Essay #4

Mollie Jutkowitz


Challenging Transitions

            Many students say that starting college is large change. I believe that while beginning Queens College was a large change for me as well, it was a different change than most other students experience. Coming from an all girls’ private Jewish day school, my first few days, even weeks, at Queens College came as a large shock to me. I was used to my small, homogeneous high school in which I knew all the other students. I had never been among such a wide range of students or in such a diverse classroom and thought I would never be able to succeed in such a changed environment. However, the short time I have been in Queens College has proved that in fact this significant change has helped me succeed in ways I never imagined.

Starting out in high school, I was a quiet student and did not involve myself in many extra-curricular activities. As school went on, I realized that in order to make the most of my high school experience, both to succeed and enjoy, I needed to become more outgoing and get involved in activities both in school and in my community. While it was not always easy as a quiet student, I slowly began to find my place in school and outside school by becoming more involved. I joined my school tennis team, and by senior year was the elected to be the captain. In addition, my high school class voted me to be one of the yearbook editors. Outside of school I helped families who had children with special needs as well as tutored children in both religious and non-religious studies. These activities began to teach me what it meant to be a leader, a skill I knew was very important for the rest of high school, but especially in college and beyond. Just as I began to feel as though I had established myself and found my place, high school ended and I was soon starting Queens College.

As quiet and uninvolved as I had been in the beginning of high school, I started out Queens College in an even more quiet and removed way. Coming from a Jewish private school, I was sure I would never get used to the different group of students and the large classes and therefore would not be able to succeed. However, just as I had in high school I quickly realized that becoming less quiet and more outgoing and involved would help me adapt to the new school environment. In college, I continue in many of the activities I had participated in high school, specifically ones that involve leadership. I continue to tutor young children, helping with their homework and teaching them to read and write. In addition, I am still involved with my high school tennis team as an assistant to the coach. Although not yet eligible, when I am a sophomore I hope to become a student ambassador and help better the Queens College community and help inform others about the college.

When I was in high school, I had always thought I would pursue a more ‘classic’ career, such as a middle or high school teacher. It never occurred to me that I might want to become something a little more ‘out of the box’, such as an engineer.  In high school I had always enjoyed the physical sciences and been a ‘math person’, yet never thought about a career in that direction.  The diversity and opportunity Queens College has made available to me helped me explore other options and realize that I am interested in pursuing a career in civil engineering. Queens College offers engineering students the opportunity to be a part of a joint program with the Columbia School of Engineering, a program in which I will partake. This coming summer, I look forward to taking calculus, Math 151, with Kaveh Saminejad and Physics 145 with Peter Glass, both which will further my engineering education and reaffirm my interest. After graduating, I hope to work in an engineering firm, specifically related to traffic and transportation. In order to successfully work in an engineering firm, leadership skills are very important. All the extra-curricular activities I was and am still a part of, both in high school and college, helped and continue to help build leadership skills that will help me in my future career.

In addition to my extra-curricular activities, I was a member of the National Honor Society in high school and graduated at the top of my class. I have been able to keep up my grades in college, despite the large and difficult transition. All of this would not have been possible without my hard work and motivation. Throughout high school, I was always very highly motivated and hardworking, two traits I believe are closely related. I was always driven to do well and worked as hard as needed in order to succeed. I have continued these traits in college, and as a result of my motivation and hard work, I continue to succeed. In addition, I have realized that it is very important not to give up when the work seems to be very hard or when there are small set backs, such as not doing well despite working hard. In my schooling career there have been and will continue to be obstacles, but I have always been one to work through them and will continue to do so. These traits have been essential in my success in school up until this point and will continue to help me succeed in college and in the working world.

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