I didn’t know who to turn to…

3 Apr

Ronald

Last week I talked about how I balance family and school, and the struggles I had as a first-generation student. My freshmen year was definitely tough, but there were happy moments that I will forever cherish with all my heart. Among those moments is finding my MENAS (Middle Eastern and North African Studies) family.  I was extremely lucky to find a group of peers and professors who cared so much about my education. Since I didn’t have the strongest support system at home, I knew I could always turn to this group of people. My freshmen year, I took a Middle Eastern Humanities class with Professor Leila Hudson. I LOVED that class! It is, by far, one of my favorite gen eds here at the U of A. I remember I first approached Professor Hudson after class, and I simply told her how interesting her lecture was and how much I enjoyed it.

One morning had started pretty rough, and I happened to stumble into her. Dr. Hudson noticed something was wrong, and at that point I needed to vent. I expressed my frustrations to Dr. Hudson, and even told her I was thinking about dropping out of school. From then on, she was always there for me and always reassured me that I had a friend in her. My second semester, I walked into my Turkish class, and who was the first person I saw? Dr. Hudson! From that moment, we became really good friends. We have even talked about working together on a big project she has in mind. This was the start of my family away from home.  Dr. Hudson is not just my professor, she is also one of the biggest resources I’ve had since my freshmen year. It was intimidating taking those first step to talk to her, but a little courage and confidence goes a long way.

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Here’s the fabulous Dr. Leila Hudson, Associate Professor of Modern Middle East Culture and Political Economy. Dr. Hudson was the first to join my Wildcat family, and I could count on her for anything. I also met so many other wonderful people! Here are a couple of wonderful people I’m grateful to have in my life!

Family collage

Professors, advisors, and colleagues can be more than someone you pass in the hallway on your way to class. Here are a couple of things to consider doing before you graduate.

  1. Introduce yourself to your professors: Your professors are one of the biggest resources you have on campus. Visit your professors’ office hours. Remember office hours can also be that window to introduce yourself and develop a professional one-on-one relationship. 
  2. Get Connected: Attend events related to your major or interests. Make connections within your field. You never know who you will meet and potentially become good friends with.
  3. Study Abroad/ Internships: Participate in a study abroad or internship program that relates to what you’re interested in or that has something to do with your major. That is the PERFECT opportunity to use all  three resources.  Introduce yourself to your professor and get information about study abroad or internship opportunities.

I know it might sound like a lot, but it will be worth it! It worked for me, and I hope you can enjoy similar experiences.

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