Stop worrying and start being.
That's the advice that general studies student Briana Saccheri would offer to those who feel overwhelmed about the transition from high school into college, or from college into adult life.
"I was very confused when I started here at NCC, and I came here because I was really unsure about what I wanted out of college. I wanted more out of life and a degree was the only way I knew how to get it," says Saccheri. "I wanted to get my feet wet in every aspect before I really settled onto something. I've learned a lot about different majors, and I've gained many life skills because of them. I really connected with some of my professors, and that kept me motivated. I feel like I'm a lot more rounded overall as an individual because of it. Even though a lot of people would say this isn't the ideal way to go, for me it was. I've learned a lot."
Saccheri ended up taking a few months off after graduating from high school, opting to pursue her license in cosmetology and hair styling, along with waitressing on the side. When she did begin her studies at NCC, she found herself weighed down with trying to work full time and attending classes, which led to her being careless with school work and not turning in assignments that were done to the best of her abilities. An epiphany, she says, came in the form of her general studies classes unlocking her creativity and true potential.
"I had an epiphany one day, a few semesters ago, and I saw everything differently. I started utilizing the equipment the campus provides for us that I had no interest in before," Saccheri says. "I started teaching myself piano. I always wanted to learn, so I stopped waiting and just tried. This was last semester, and now every day after class I go to the piano and sit down and play. I took an art class and I started painting. It's crazy. I never knew I had this artistic side to me because I never applied myself before. I always loved fashion, and doing hair, but I felt that this was different. I started meditating and writing. Having that time to myself helped me slow down my crazy life and just be. I am getting As and Bs now. I feel like this campus has really helped me grow into the person that I am today."
Not long after she graduates from NCC this year, Saccheri plans to pursue a career in the fashion industry and make the move to New York City. While she fully admits that she's glad to have been raised and attended school in the Pocono Mountains, she's looking forward to the opportunities that being in a big city will provide her. She stayed with her aunt in Queens for a short while, just to become acclimated to the environment, and felt more independent as a result. She also loves the aspect of knowing that the city is a cultural melting pot and that she'll be exposed to people from all walks of life.
"One time I went to the city to meet a friend, and as I sat in Starbucks waiting, I met people from all over the world. We were just talking. If you have that positive energy, people aren't going to ignore you," says Saccheri, who hopes to go into fashion merchandising. "People often ask me why I'm happy all the time, and I think why not? Day by day, I do what I have to do and come to school. Now I look forward to coming to school every day. My whole demeanor has changed."
An outdoor enthusiast, Saccheri heads up NCC's ski club and has also signed on for a trip to Denmark later this year. Traveling has become an important item on her "bucket list," and she sees no reason why she shouldn't start fitting in more cultural experiences while she's young and while she can still pursue them through NCC.
"For some reason, I've always had this thought where I had to graduate in two years. Everyone else does it. It occurred to me when I took that semester off, what is the rush? Everyone has different lives and different roads ahead of them. I started working at my own pace and now I'm doing great. I'm applying myself," Saccheri says. "I realize I'm not one of those people who can do it all at once. These past two semesters, I go to school full time and work on the weekends. I can balance it and focus on the task ahead of me, not everything at once. It was like learning a life lesson for me. I think life is about learning and finding who you are as a person. I'm still young and I feel like I've learned a lot already. I know I'll never stop learning."