By Juliana Coates, freshman, Major: chemistry with emphasis in forensics, Minor: French and biology. Activities/Organizations: Presidential Honor Society, Biology Club, work part time at Albany Medical Center in labor and delivery ward.
It's a cloudy day in Albany as I head over to Indian Quad to meet up with Yvette Morris. She arrives promptly with a smile on her face. "You know what," I say to her, "I remember you from freshman orientation." Yvette laughs. "A lot of people tell me that," she replies.
Yvette is an interesting girl. She came to UAlbany quite by chance. Originally, she was to attend Northeastern, but didn't receive adequate financial aid. With that, she took her fall semester off and worked while her twin sister attended UAlbany. Throughout the semester, Yvette visited her sister and liked the campus more and more. She liked it so much that she decided to apply.
Her first year she landed a job with Residential Life (ResLife). Her sister had also been involved and had made a good reputation for herself. Knowing that, Yvette decided to uphold the reputation and she has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of ResLife for her entire career at UAlbany.
Through Res Life, Yvette became involved with the multicultural organization known as C.H.A.R.G.E. She has helped plan various programs, and recently worked on the production of the Multicultural Show (which had a huge turn out).
Yvette was also an orientation assistant for the summer freshmen orientation program. "It proved to be an exhausting but fun opportunity that permitted me to interact with the incoming freshmen in a unique way...I was the first face of the University that the students saw, and it was up to me to make their overnight experience enjoyable and memorable so that they'd want to return in the fall."
In spring of 2002, she studied abroad in England. Why England? Call it fate… "I had this picture of Big Ben and on the back I had written `I want to go here.'" The school there had classes that fit both her major and her interests. Everything factored in, she had a great experience there, and even picked up a bit of an English accent at which her friends poke fun. She would love to go back sometime.
Speaking of Yvette's major, like many students she switched her major. She originally thought she wanted to be a communication major, but while taking her General Education requirements, she happened to take Medieval and Renaissance Studies. "It was perfect. I had always been a history buff, and the major allowed me to not only take history classes, but also art history, religious studies, theater, English, and other classes as well."
In high school her teachers noticed this passion for journalism and communications coupled with her love of history. Her journalism teacher wrote in Yvette’s yearbook: “Whether you do journalism or history, you'll succeed.”
I asked about her most memorable professors here. She smiled and mentioned that all her professors have been very helpful. She will always remember them because their love of their subjects made her classes interesting.
Besides academics, Yvette says the friendships that she developed have been the highlight of her time at UAlbany. Her advice to freshman on this topic: "It's a big place, and you may get the feeling that you won't fit in. It can be overwhelming at first, but there are lots of things you can do, like start a club, get to know your floor mates. What you do helps you fit in and you have somewhere to go." In addition, she recommends taking advantage of all opportunities available at UAlbany. "You'll always learn something new and have a lot of fun doing it."
Something else she learned at college -- getting along on your own. "Working with ResLife improved my communication skills and I have more confidence in myself. My time abroad in England really forced me to grow up. That experience also taught me the value of my
own culture and the importance of learning about different cultures." All in all, she says that she feels ready for whatever she chooses to do in life.
My final question to her was to ask what kind of legacy she feels she is leaving at UAlbany. Yvette paused for a minute with a look of concentration on her face. "I did everything to the best of my ability, worked hard and had fun doing it."