I would love to get into politics and maybe even become a senator.
Commencement May 2003