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Reflections from a Graduating Senior

[Editor’s note:  every year, we ask graduating seniors to look back on their time at Lesley and offer their thoughts on their experiences. This article was written by Asha Janay. She is a Psychology major, with a minor in Social Work.]
When I first came to Lesley two years ago as a transfer student from UMass Boston, I admit that I felt out of place. In the majority of my classes, I was either the only African-American student or maybe there were several others.  I felt like I was transferring from a multicultural school to a majority-white school. Don’t take that the wrong way:  I had no problem with coming to Lesley—I am the kind of person who likes to socialize with everyone, and I do my best to be friendly. But being one of the only minority students did take some getting used to.One of the main reasons I transferred from Umass Boston to Lesley University was because I had heard so many positive things about this school from people I knew– my supervisors at work, my doctor, and others.  I was doing okay at UMass Boston, but the school was often impersonal:  there wasn’t much one-on-one time with my professors, and I didn’t find them as helpful or as supportive as I needed them to be.  So, when I heard that Lesley University was a school devoted to teaching and learning, and a school with small classes and teachers who were very interactive and supportive, I was ready to make a change, and I wanted to transfer as soon as I could. And let me tell you that coming to Lesley has turned out to be one of the best choices I ever made.Since I have been at Lesley for three years now and I will soon be graduating, of course I want to discuss the good things (like the interesting classes, the supportive faculty, and the helpful advisors).  But first, I need to talk about one of the things that made it difficult for me to fully enjoy the Lesley experience.  I am a commuter student, and not living on campus had a big effect on me.  I didn’t have the opportunity to hang out with my classmates after class because I would either have to rush to work or rush to another class or meet with a client I mentor.  Because I was so busy and not on campus, that made it hard to make new friends.  In fact, while I met many wonderful people, I don’t think I have one close friend or classmate I talk to on a daily basis.If I were able to change things around, I would probably have lived in the dorms, but that wasn’t possible, since I not only go to school—I work full-time, and I also help to take care of my grandmother, who is ill.  However, whenever I could, I tried to go to some school events, even if I sometimes couldn’t plan till the last minute.  But not having much free time made it harder for me to join any clubs or attend athletic events.  And I also wish I could have played a sport (like soccer). Unfortunately, I had no time to try out.

But I don’t want you to think that the stress of being a commuter student is all I will remember about Lesley.  The truth is that there were many benefits, and I am so glad I transferred to Lesley.  One of the things I liked the most was how everyone was so helpful to each other.  I would always get greeted with a smile; professors were always willing to work with the students, rather than complaining about being too busy; and the professors were always flexible with their office hours, which as a commuter, I really appreciated. Also, I found it useful that the events of the week were emailed to us, which kept me informed about what was happening on campus.

As I said earlier, when I first came to Lesley, I worried that as an African-American, I would feel out of place; and I wondered if I would be included. However, I was pleasantly surprised—everyone went out of their way to make me feel welcome, and people were always trying to create a more inclusive campus.  I can honestly say I did not encounter any racism at Lesley, and once I got used to the school, I never felt uncomfortable.  Many people encouraged me, and I appreciated it.  So, now that I am graduating, I want to tell any student who is considering Lesley that this is a really good place to be.  Lesley is a school that will help you with your career choice, and give you the guidance to have a better future.   As I said, transferring to Lesley was one of the best decisions I ever made.

AishaJanay

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