My name is Melissa Hernandez and I attend SUNY Cortland full time. I am a senior and have been here since freshman year. I am from Long Island, and my Senate District is 3 and my Assembly District is 16. When I was applying to college my first choice was University of Tampa but unfortunately I did not get enough financial aid to afford it and began to look at SUNY and CUNY schools. Out of all the SUNY and CUNY schools I applied to, I felt that SUNY Cortland was the best fit for me. I had toured many schools previously and although I toured Tampa and fell in love, SUNY Cortland also gave me the same feeling I felt when I toured Tampa. I knew a few people who had gone to Cortland and heard all their great memories which made me feel more comfortable and excited to come. I am majoring in political science and I do really enjoy this major. I am taking a year off before applying to graduate school to focus on myself and future opportunities.
I pay my tuition through the help of my parents and financial aid. I am fortunate enough that my tuition has been paid through financial aid. I work almost everyday over the summer to help pay sometimes my rent at school and other personal spending I might have. I am the first child in my family to go to college and understood that my parents would not be able to pay full tuition without getting some financial help, however, before I began my college career I always had the impression that going to a SUNY or CUNY school would be considered to be less than nothing in terms of tuition. I think that since tuition has risen over the decade it is very unfortunate for many, myself included. It is not fair that society places this idea that college is a stepping stone for an individual to get a good job and make it in today’s world. Not only is tuition an expense at college but textbooks are another cost for students. Textbooks depending on the class vary but still add up and can be very expensive. Textbooks should not be an extra expense for students.
The pandemic was a hard time for my family because my mom is diabetic which meant she was at a high risk, which then made it difficult for my dad to continue to work. My mom is a nanny and my dad has a painting service. My dad is an independent company which already makes it hard enough, and then when the pandemic hit it made it harder for him. During this time, I had recovered from unemployment and later began working again in July which allowed me to save enough money to pay my rent junior year without the help of my parents because of how tight money was.
I personally always wanted to go to college because of the promise that going to college means I would have a good job. I want to finish my degree to have a comfortable life and be able to support myself. I think that although school does cost a lot I would still be at school, however, I would have prepared myself financially before I attended.
My name is Isabelle Pastore and I attend SUNY Cortland full time. I am a senior now, but I have been here since freshman year. I am from Stony Brook, Long Island. I decided to go to SUNY Cortland because my parents only allowed me to apply to SUNY schools. Cortland seemed like a good choice because I absolutely loved it when I visited. I toured a couple of other schools, but Cortland truly felt like home. A few of my friends were going to Cortland too, so I knew I would be comfortable here. I am majoring in Communications and I love it, but I’m not really sure what I want to do in the future. I pay for tuition through the help of my parents and student loans. Most of my tuition is paid through financial aid but I am very worried about having to pay back my student loans. I work 15 hours a week over summer and winter break to help pay for my personal spendings, but it’s not nearly enough to pay my student loans. I think college should cost substantially less than it does. When my parents went to school, it cost much less and attending college was less common. I don’t think it’s fair that tuition costs so much because in today’s society, it is expected that people attend college in order to get a well paying job. I don’t like how we need to pay thousands of dollars in order to make good money. I think college should be more of a choice than a requirement. On top of tuition, students need to purchase textbooks each semester. Textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars and I truly think they should be included in tuition.
The pandemic was a difficult time for me and my family. During COVID-19, my Dad unfortunately lost his job. Fortunately, my Mom also works so we still had an income, but it wasn’t enough for all of our everyday costs. It was hard for a while and there was even a time where I thought I would have to transfer home to attend school there. We didn’t even get Christmas presents that year. My parents wanted me to drop my sorority solely because we weren’t sure if we could afford it anymore. Thankfully, my Dad was able to get another job about a year later.
Getting a college degree is important to me because it’s required in order to get a well paying job. I want to get my degree because I want to be able to support myself and live a fulfilling life. It upsets me that I will have to spend a good portion of my life paying back my student loans. I definitely think college should be way more affordable and less expected than it is and I hope that in the future, college is way more affordable for everyone.
Eric Jing Guo has been a student for many many years. He has had to take out loans to be able to pay for his education since he didn’t receive any assistance from the state. Like many students, he is worried about paying back his looming student debt.
But Eric is a dedicated student and has worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today, as a graduate student, a teacher’s assistant, and a research assistant in his field of study, which is public/non-profit management, as well as market computer discipline science. Eric hopes to use the knowledge he has gained through his college experience to help small businesses promote themselves and grow their markets. He feels that in today’s world, a college education is important to succeed.
The pandemic has hit everyone, but thankfully Eric was at the very end of his degree, and since he is taking his final class to graduate he said it has not been too much of a burden on him, however, he and his cousin have both lost income due to these trying circumstances. But one thing Eric has noticed is just how much the pandemic affects the class dynamic. It comes as no surprise that overall communication between teachers and students has become more difficult, as sending an email doesn’t exactly lend for the best back and forth sort of discussion that is necessary for fostering education.
Eric doesn’t have too much more to go before he accomplishes his goal and is thankful for all the individual support he has received from his professors and peers over his time being a student in America.