I think one thing that separates UC is the huge amount of diversity that’s here. There are people I’ve met here from a wide range of cultures. I thought that was a worthwhile experience, and I’ve learned a lot about places I’ve never even heard of. I have friends from Sri Lanka and Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and we all met here in Utica, New York. I think that’s a plus that we have here over other universities. For a small place, we have a wide range of people, especially international students. We have a lot of people from Vietnam. I have a lot of Vietnamese friends, and a couple of friends from Burma. I think that’s a real plus, just being exposed to that diversity of culture, which students at many universities don’t get.
The faculty here is outstanding. I don’t feel any hesitation in going to a professor and asking him or her for extra help. It’s really close too. Just the other day, I went to a barbeque at my professor’s house, and that was really nice. It’s like a "one huge family" type of feeling that you get here. The students here are outstanding too. I’ve made a lot of friends here, in many different circles. I really like the faculty and staff here.
The small class size is definitely a great bonus. Professors know you by your name; therefore, they have a better contact with you, and it really feels like they’re there for you and not for the paycheck. I have professors who ask me, ‘Do you need any help with your paper?’ I don’t have to go up to them. They approach me. And if I have a problem, I feel no hesitation asking them for something. I feel this really personal connection with my professors.
When I came here, I was undecided on a major. I moved toward government and politics my freshman year, with a concentration in pre-law. At first I wasn’t too excited about it, and then I started meeting the professors as well as other students, and I was hooked. I started paying attention to elections, watching the news more, and just getting more involved within the government spectrum. I joined the James Sherman Society organization on campus. The professors are the main reason why I enjoy government and politics so much. It’s nice that the classroom isn’t such a formal environment, where you can’t have active conversations.
The professors have definitely prepared me for the real world. They’ll grill you, but you realize there’s a method behind the madness. The challenge you mentally to make sure that when you get out there in the real world you will be ready for what comes next. I think that’s a positive that the professors are pretty tough. I mean, you feel close to them, but at the same time, it’s not easy. They will go tough on you, and they’ll grade your papers ridiculous, but I believe that’s just one of the great things here about Utica College. They’re preparing me for a future of being a lawyer, and I’m confident I’ll make it. I haven’t applied to law schools yet. I need to take the LSATs, and we’ll see where it goes from there. I have a couple of schools in mind, mostly Albany Law School.
I like Professor Richmond a lot because the first time I met him I saw the syllabus, and I was like, ‘Oh crap.’ I knew I was going to have a hard time. It took a lot of practice, and he did challenge me a lot. He just grills me, and in some odd way I appreciate that. I also like his personality and his comments. It’s just a blast to listen to him in class. He just always ends up making you contradict yourself. But I mean he’s a great professor, and I enjoy having him as a teacher and learning all that I can from him, especially about international politics, the economy, and just things in general.
I also like Professor Luke Perry. He’s a really good government teacher. He’s got a good teaching style because it’s different. There was this one assignment where we had to pretend to be the president and make a speech about how we were going to handle the situation in Syria. That was pretty interesting, just being in the media center and making a speech as the president. He has really cool assignments that you wouldn’t expect. You wouldn’t expect assignments to be so much fun. Another one was about the Lincoln movie that came out in 2012. Just things along those lines. Just that experience of things that are outside the norm I really appreciate because in the end I know it’s going to help my. I feel like I have advantages that other people didn’t because they didn’t have the opportunity to do these sort of things.
Professor Orlin, he’s a tough teacher. He definitely made me challenge myself, particularly when it came to learning about the Constitution. I learned that the Constitution is what people interpret it to be. There’s different outlooks I have because of him, and I’m grateful for that because now I won’t be going into law school blind.
The Young Scholars program has been with me since the sixth grade. They have the UC promise, where if you graduate with your advanced Regents diploma you get a four-year UC scholarship. It was nice just to have them the entire way through. It was good to have that sort of support. I could go to them if I needed help with homework. They had the summer program, which gave me a head start for the next year’s curriculum that other kids wouldn’t have access to. So that was nice right there. And it was because of them that I got my first trip to Washington. That was a nice experience to be able to go to Washington in ninth grade. I’m just very grateful to the program. It really did a lot for me, and they still do. I still go to their office every day and say hi.
Before I came here, I never took an interest in government, even though I knew I wanted to become a lawyer. That interest never really came at me. That change inside of me of gaining in interest in something that I normally wouldn’t was a nice experience. I’m pretty grateful.