Queensborough Community College ASAP Fall '13
What is the ASAP student community like?
The ASAP community is more similar to that which you might expect in a college with a smaller student body than what you would normally experience on such a large campus as Queensborough's. Typically, when you’re going to class with a random selection of students chosen from 15,000 peers, you might never see any of them more than once during your time in college. ASAP seeks to resolve that and gives you the sense of community that you would otherwise lack. I took an ASAP-only English-Speech learning community course in my freshmen semester, and having 8 hours of class a week with the same 20 or so students was a quick way to make friends. They provided an incentive to keep working, a support system in the rougher times (like when you’re taking summer classes when you should be at the beach!) and were classmates in new classes that we took together.
What, in your opinion, makes ASAP unique?
I think, first and foremost in my mind, it is the learning communities and the events that create a sense of unity. Queensborough, and CUNY in general, is absolutely massive. It’s hard to feel a real sense of community, though not impossible, when there are so many people on campus who live off-campus and work and have lives of their own. ASAP remedies that gap by bringing the same people together over and over, both for helpful workshops and events and in the classroom.
What impact has ASAP had on your education?
ASAP has greatly improved my educational experience. The fact that I can take free winter and summer courses has enabled me to graduate not only on time, but early. The money that I’m saving by not needing to pay for my books is allowing me more freedom in choosing a four year university, or to go on a program in China to help me along in my acquisition of the language. I still work, but I am able to work part time and that has allowed me to concentrate on my studies where many of my peers drop classes when their jobs clash with their education. Danielle, my advisor, has been a tremendous help in choosing classes and figuring out problems I bump into, taking even more of the load off so that I don’t need to stress over dealing with the bursar or other administrative problems.
What were your first impressions of ASAP, and have they changed over time?
Before ASAP orientation, I was pretty terrified. I had looked on the website and had seen the activities the students did and they looked pretty scary to my stage-shy self. Within a few hours of being surrounded by a great bunch of students and engaging activity leaders, however, I was content. During the semester, I grew closer with my peers and became friendly with my wonderful adviser, Danielle. Whenever I have had problems, they have pretty much disappeared once I send her an email or pop into her office, something that I see does not happen for those students who need to make appointments several days in advance for a quick meeting with an adviser who they have never met before that meeting. It’s hard not to like ASAP just for that!
What are your future plans?
I have not applied to four year colleges as of yet but I plan on graduating at the end of the Fall 13 semester. I am intending to take an East Asian Studies major with a focus on political science. I haven’t decided on my four year college yet, but I will be applying to SUNY Binghamton, CUNY Hunter and a few out of state schools. I am already taking Mandarin but I hope to spend some time abroad in order to come closer to fluency to aid me in the pursuit of my dream of moving to Asia with either a political agency (such as the UN) or with an NGO. Such careers would require me to stay in school until I have gained a masters so I will probably be a student for quite a long time, even after graduation!