Looking back on the first 30 days

My name is Victoria Smith, and I am a sophomore at Macaulay Honors College (my home campus is Lehman College). I would like to briefly tell you why I chose this program.

Firstly, Macaulay is in New York City, one of the cultural capitals of the world. I can travel the world without having to leave the city, but if I choose to do so, I can; study abroad is highly encouraged here, and students are prompted to become global citizens to form a better understanding of ourselves, our world, and our places within it.

Secondly, I have access to advisors who are very instrumental in helping me with whatever I need from scheduling classes and discussing majors, to which cafeteria has the best lunch options.

Finally, Macaulay is a tuition free college education…need I say more?

My first 30 days surpassed my expectations. I am from a small private school, so I was hesitant about going to a college with over 9,000 undergraduate students. I feared that I would not be able to forge close relationships in such an overwhelmingly large environment.

I also thought that as a Macaulay student I would be relegated to spending my time with the other 19 Macaulay students in my year. What if I didn’t like them…? Fortunately, I love my fellow classmates, and I have made plenty of friends at Lehman. The students are very approachable, and I have made friends with students in the higher grades both at my home campus and from other campuses, and Macaulay has been very instrumental in that process.

This semester I’ve taken one of the 4 Macaulay Seminars called “The Arts of NYC.” I’ve been to many events around the city ranging from the Philharmonic to slam poetry readings, which really foster a sense of community and inclusivity. I get to know my peers from my home campus as well as Macaulay kids from the other 7 campuses, which is a very unique and enjoyable experience.

Secondly, my teachers are fantastic. They are approachable, understanding, and a fantastic resource. I have talked with many students who are only one year ahead of me who have done or are doing research projects with their teachers after knowing them for one semester. I look forward to doing the same once I get a better sense of what I want to study, which leads me to my next point: It is okay to not know what you want to do with your life for the next four years…that’s what college is for.

In the 30 days I’ve been here I’ve taken some great classes, namely psychology and sociology, and they have really broadened my perspective about the meaning of the word “success,” which brings me to point number 2: success isn’t about being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. And success isn’t contingent upon knowing what you’re going to wind up doing for the rest of your life.

Success, I’m discovering, is exploring something new and learning things about yourself that you didn’t know before you went through that experience. I have met many successful students at Macaulay. Some are in STEM fields and pre-med, yes. But some are English, Anthropology, Japanese, Music, Psychology, and Dance majors. Some, and so far most, are undecided and that’s okay! Explore!

The teachers and programs here were designed for students like myself: quirky kids with a lot of ideas and hobbies who are trying to figure out what they were meant to do. Macaulay was designed for curious students who are interested in learning about themselves, the world around them, and how they are going to impact change with the education they’ve earned. Macaulay is allowing me to discover who I am. I cannot underscore how important that is, and how thankful I am for that opportunity.

So in closing, for those of you who know what they want to do or study, congratulations! Macaulay is the place for you, and you’ll find plenty of programs that’ll get you to your destination. For those of you who don’t know what they want to do or study, congratulations! Macaulay is the place for you too!

My first 30 days have been exciting, challenging, scary, rewarding and most importantly fun. This program is giving me the tools that I need to one day take on the world. I’m not there yet, and I don’t have to be. But I will get there with Macaulay.


Applying to Macaulay

An application checklist, things you’ll need, and special instruction for Macaulay applicants.