The Best Part About Being A Student At St. Thomas Aquinas College

The Best Part About Being A Student At St. Thomas Aquinas College

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One of the biggest obstacles high school students face is choosing where to go to college. With a variety of colleges all over the country, it’s hard to choose just one.

First and foremost, if you’re unsure about attending college or don’t know what you want to major in, my first recommendation is Community College. Community college is a great resource to help those who are struggling to figure out their next step. College in general is far too expensive, so why not save a little and go to community college to try different things? In the end it will benefit greatly and save you thousands!

Now if you’ve finished community college or have an idea of what you would like to do, it’s time to think about choosing a college to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. If you’re a Rockland native like I am and want to stick close to home to save on room and board, St. Thomas Aquinas college is a great choice. Not only is it close and safe, but the campus has so much to offer. The people here are nothing less than wonderful, the school provides an excellent education, and the vast variety of clubs, sports, and activities STAC offers will never leave you bored.

But there is one main reason above the rest as to why I’m glad I decided to come to STAC (St. Thomas Aquinas College)...

While there are many important factors involved in choosing the right college, we must not lose sight of the main reason we’re going to college - to pursue a higher education in a specific field. So when choosing a college, it’s important to get a good grasp of the professors in your field and the curriculum you’ll be learning for the next 4 years. The professors STAC has to offer are the main reason I’m extremely grateful I decided to pursue my Bachelors Degree here. I’m a Business Marketing major and while I mainly have experience with the business professors, I’ve gotten to know some other really great professors STAC has to offer as well.

Considering my major is Business Marketing, I have gotten to know Dr. Deirdre Engels quite well over the past 3 years. Dr. Engels is my advisor and my main professor for my marketing courses here at STAC. Aside from being a wonderful person all around, she is also a phenomenal profesor. While her classes can be challenging at times, she’s fair and is always willing to help anyone who requests it. As a previous marketing employee for the famous drink Snapple, Dr. Engels uses her experience and education to give us an inside look at the marketing world. Dr. Engels has not only helped me in the classroom but outside as well. With her help and the help of Maureen Mulhern and Mary Vota (we’ll discuss them more a little later on) I have gained many internships and learned proper interview skills. She has not only helped me write my resume, but has also given me advice and guidance to better help push me out of my comfort zone and experience different careers. My college experience would have been very different without her help and guidance. Dr. Engels is just ONE of the many professors here at STAC who has helped pave the way to my success.

Professor Pamela Derfus is the Management professor here. With her experience in management, she uses her stories to give students a look at the management side of business. She is hands down, one of the easiest professors to talk too, and very understanding. I’ll be the first to admit, when I first had her, I slacked off a little bit and didn’t do as well I should have. I went to her office one day and explained I wasn’t doing well. Without ever making me feel bad or judging, not only did she give me a second chance to make up an assignment and do better, but she had also set a little bit of her free time to help me one on one and walk me through a project I didn’t understand. She is a prime example of the lengths the professors here will go too to help you succeed.

Professor Christine Cahill is the Business Law teacher and she is probably the chillest professor here at STAC. Her laid back attitude makes class fun and enjoyable. Straying away from the stereotypical boring college lectures, she likes to have class discussions sharing our own stories about the law that we may have seen or heard of. As a former lawyer, Professor Cahill ties her own past experiences into the lessons you discuss in class. Her examples range from her own experiences to famous court cases such as the O.J. Simpson case, and Marbury vs. Madison. Now aside from being the Business Law professor here, she is also the Assistant Dean. So if there’s ever a problem outside of class, you can always go to her for help. Professor Cahill has helped me out of a jam or two!

Professor Mariellen Murphy-Holahan is the accounting teacher here and I will be the first to say her classes are challenging! Professor Holahan who formerly worked in the Finance/Accounting department of Verizon uses her experiences to tie the curriculum into the real world. I can confidently say I am not a strong accounting student AT ALL (haha), but Professor Holahan always made time to help me and recommended me to tutoring. The best part about her is she believed I could do it and did everything in her power to help me, and that’s a nice feeling. Knowing your professor cares and believes you can do it, even when you doubt yourself.

Professor Mihal is the Economics professor and she is probably the smartest person I’ve ever met. With her vast experience and background in Economics, she takes the time to slowly explain each component to make sure we understand how supply and demand works. She takes her time to explain the curriculum and uses drawings in her lessons which helps a lot for visual learners. Her attitude in the classroom is always super positive and bubbly. Professor Mihal always praised me when my work in her class improved which was a big help to me!

Professor Winship is the Communications professor and probably the happiest person you will ever meet. I don’t think there has ever been a time where I haven’t seen her smiling! As a previous recruiter, her stories will have you crying laughing. From ridiculous interview stories, to gross office habits she’s seen, it’s needless to say her lectures are never boring! Professor Winship has a large experience in the world of interviewing and will use her stories and experience to guide you to land your next job. Don’t avoid doing her work because in the end, you’re only damaging yourself. Everything she teaches you are things you will take far beyond graduation.

Outside of my business professors, there are so many other great professors and people I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn from.

Ms. Mulhern is the Director of Career Development, she has helped me so much in the world of internships and interviewing. Ms. Mulhern took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and practice interview questions to prepare me for an upcoming internship interview I had. In addition she also set me up into a KPMG mentor program which has also helped me with my interview and job searching skills.

Mary Vota is the Experiential Learning Director here at STAC. Ms. Vota has helped turn my internships into school credit and has always praised my work and drive to do well. She is such a big help to anyone who’s looking to gain experience outside of the classroom and always super nice. She was a huge supporter in my internship process! Thanks to her and Ms. Mulhern, I completed 3 internships during my time at STAC.

Professor Daly Flanagan is one of the art professors here. Professor Flanagan will remind you how fun art can really be while teaching you the history of art as well. As we grow up, sometimes we push our artistic creativity side to the corner. Professor Flanagan helps bring that piece of you out again and reminds you of how fun art is. There was never a class I wasn’t excited to attend. From simple drawings, to photography, to sculpting, her class was never boring. She encouraged me to continue my journey into photography and reminded me how fun art can be! Who knew I’d miss being assigned projects?

Professor Meghan DeWitt is one of the math professors here on campus. Professor DeWitt’s class is challenging but she is a great professor. She shares some pretty cool math facts you’d never think of, and shares how gambling works with her lesson in probability. In addition, she always gave opportunities to pick up your grade, and the best part of her class was my final project. Remember in elementary school when your teacher gave you a project to do and told you to be creative? Well that’s what Professor DeWitt does. With the choice of our creativity we can do almost anything to tie something we’ve learned during the semester into a project. I remember I spent days designing a game incorporating everything we learned and even designed a t-shirt as the prize. While this project took a long time, it was so much fun to do. Hands down my favorite final project of my entire college experience.

There are so many other professors I didn’t get the chance to learn from but wish I did!

All of the professors in my list have one goal, and that is to teach you and help you succeed in college. I have had friends who sit in a lecture hall of 300 students where the professor doesn’t even know their name. Here at STAC, my professors know my name and so much more.

So for any High School student looking into college whether it’s St. Thomas Aquinas or not, ask about the professors. Your education is important, and the people teaching you are equally as important. A true professor will want you to do well and succeed. I will remember each of these professors long after I graduate.Thank you, to each professor who has not only helped me grow as a student, but as a person as well!

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The Post Grad Phase No One Talks About

Graduation is all fun and games until you remember everything you're leaving behind.

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"Congratulations!" It's such a small, exciting word. The weekend I graduated from college, this was the only word I seemed to hear. It left me feeling confused. Congrats on leaving all my best friends behind? Congrats on never finding comfort in that morning stroll across campus again? Congrats on leaving a town I have called home? Congrats on leaving the school that has taught me some of the most valuable lessons? I just couldn't seem to find the excitement in this word-- all I could think about were the things I was going to miss.

5 -- The Local Restaurants, Bars, Shops

To be completely honest, it's almost insulting having to leave behind all of the restaurants, bars, and shops in your college town. After years, you have finally found all of your favorite hot spots-- places to day drink and avoid going to class, a spot to grab a pizza to celebrate a Friday, a boutique for a last minute game day outfit, and even your favorite local coffee shop.

So, it doesn't quite qualify as a restaurant or a bar, but the local Target (that closed at midnight!!) was my hot spot. My roommate and I would go there for any and all reasons. We would go to buy school supplies to mark a new school year. We'd go late at night to buy our favorite binge worthy snacks. On our many and short "let's be healthy binges" we would buy a ton of fruits and vegetables we never ate. We spent a ton on Christmas decorations and Valentine's Day candy. The house that built me, ya know what I mean?

4 -- The Campus

You walk on campus so many times during your college career. Unfortunately, most of the time, you take your surroundings for granted. But remember these things: the campus saw you on your worst and your best days, the campus saw you crying to your mom on the phone when you knew you had to change your major, your campus saw you when you got the call letting you know you got into graduate school, and these buildings let you sit on the steps when you needed a chance to breathe between classes.

You'll take all of these buildings and campus surroundings for granted, until it's your last walk. My last walk around campus as a student was hard. It was suddenly even more beautiful than I remembered. It had been my home for four years, and somehow four years had gone by in a blink of an eye.

3 -- Game Days

If you're fortunate enough to go to a football school, you know how fun game days are. Game days in the south are all about dressing your best, getting up early to tailgate (because you can't drink all day if you don't start early), and cheering on your team. You get to spend an entire day with all of your best friends at your favorite school.

It's weird leaving the student section for the last time. I remember we all looked around and said "Thanks Bryant Denny," knowing we'd for sure be back in the fall as alumni, but our time as student fans had officially come to an end. One of the hardest things about this goodbye is that it's the first goodbye you really have as a senior. When the season comes to a close, you have yet to finish your first semester, but you realize how fast it's flying by.

2 -- Greek Life

Similar to game days, if you were lucky enough to join Greek life, you know how hard it is to leave. Going to a big school, you realize how communal Greek life has made your college experience. Somehow, everyone knows everyone. You start seeing the same faces around campus, and it's served as a comfort for you. You have made endless friendships in your house, but you've also made friends in other houses. The people in your house have become your family for four years.

I ate every single meal at my house. I studied for all my exams at my house. I complained to my friends about annoying classes. I celebrated my successes and the successes of others at my house. I found my people at my house.

1 -- Your People

Your people are what you'll miss the most. Your people are the reason the word "congratulations" is so daunting. You're leaving your support system. Your people are starting jobs or continuing their education, but not with you. Your people will be scattered all across the country.

This is the absolute hardest part of leaving college. This is the reason I cried all the way home with my car packed to the brim. My girls have been with me through the good and the bad for four years. Even weeks after graduating, it's hard to write this without shedding a few tears. To my girls: I already miss Netflix and wine nights, I miss Snapchats after a night out at the bars, and I miss walking over to your houses just to do homework. You are all so special to me, and I will be cheering you all on throughout your next adventures. Can't wait to plan many trips together!

You will miss these things, and this phase will be one you'll go through. But the point of the matter is, you'll have these memories and these people forever. So, congratulations! Congratulations on an unforgettable college experience. Your future is bright.

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5 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Remember when everyone told you that high school was going to be the best four years of your life.. and then it wasn't? Well now for some of you, comes the BEST and WORST four years of your life. Here's a little bit you need to know in order to be prepared for the eventful year to come.

Scleigh1
Scleigh1
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Yes, believe it or not your parents, friends, and teachers were right. College is SO much different than high school in so many different ways. Luckily, I just survived my freshman year so I was in your place literally a year ago today. Everyone tells you how different college is from high school but they don't tell you how and that's what I'm here for! Lets just start with the 1st difference....

1. A whole new world

You will feel like your in a new world because in a way you are. You will suddenly be surrounded by so many groups of people, new cultures, different lifestyles, different languages, everything is so NEW. Not only are you not going to class with the same people everyday that you have seen in the hall for years but you are going to classes with complete strangers from all over the states and sometimes even the world. You are suddenly going to have to share a room with a stranger or even a best friend which can also lead to some issues. But what is most important to know is that even though you feel alone the first few weeks or even months... trust me so does everyone else, its okay to feel overwhelmed its normal. We all have absolutely no idea what we are doing we are all just pretending like we have somewhat of a plan. I met most of my friends my freshman year through being completely LOST on campus.

2. Making new friends

One thing that you aren't taught how to do in high school or honestly by anyone is how to make friends. I knew most people in my classes throughout high school so when I started college I hardly knew anyone besides my roommate. It definitely took me a while to branch out and start making friends but I had to remind myself to put myself out there and eventually I met some wonderful humans. Remember to always be yourself and you will attract people that WANT to be your friend. It takes time but once again, you are not alone. It will look like people already have their group and stuff but everyone is struggling just as much as you most likely.

3. Responsibilities 

The new responsibilities you will have... get prepared, they will hit you like a truck or at least they did me. You will suddenly be responsible for cleaning your room, doing your laundry, feeding yourself, doing your homework, remembering specific dates, paying bills, honestly the list becomes never ending because you are slowly becoming an adult :(((( I remember a time when I wanted to be an adult, now all i want to do is be in kindergarten taking a nap LOL, Luckily I already was familiar with most of these things as were others im sure but there are also people that haven't had to do some of the things by them selves before which can be overwhelming at times. You will eventually fall into your own personal routine and get your own system going and things will become second nature. Don't be afraid of this, just be prepared in order to have the most stress free incoming year.

4. Academics...

The real reason we are in college in the first place. Yeah, here is where your parents and teachers were right... high school courses and college courses can be either very similar or very different. It honestly depends on what the course is and who your professor is but, for the most part, college courses and professors are much different. Professors do not like to repeat themselves and expect you to remember any important dates they mention. They expect you to write it down, no excuses. In high school you teachers would give you a break but that's not really how college works. Some professors may cut you some slack but most wont. Do NOT waste a professors time and remember that even though you are paying to go to school there, you can get kicked out in a heart beat so don't risk it. Refrain from talking in class, and show up!!! you can miss one thing and the next thing you know you have a 5 page paper due in a few days. Save yourself the stress and just pay attention for the whole 50 minute or hour and a half class you have.

5. Packing 

PACK LIGHTLY!!! I packed so much unnecessary clothes, decorations, etc, that I ended up not needing or never even using. Safe as much space as you can because your dorm room will definitely get cluttered fast and you will accumulate more things throughout the year. So, pack the clothes and decor you NEED. Try your best to not over pack (as hard as it is (; )

6. Homesickness

No one:

Every college student ever: "Ugh I can't wait to go to college I hate living here!"

You know we've all said it but you will most likely get homesick at some point. My house is not far from the College at all and even I still was homesick sometimes. Its one of those things that everyone goes through so remember you are not alone. Luckily, we live in the 21st century too so you can always video chat your fam and send them some love. Its okay to be homesick just try to get more involved and do things you would do if you were at your own house. I always try to bring a few things from home too just to look at and remind myself that I will see my family soon.

Freshman year was difficult for me to adjust to as im sure it was to others, so hopefully you keep these tips in mind this summer as you prepare for your first year of college! I am excited for you all to start this next chapter, welcome to the beginning of adulthood class of 2023!

Scleigh1
Scleigh1

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