>> Narrator:
Welcome to Waubonsee Talks. Waubonsee Community Colleges online forum where we discuss important topics for your academic journey.

>> Steven Miller:
Hi, my name is Steven Miller I am the Communications Manager at Waubonsee Community College. And we are talking today about what the college experience is like? We have two guests with us here today. I'd like for them to introduce themselves. Mary?

>> Mary Tosch:
Hi, I'm Mary Tosch, I'm the Student Life Manager here at the college and I oversee student organizations, leadership development, civic engagement, our Gustafson scholar program and a variety of other things.

>> Zoriaz Asif:
I'm Zoraiz Asif, I'm the Student Center President.

>> Steven Miller:
Zoraiz you were talking before we started this, you have an interesting background, where are you from?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
I actually moved to America from Pakistan in 2017 right after I finished high school.

>> Steven Miller:
Okay, in this area you live here near the campus or in?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
I actually live in Aurora, near downtown Aurora.

>> Steven Miller:
All right, good. Well welcome both of you.

We're talking college experience today and what that's like, so Mary as the Manager of Student Life and overseeing a lot of these experiences. Do you think there are certain misconceptions among students as they're starting their college, their college journey? What do you see students thinking about as they come into college?

>> Mary Tosch:
Yes, I do think there are misconceptions. I think when you think about college, everyone has their own kind of thought about it, whether they've seen it in the media or a movie or friends and families or no concept because no one has gone to college. And so some folks I think some of our students think it's very much like high school and so they think that classes are gonna be that way, that they'll get a lot of extra credit, which is not the case. Some feel like well, this is really just high school light. In reality they're very challenged by our courses. I also think students don’t know a college and how fully engaged our college experience is here. Zoraiz would you add anything else to that?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
I would say that I've either seen people move towards like the fun side of college or to much towards the academic side. I'm a very observant person and what I try to do is to be in the middle of that. I do try to be involved in clubs and organizations, but I also try to focus on my education as well, and I think that's the best little perfect center place.

>> Mary Tosch:
And I think to add on to what Zoraiz said, I think students are different today in that they have many more things pulling at them, regardless of their age, background, demographic insert, whatever situation that they might have.

I think they have a lot more competing demands on their time and so that makes that college experience when you have a college experience and whatever that looks like and means to you that it's impactful and intentional.

>> Steven Miller:
So you mentioned students have a lot more competing event, competition for their time, there's a lot more going on than maybe in years past. So how can a student balance those things, do you have any tips on how a student can balance those things and still accomplish their goals hereat the college and be involved?

>> Mary Tosch:
I think I would ask the students directly. I think as a student, I think the goal always is to complete and to graduate and that should be at the forefront, but also experience everything that you can. Whether that's utilizing the tutoring services, talking with a faculty member inside class, asking questions in class, visiting a faculty member at their office hours or anything else. Asking friends, have a study group or be engaged because something's really interesting to you. I think balancing that is about being thoughtful, it's about planning your time appropriately, time management is so crucial, I think study skills are crucial.

I think looking at where your support system is and how they can help balance that load for you. And to really look at what do you need to do versus what you want to do and what is the appropriate time to do both of those things? Zoraiz, what else would you add?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
With that, I've kind of, this year, it's been a very successful year for me obviously. I won the Student Senate elections and I completed the Engaging Leaders program and this was my first year to get a 4.0. And kind of with that, what I did is I divided my day into three sections of five hours, like five, five and five. And that one, five hours, five hours for studying five for working because obviously as a college students we need to be making some money to put fuel in our car and hang out with our friends and then five hours for personal time.

>> Steven Miller:
That's a good break down. I noticed there were eight hours missing in your break down, I'm not sure-

>> Zoriaz Asif:
That eight hours for sleeping.

>> Steven Miller:
[LAUGH]

>> Zoriaz Asif:
Because sleep is yeah. [LAUGH]

>> Steven Miller:
All right, thats fair, thats fair. Well Mary, so what can or should students be thinking about as they enter their college experience? First, thinking particularly first year students, whether they're traditional age students or students out of high school, what they be thinking about as they begin their college experience?

>> Mary Tosch:
I think students should be thinking about, you're in the drivers seat, we are here to support you and guide you, but your college experience is your college experience. And how you want that to go sometimes you're gonna hit a pothole here or there. Sometimes you're gonna have a misstep or something like that happens. But we have a variety of resources and services, as well as caring staff who wanna see you successful, but you have to drive that. You as the student really should be thinking about, how can I maximize this experience? And experience everything that's open.

As students, you have a lot of opportunities that are available to you, whether they're free or low cost. This is the one time in your life where you're gonna get that. Enjoy it, utilize it, take advantage. I think there's so many different ways to experience that based on your unique needs, experiences, and things you wanna try.

>> Steven Miller:
So the point of being the student is in the driver's seat, that's very good. Any other thoughts or points that the student should be thinking about?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
I would say to get involved right away. Like the orientation is where I met my first friend, and kind of with that experience, that friend taught me about the different opportunities, obviously moving from Pakistan I didn't know how the American education system worked. So observing them, I learned about all the clubs and organizations that we have. She worked at the Student Life Office and she was like, do you wanna work here? Do you want a job? I'm like, sure. And then she was a Student Senator, that is how I kind of learned about the opportunity and then I ran and now I'm where I am today.

>> Mary Tosch:
I would just add to that thinking about Waubonsee offers a full college experience. I mean, we have everything from athletics to independent research opportunities, working with faculty to student organizations, events, intramurals, study abroad, student employment, as Zoraiz alluded to several of those and more. It's really about what are the important things to you? How are you challenging yourself? Maybe you wanna try something you've never thought about before, something that scares you. Or maybe you wanna like I really liked doing art, and I really wanna be engaged in art, or I really love intramurals 'cause I love dodgeball. Whatever it is, chances are we probably have it or there's a way to make it happen. And so really thinking about this is your time to have that experience.

What do you wanna experience? I think the other thing to think about is sometimes when you're thinking about your college experience sometimes it's beyond what's in it for me? Sometimes it's about what you bring, and thinking about how you can gain skills, enhance skills that you already have through a variety of different ways. If you think about people that you admire, that didn't happen overnight. That was through a culmination of experiences, successes, failures, and failing forward and learning from those experiences, and that's what college is about. Try something new you've never thought of before.

>> Steven Miller:
So you mentioned a moment ago Mary the things are available here at Waubonsee Community College, a lot of the whole college experiences here.

So how much of that beyond the scope of just Waubonsee here but what should students be thinking about as far as this college experience as they're choosing their college?

Are there differences between, could the college experience that they should be thinking about four year, two year, local, out of town, out of state, how does this discussion impact their decision making?

>> Mary Tosch:
I think focus. on your academic program and how important that is to you but also, how does that campus feel? How does that feel to you? Do you have faculty that you can engage with? What are their backgrounds? Do you have opportunities to explore new skills or experiences, take a class that you never thought you would take, whether that's astronomy or photography. I think as you're thinking about a college and how to choose a college, I think your academics are always important and always first, but what can complement those experiences within the classroom? because in the classroom you're gonna use some skills but the things you use outside of those classroom are what's gonna help you enhance that collegiate experience.

>> Steven Miller:
So Zoraiz the first time you came to this college or any college campus for a visit, wherever you visited, what was that experience like for you your first time on a college campus here?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
What I found within Waubonsee is there's a lot of resources. There's their tutoring center and like, obviously English is not my first language and with essays I've received a lot of help through them and we have the Career Development Center, they help you with your resumes. We have counseling, we have the TRIO student service program that helps students who are first generation college students and low income students. And there's so many different opportunities and different resources a student can take advantage of here.

>> Steven Miller:
You mentioned Zoraiz a minute ago the student orientation how important was that? You seem to have gotten a lot out of it, talk more about the orientation process for college and what students should think about going to that?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
I think the orientation kind of sets you up for the college experience because you kind of understand, how compete in this place is gonna be. Plus you get to see your peers in advance and maybe you can make friends on that first day. I kind of mentioned a few minutes earlier that I met my first friend there and that kind of started the whole flow for me. I met her, she had a job, I got that job through her then she was a Senator. So if I hadn't attended orientation I first of all I wouldn't know about a lot of different programs and clubs and organizations that Waubonsee offers, but also I wouldn't be in that flow of things.

>> Steven Miller:
So Zoraiz, if you could just talk more about some of specific things you were involved in, you have done that has made your college experience what it is?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
So, for clubs, I've been a part of different clubs. For me, it was an exploration process. I was a part of Spectrum which is an LGBT+ organization that we have. I was part of the Writers club where I wrote a poem for them and Student Senate and Engaging Leaders program. So I've kind of been in a lot of organizations, LU, MEChA, I attend a lot of meetings and I've made a lot of friends through them.

>> Steven Miller:
So being on the Student Senate, what other like student oriented projects you've been involved in, things that have helped the student body, what are ways you have given back?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
Last year's Senate a few Senators Claire Maloney and Emmanuel Nufeely they started the Hand-in-Hand scholarship which is basically a scholarship that is funded by the students to the students. And we also worked on the Mascot Project we noticed that Waubonsee doesn't have a mascot so we did surveys for that in all four of our campuses.

And collected ideas of what students want to see as Waubonsee mascot, and those were some of the projects that we worked on last year.

>> Mary Tosch:
And I think Zoraiz may wanna also talk about the stoles for student organizations and supporting an idea that came from the students, perhaps?

>> Zoriaz Asif:
So two of our organizations, LU and MEChA, they wanted culture representation and they came up with the idea of stoles because they noticed that some other community colleges had those. And Waubonsee Student Senate they came to us and we kind of took that idea from them, and took it to the higher ups and now we've implemented that successfully and open it up for everybody, all the clubs.

>> Steven Miller:
Sure good. Thanks to Mary and Zoraiz for joining us today in this podcast.

I think that you've helped a lot of people I believe understand the college experience and learn things from personal experience that we can be applied for people who are thinking about going to college and who are starting out whether it be here at Waubonsee or somewhere else, so thank you both for your time, I really appreciate it.

>> Zoriaz Asif:
Thank you for having us.

>> Mary Tosch:
Thank you.

>> Narrator:
Thanks for listening to Waubonsee Talks. For additional information please visit waubonsee.edu. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn to learn more about how Waubonsee Community College can help you reach your goals.