My transition from high school to college has been pretty unique due to COVID-19. I was lucky that I attended a college that opened their campus this year and it is obvious that the people who planned this semester worked really hard to make sure that students were safe. I participated in a pre-orientation program for POC and first-gen freshmen where I was able to meet some great upperclassmen, freshmen, and faculty. This program along with other organizations on campus made meeting people really easy and I am glad that I took those opportunities early on. One funny thing that surprised me about college was that kids really do love sitting on the lawn and hanging out. I always thought the lawn being the spot, kids tossing around footballs, and those games that people play on the lawn were just something you see in the movies. I was also surprised at the number of resources available to students for work/ professional development as well as resources to ensure you do good in your classes. Among other things, one of my best friends Ryon, who I met at Nativity, moved to Providence this past summer so I have been able to continue my friendships with him. It was nice to have a good friend on day 1 of college
so nearby. He and his family are a reminder of Worcester and make me feel less homesick.
Campus life is pretty fun. My friends and I have been able to explore the city of Providence and I am really enjoying Providence so far, especially the downtown area. Club meetings are mostly done through Zoom but there are some special events that are done in-person sometimes which are always a lot of fun. I’m not partying right now because I am not an idiot and I’ve seen many people do that right now which has been really frustrating. There was an off-campus party sometime in September that caused Providence College to go on full lockdown and also made the zipcode around the school a red zone. It hurts to see my peers act in a selfish way that impacts the predominantly POC neighborhoods that we are surrounded by. Not only that but these students get no repercussions while
BIPOC faculty and students are harassed by on-campus police. I love this community that I’ve entered, but I wish that some students would act less selfishly. Even today, on November 12th, as I am writing this there are concerns about a spike in COVID-19 cases on a specific floor in a dorm hall I live next to. I hope that we can return for next semester but as cases spike nationally, statewide, and on-campus I am doubtful that we’ll come back, unfortunately.
I miss my family and home-cooked food a lot. One thing about the food at Providence College (PC) is that the main cafe’s food is not that good, it’s 50/50 most times. I’ve heard from upperclassmen that the food was actually worse in previous years. There are other on campus restaurants and cafes that are better but they are separate from the meal plan unfortunately. The restaurant scene in Providence is pretty good but I’ve only been to a couple of restaurants so far. Other than that I miss my old friend group from back home, fortunately most of the people in my friend group are still living in Worcester and when I get back from breaks I’ll be able to maybe visit them. Right now my only communication with them is either FaceTime or group chats which isn’t the same as hanging out in
person but it is better than nothing.
My advice to younger Nativity guys is the same thing an upperclassman told me about college and that is that closed mouths don’t get fed. Advocate for yourself, expose yourself to clubs/ organizations on campus, work with different offices on campus. I’ve been working with the Center for Career Education and Professional Development and I have been working with one woman there who has helped me revise my resume, create a LinkedIn profile, and who has exposed me to various opportunities and internships that I’ll be applying to soon. It is easier than ever to get involved right now because most resources, clubs, etc. are done through Zoom calls which makes the barrier to entry lower than before. If you are shy it makes going to your first meeting easier. You’ll meet new people, strengthen the bonds
with the friends you already have, and learn more about resources available to you on campus.
For those of you in high school, it is important to use the resources available at Grad support. It is different this year because of COVID but
through grad support in my senior year of high school I applied to various scholarships, finished up my college applications, finished my financial aid, and revised my resume. The grad support team is there to help you and I know will be eager to help you with whatever you need or send you in the right direction to find resources at Nativity or your school.
Once you do get to college, if that’s what you want to do after high school, it is important to understand that Alumni from your college/university are more than happy to help you. Alumni love more about their job, connecting you to other people in their network, and/or leading you in the right direction. I’ve heard from alumni of my college that they actually don’t hear much from current students as much as they want, especially when they make themselves resources. Create a LinkedIn ASAP and look into if your college has any websites/ services that are used to connect alumni and current students. For me, PC has a service called FriarLink which is similar
to LinkedIn but made specifically for PC students who want to meet alum. It is extremely helpful if I want to learn more about people before sending cold messages or just to connect with other PC grads.