Josefa Sotelo, Buffalo State College

I am a freshman at Buffalo State. I am a political science major from Queens, NY. I came to Buffalo State planning on majoring in political science because I’ve always been interested in politics and watch the news a lot, though it was comedy shows like the Daily Show that first got me into politics. I want to go to law school so I can practice public interest law, serving clients who can’t afford a lawyer. This means, of all my siblings, I will be the odd one out—the only non-accountant!

I went to the High School of Environmental Studies in Manhattan, where the emphasis was on environmental science. That got me interested in environmental studies. I decided on Buffalo State because I definitely didn’t want to stay in the city for college and wanted a change of scenery so I could focus on studying.

As a freshman, textbooks have been a concern because, even though rentals are sometimes an inexpensive options, it’s first come first served. The bookstore is almost always out of rentals when I go to buy them, which means I have to pay full price. Luckily this term, I managed to get a few rentals for $130, but many classes have multiple books that are hardly ever used. You can’t really tell what books you’re actually going to need, and it becomes an expensive guessing game.

I am not working at the moment because, even though I qualify for federal work-study, there aren’t nearly enough on-campus jobs for all the students who qualify. That means I have to look for off-campus jobs. Given Buffalo weather and not having a car, my choices are limited. It’s important to have a job because of how expensive college life is.

With TAP and all the scholarships I received, I still pay about $5000 toward tuition per semester. My family is paying these costs out of pocket, and I currently can’t register because I haven’t paid for the previous term. I can’t even look at my GPA if I wanted to transfer because everything is frozen until I pay. Courses for my major could get filled before I have time to pay up and register. Financial aid advising needs to be clearer so students know where they stand.