Former journalism students return to discuss college life

June 20, 2022

By Carolyne Mooney

On June 7 and 8, seven LHS graduates from the Class of 2021 returned to reflect on their first year in college at the annual Alumni Panel in Ms. Pastor’s journalism classes. In these sessions, former The Lighthouse staff members shared advice on topics including applying to college, selecting a major, networking and setting oneself up for success in the future.

Gianna Alberti, Florida Atlantic University, “I was able to broadcast one of the basketball games and some people say ‘you don’t have to do that until your sophomore or junior year’ but I think you should go right in and start building up your resume now.”

Former editor Gianna Alberti is a double major in Communications & Media Studies and journalism with a minor in Italian at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. Her goal is to become a sportscaster. 

Alberti said highlights of her first year on the staff of her school’s newspaper, University Press, has been interviewing upcoming Major League Baseball players and Alfred Morris, a professional football player, along with his wife, Lindsey Morris, who played soccer for FAU.

Alberti said she is enjoying the flexibility of a college schedule.

“High school was very time-consuming,” Alberti said. “In college, I got to make my own schedule, and [I] have a lot more time and freedom.”

Alberti said the English and journalism coursework she completed at LHS prepared her for college.

“If you’re going to major in Journalism or Communication and Media Studies, Journalism helps because of all of the background and formatting…It was very beneficial to me that I was very knowledgeable about it,” Alberti said. 

Angelina DeLuca, Bergen Community College, “When it comes to picking a college… do what you think is the best of your ability. Do what you want to do. Don’t go to a certain college because someone told you to or how big the name is.”

Former webmaster Angelina DeLuca transferred from Felician University after her first semester to Bergen Community College in Paramus and completed her freshman year there. 

She said attending community college is a low-cost way to get a quality education and earn an associate’s degree. She said it puts students in a good position to go on to attend a four-year college or university.  

“I know people frown upon [going to a community college] because you want to go to that major university with a big name, but it shouldn’t be frowned upon because it helps in the long run,” DeLuca said. 

DeLuca, a nursing major who is looking to become a trauma nurse, has gained experience in the medical field by volunteering her time as an emergency medical technician in Lyndhurst.

“It’s a good experience to be an EMT right now. [It] helps me learn so much about what I’m going to be seeing in my nursing career. It interests me to learn about the human body and mind because there is so much that we don’t know about it,” DeLuca said. 

Emma Ferschweiler, The College of New Jersey, “Enjoy this time right now because you get a lot more guidance in high school than in college… you’re held accountable for yourself.”

Former editor-in-Chief Emma Ferschweiler is a double major in Journalism & Professional Writing and Interactive Multimedia at The College of New Jersey in Ewing. Ferschweiler writes for the school newspaper The Signal and the school magazine Her Campus in addition to being a staff member of the school radio station WTSR 91.3FM.

Fershweiler said because she is a reserved and introverted person, she benefited from being on a small campus where she was able to make strong connections with many students.

“The main difference between college and high school is time and independence. You have a lot more time in college. You’ll have to make the conscious decision of doing your work and putting your main priorities first,” Ferschweiler said.

She said in high school, students do not have much opportunity or time to explore what they want to do in their future, but in college, students can enroll in classes that are of interest to them and will inform their career choices. 

Ferschweiler said it is important for college students to find an outlet for their stress that has nothing to do with what they are studying in college. 

“Exercising was a great one for me because the rest of the day I’d feel good,” Ferschweiler said.

Emily Gabriel, Baylor University, “If you have the opportunity to go away, you should because it’s something you won’t ever experience again.” 

Former managing editor Emily Gabriel completed her first year at Baylor University in Waco, Texas as a secondary mathematics major. She intends to become a high school math teacher and later a college professor. 

During her second semester, Gabriel visited a local middle school to tutor the students in math. 

“The main difference of being there apart from high school would be the pace.… We go really fast,” Gabriel said.

She said in college, students cover all the course content in the span of four months. Therefore, she said professors cover a new section every class period and often give tests in two-week intervals. 

Despite the rigorous pace, Gabriel said she has enjoyed her experience at Baylor.

“In college, you have so much more freedom,” Gabriel said. “I used to have to ask my mom [for permission to leave the house], but now I can just go with my friends and update her.” 

Julia Glowacki, Seton Hall University, “Make sure you are in charge of yourself and keeping yourself on task because it’s easy to fall off and hang out with friends…. When you have a lot of work, it’s important to get it done.” 

Former webmaster Julia Glowacki is a political science major in the Dual Law Program at Seton Hall University in South Orange. She is a member of the Pre-Law Student Association, which provides resources for students who aspire to become attorneys.

Glowacki said being a webmaster for The Lighthouse and making sure articles were posted on the website on time helped prepare her for college.

“If you’re going to be on the editorial board, it’s extra work but it’s definitely rewarding,” Glowacki said. 

She said taking on a leadership role on The Lighthouse staff equipped her with time management skills.

“In college, I was in charge of my own schedule and getting my work done on time,” Glowacki said. “Professors aren’t going to chase you, and they aren’t going to tell you that something is late. If you don’t submit it, the assignment will close.” 

Christa Ruiz, Stevens Institute of Technology, “[Commuting] takes a lot of time away from studying, spending time with friends, and [dorming] takes a lot of pressure off.” 

Former staff writer Christa Ruiz completed her first year at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken with a major in quantitative finance and a minor in computer science. This summer, Christa is a student researcher doing work in the programming language Python regarding forecasting in the media industry.

She said writing for The Lighthouse last year required more commitment than writing for her college publication, The Stute, because, at Stevens, students can contribute articles at whatever frequency is comfortable to them.

Ruiz said she is training to become a sports editor even though that is not a genre of writing she explored at LHS.

“I branched out because I’ve always had an interest in writing about sports,” Ruiz said.

She said she likes her campus in Hoboken because there is always something to do, places to walk around, good restaurants and a nice view of New York City.

“Hoboken is a good location because you have access to so many things,” Ruiz said. “I’d like to take advantage of [going to the city] next year.”

Alex Shapiro, University of Delaware, “Opportunities are given, so it’s up to you to take advantage of it.” 

Former editor-in-chief Alex Shapiro is a nursing major at the University of Delaware in Newark. She is considering taking journalism as a minor because of her passion for writing. 

“Journalism is super flexible, so if you have that on a resume, it shows you have good communication skills, which as a nursing major, is super important,” Shapiro said. “At the beginning, I was a little bit nervous [about college], but I am grateful I gave myself an opportunity to get adjusted.” 

Shapiro said she joined a sorority during the spring semester. As a shy person, she said this helped her get to know more people and make friends. 

Shapiro encouraged the students in The Lighthouse program to take advantage of the resources at LHS.

“Everything you have here–whether it’s clubs or being involved in the newspaper–definitely helps in the future, and if you see yourself wanting to excel, take those opportunities. It will be so rewarding in the end,” said Shapiro.


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