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1. Iraida, we have so much to cover from the short time you’ve been a part of our community, but let’s start from the beginning. You went to high school up in Franklin Township, but decided to attend Rutgers – Camden. What were some of your deciding factors when you compared RUC vs some other universities in your backyard?
I reside in New Brunswick and went to a school out of my hometown. Going to school at Central Jersey College Prep Charter School since seventh grade made me accustomed to smaller class sizes and a more approachable connection to the staff and faculty there. Enjoying that small school feel I wanted to transfer those feelings to college. Without a doubt Rutgers was one of my top choices but only Rutgers Camden gave me that vibe. I grew up seeing the “R” around me so many times that it felt like home. I decided that RU was for me, and once I was accepted to Camden, I decided to live on-campus.
2. Well we’re glad to have you in our Raptor family and a member of our campus residence! Outside of travel time, what are some of the benefits you’ve experienced from living on-campus?
Some benefits I received when I decided to live on campus was and still is the chance to build my independence. I grew up the youngest of five siblings and being so, my family always made sure that I was equipped for anything. Living in the dorms helped me learn to do several things on my own such as self-discipline. At home you were given a time for dinner, homework, and sleep; college forces you to build the best time management you can. On-campus, you are exposed to all sorts of different people and you get to create friendships that you would not have necessarily had being a commuter.
3. You must be very proud to be a ‘First Generation Student’. How was the transition from high school to college, being the first from your family to experience it?
Since I am not only the youngest of five, but the first to attend college, it has been extremely difficult. From applying, to financial aid, to getting the last bit of paperwork submitted for Rutgers University-Camden, the process was a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, being at the school I was in, students received help understanding and applying to colleges. Everything that I am doing is shaping a path for my family behind me. Since I am the first in my family to go to college, as well as the youngest of five siblings, I have no one that can relate to what I am going through at home and that will continue to be a factor. Thankfully, I have the resources here to help me. I am also lucky to be the first. I want to show my family that anything is possible, even if it hasn’t been in the past for us. I am thankful, not only was I chose RUC, but that I was admitted to the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program. Along with the grant EOF offers, it consists of a five-week intensive program during the summer. The EOF Summer Institute gave me a head start on not only learning about how classes were going to be, but also how amazing the resources are here at Rutgers – Camden
4. What a great way to get acclimated and comfortable prior to the start of your Freshman year. Are you still involved with EOF as a student?
Yes, I am still currently involved with EOF. Not only do I work in the office where EOF Faculty is housed, but I am also currently the Public Relations representative for EOF’s Student Advisory Board. We have had past events that I worked on flyers and managed their social media account to market the program. I also volunteer at EOF events to give a current student’s perspective of the program. I believe you should give back the things that helped you prosper and EOF has helped me every step of the way. I am forever grateful for this opportunity, and I will continue to advocate to prospective students and parents of what EOF has to offer here at this university
5. It sounds like you may have an interest in Marketing. Have you given that any thought?
Yes! I have given marketing a thought, this may potentially be my major. I love social media. I am fascinated by the forms of marketing there are and the way people use technology to grab others’ attention to sell products. Not only do I look forward to studying marketing, but I am also looking into doing a possible minor in Graphic Design to build my knowledge on creating flyers, websites, and logos.
6. That’s great that you’re narrowing down your focus to such a booming industry. We’ve actually created a new Track in Digital Marketing that may interest you once you finalize your major. The exciting part is how much more time you still have to grow here! Do you have any plans for future activity on-campus?
I am still working on it, but I would like to build on the idea of multiculturalism in different aspects. Coming to Rutgers – Camden, I was exposed to learning many different cultures and interests. Being a Latina student, I experience a lack of diversity on this campus and I believe we are expanding our workshops and events slowly, but surely. I recently got accepted to Study Abroad for the Fall semester. I hope that the knowledge I gain while away will help me create something that the campus will enjoy!
7. Sounds like you’ll be very busy! What has surprised you the most about Rutgers – Camden from the time you arrived?
That’s a very interesting question. Rutgers – Camden is more than what I expected. Coming to this specific campus, it is both statistically the safest (with around the clock policing), as well as a super-sociable environment. Coming to college I did not have anyone from my graduating class (31 students) tag along to this campus. I thought it was going to be difficult to make connections here, when in reality people are extremely friendly. I get to see and experience that Rutgers University – Camden (RUC) is a family and a community with a united student body. RUC students not only strive for greatness academically, but also make an impact within the Camden community. I can honestly say that I don’t have any regrets coming to RUC in comparison to my friends that stayed home and commuted to New Brunswick.
8. What’s one piece of advice that you would give the current Central Jersey College Prep Charter School (CJCPCS) Senior class?
One piece of advice I would give the current CJCPCS Senior class is that consistency and self-discipline are key. It is important to stick with your schedule and to be discipline when other extra-curricular activities come up. Learning to manage this aspect of your life will be a beneficial skillset for the future. Lastly, enjoy your time in college! Make sure that the university you choose feels like a home away from home.