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Reflections on Hunter College

HunterLogo1.jpgIn the days before graduation, as I busied myself with trying to get more than my allotted two tickets for the more than 20 family members who wanted to attend the ceremony and find a nice, affordable restaurant where we could celebrate, I stopped, took a breath and it hit me: College was over.

Hunter was not my first choice for college. I had intended to go to Johnson and Wales University in Providence and become a chef. When the cost of tuition materialized, I realized it was a lost dream that a single mother from the Bronx couldn't afford. Luckily my high school had required all students to apply to CUNY. I was accepted to Hunter, a shock to many kids and, later, myself, "How did you get accepted to that smart school?" 

The summer before classes started I was introduced to the school by an orientation program. I met new friends and even and caught up with an old middle school buddy. I felt better; although not my first choice, Hunter was the right choice in the end.

When I entered, I was a film major. During my time at Hunter I have at some point unofficially been a psychology major, history major and sociology major. Officially, I graduated with a double major in media studies and creative writing.

One stand-out moment that summarizes my experience at the college was when one journalism professor who, after embarrassing me in front of the class because I did not do the assignment, called for a 10-minute break. He then led me to the cafeteria and, after buying me a soda, told me, "You know, you remind me of myself. We come from the same place. Where we come from people don't necessarily care and we aren't given the same opportunities as other people so it's easy to mess up." Having come from the New York City public school system, I wasn't used to this level of individual attention. The conversation ended with my professor telling me I had something in my writing and that I was going to face bigger obstacles than an assignment I didn't want to do along the way to success.

That's how it has been at Hunter. Teachers are invested not only in the quality of your work, but also in your well-being. Sure I took some required classes that had hundreds of kids, like Weather and Climate or Film 101, but where else would we meet college sweethearts in labs and lifelong friends from other majors?

I've had esteemed, published, award-winning professors in the media department as well as in the creative writing department. They always pushed and encouraged me to do better while acknowledging the talent I do have. Through my classes I've had experiences that have shaped and molded me: I helped my fellow Bronxites in giving them a voice in the Hunts Point Express, and attended a range of events, from a Golden Gloves boxing match to a rally organized by a family fighting to name a street after their grandfather. 

It was through Hunter that I made the numerous connections that continue to this day, even after I graduate. I got my current job through the career development office in my sophomore year. They have been my second family throughout school, encouraging me through each final and paper. Through the CUNY Journalism and Media Job Fair I got my current internship at Education Update and met a great mentor, Dr. Pola Rosen. And these are all aside from the numerous friends I've made from all walks of life.

Although writing papers deep into the night, snapping jokes on the bridge, sleeping on the couches, partying in Thomas Hunter, and surviving off of curly fries are all over, I leave Hunter College equipped with the tools and connections to chase my dreams.

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