Student leader Eric Cote spoke with Director of New Student Engagement + Transition Alexa Simeone about transitioning from high school to college life during his first year at Emmanuel.
Alexa: What is your favorite thing about EC?
Eric: For me, that is a tough question to answer because there are so many things which I really enjoy about Emmanuel. If I had to decide on one, I guess I could say that being in the heart of Boston really provides a lot of opportunities. It's really unbelievable that I get to pursue a college education with some of the brightest people in the world, in (my opinion) the greatest city in the world. There are so many things to do and places to see that it is truly an extension of the classroom.
Alexa: What was the most challenging part of your transition?
Eric: For all of my life, my family has played a crucial role in getting me to where I am today. I can say that I am blessed to be at Emmanuel because of the guidance and strength they have given me. Leaving them behind was definitely the most challenging part of my transition. However, one of the things that makes Emmanuel so great is the sense of community. No matter who you talk to, there is always someone to welcome you and someone who wants to get to know you. You gain friends that truly become part of your extended family and it is a great feeling.
Alexa: What are you involved in?
Eric: Currently, I am involved with Emmanuel College Student Government Association as Vice President of the Class of 2018. This has been one of my defining experiences at Emmanuel thus far. Being able to work with the SGA and help create a stronger community and represent my peers has been an honor. In addition to that, I am the Executive Secretary for EC Youth in Government a new club on campus as of last year which I helped to introduce to Emmanuel. I am a general member with EC Model United Nations and EC Political Forum, two clubs which have added an additional "hands-on" aspect to my major. Lastly, I work for EC Campus Safety as a student worker at the Dispatch office.
Alexa: What advice would you give incoming students?
Eric: College is a totally different experience than anything you have ever been through. It was certainly a challenge for me to adjust to this new way of life. Time management, goal setting, and priorities were tough because it was such a new environment. My advice to you would be to use the resources we have on campus. Seek the guidance of your professors, your Resident Assistant, the ARC or other services. There isn't one person on campus that won't help you in a time of need. Seek their help because they enjoy helping you. Most importantly, enjoy every moment because your college experience, especially the first year, will fly by.
Alexa: If you could do it over again, what would you do the same? What would you change?
Eric: If I was to repeat it all over again, one of the things I would do again would be to get to know as many people as I could. We are a strong community that thrives off of friendship. Your friends will mold your experiences at Emmanuel. But don't just spend time focusing on just your peers; get to know the faculty and professors too. I can't tell you how many times my professors, and the faculty here have impacted me. One thing I would change is that I would definitely have given myself more time to relax, have fun and enjoy the first year. Remember to give yourself time to take a break from work, because a baseball game at Fenway or dinner with a friend in the dinning hall is important and well deserved. A common phrase is that it only happens once and your first year of college really only does happen once so enjoy it.
Alexa: Any final thoughts?
Eric: We have been blessed with a great opportunity to go to school here. Emmanuel has shaped successful individuals for almost a century. You will find success by the time you graduate here, but it won't be without trials and tribulations. You will have weeks when you have 3 papers, a lab and two exams due all at the same time. You will have times when your friendships are put to the test. You will have times when there are no chicken fingers at the Atrium but I will promise you that with the right amount of focus, determination and support, there isn't anything that you can't overcome. One of my favorite quotes is from the late Nelson Mandela: "Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world." So take your Emmanuel experiences and run with it, because you can truly change the world.