Phaedra’s Transfer Story: From GCC to Hunter College
My experience at Guttman started very much at odds of how my time as a student here ended. Growing up in the suburbs before moving to New York City, my idea of the college experience had always been that of what is seen in movies: sprawling campuses with dorm buildings, department buildings, food halls, and sports complexes. It was what we all looked forward to at my high school that was a miniature college campus itself, complete with large grounds, four sports fields, an auditorium, and around 3,000 students.Since then my idea of the college experience has changed multiple times. Once moved to New York, my idea of large campuses had changes, but my idea of Community Colleges had not. What is taught in schools generally is that you should never set your sights on a two-year school, you should aim to achieve higher than that. Which says that you cannot achieve anything by going to a Community College. However as I started the process of entering Guttman Community College, my opinions and misconceptions gave way to the knowledge I gained here.
While I was accepted into a couple four-year universities, none of them was financially worth it in terms of curriculum,cost of living, and so forth. During the commitment period for schools, my mom was in the middle of a Master’s program in Higher Education and Administration.Through her classmates, many from the CUNY world, she heard about Guttman and its innovative model. And so, I started at Guttman Fall of 2015.
Coming into Guttman, I still had some preconceived notion of what a Community College was, but all of those were redefined shortly after my first semester. I truly saw that the emphasis was on creating a community of students and faculty that made the support network easily accessible and truly impactful to the student life. By the middle of my first year, I had made connections in so many areas of the college that I found work in the IT Office on campus. That started my interest in seeing all the facets of the college, and I knew I wanted to be more than just a student here.
As a student, I personally did not feel challenged academically. Coming from pushing myself in AP classes, art, extracurricular, and sports, I found myself severely lacking challenges.Working on campus gave me more to do, but I still wanted to give back even more to a college that gives everything to the student. That is when I decided to run for Student Government Association President. I started a platform with another student who was running as my Vice President. We both saw a chance for us to advocate for students and connect their voice with those that could make a difference. We won our campaign and were sworn in the summer before our second year, in 2016.
Being in SGA gave me even more insight to the campus climate and I was further motivated to give my time to help wherever I could. I was able to spread news of scholarships, internships, date of events,and even important transfer information for my fellow second year students. Specifically during my time, there were some glitches with the CUNY Transfer Application, and there were steps that students had to take to ensure their application was marked as completed. Given that we were transferring from a CUNY school, it was not up to us to send transcripts or pay the application fee.However, those two steps would be marked as incomplete thus; rendering the entire application incomplete and it would not even be considered. All that was required to fix this was to send an email to the CUNY Help Desk with your name,application number, and CUNY EMPIL ID. It was a small step that was not common knowledge to even take, one of my SGA Senators found out from their Career Strategist and in turn told us. We told as many people as we could, however some students never found out and had to defer their decision to the next term through no fault of their own.
Once I transferred to Hunter College to study Behavioral Neuroscience, I found another role at Guttman. I joined the Peer Mentoring Program and during the Fall of 2017, I was co-facilitating LABSS classes with SSA’s, and then in the Spring of 2018 I moved to the Admissions Office where I was helping students through the enrollment process to Guttman. Both aspects of the role were learning experiences but I still knew I wanted a more permanent position in Guttman. During the summer of 2018, I worked closely with the Office of Student Engagement to create a role for me working in the Dean’s Office. I started July of 2018 and have been here since. It has given me even more insight to the ins and outs of Guttman and I find myself in a significant position of understanding the student experience firsthand and seeing what goes into their support system. I am able to speak to both sides and it has helped me in many situations.
Coming into Guttman as a student, there was no way for me to foresee the role that this community would have on my life. I have seen exponential growth in myself and in the school, and I am grateful to have a permanent role here to continue to witness this growth.