Students of MI: Alina

“I originally thought I would move south to go to college. I ended up touring local public universities and fell in love with Saginaw Valley State University. The size of the school was perfect, and it was just far enough away from my hometown that I felt like I was on my own. SVSU wasn’t even on my radar a year beforehand, but it turned out to be exactly what I wanted in a school.

My family moved to Michigan largely for education. They portrayed a college degree as my key to a successful future. I was taught by my family that if I wanted to make good money and move up in the world, college was my best option. That being said, I still didn’t understand how important college was until I was at SVSU experiencing it myself.

One of my first experiences at SVSU was getting involved in alternative breaks. Alternative breaks offer students the opportunity to travel the country completing service projects that tackle important social issues. I knew that I enjoyed service, so it seemed like a great opportunity. I fell in love with the program and stuck with it for a few years. I even joined the e-board along the ride.

I’ve met some of my best friends in my position as an RA. Our entire staff is so easy to get along with. The people I met at this job have become my core group of friends, and I know that we’ll continue our friendship after college. SVSU even gave me the opportunity to study abroad, which was really cool.

Being in student organizations has really helped develop my leadership skills. I feel more comfortable navigating difficult situations and communicating with others. I’m now able to articulate the things I need to say with ease. Since I’m going into education, I will need these skills to make meaningful connections with the students in my classroom.

The most important thing to do in college is get out of your comfort zone. College can be hard if you’re not putting in enough effort. As a freshman, I was fearful of stepping out and trying new things. As I started to put more pressure on myself to try new things, I got more out of my time at SVSU. You don’t have to go out of state to find unique opportunities, you just have to be willing to make them yourself.”

(Alina, Elementary Special Education, Saginaw Valley State University)



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