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Julie Diroma '10

North Syracuse, N.Y.

I never thought it was weird that my parents hadn't gone to college. In junior high and high school, I always knew that I would attend college; my family never gave me any reason to think otherwise. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I realized that most of my friends' parents had gone to college and that I was in the minority. In the end, though, this has not held me back at all from getting the most out of my college experience.

Even though she didn't have a lot of familiarity with it, my mom was extremely involved in my college search process. We toured schools, sat in on information sessions, did research on the Internet, and talked with my high school guidance counselor in an attempt to find my perfect college. My mom and my teachers were so helpful throughout this process; we all survived, and I made it to Hamilton.

Once I was at Hamilton and had to choose a major and decide on class schedules, my family wasn't able to offer me as much guidance as they wished they could because none of them had been through a similar experience. I had a lot of questions about majors and minors, off-campus study programs, resumes, internships, and careers after college. I learned to take advantage of staff and faculty members' knowledge and expertise to tailor my schedule to my interests.

Through Hamilton's off-campus study program in New York City and with the help of our Career Center, I have been fortunate to have completed two internships and have gained some career-related experience. Being a first generation college student, it has been especially important for me to take advantage of everything Hamilton has to offer. Just by being at Hamilton, I have had access to so many amazing opportunities that I never would have known about if I had not taken the initiative to get involved.

In my first year, I quickly learned to fully utilize the on-campus academic aids, such as the Writing Center, the Quantitative Literacy Center, and my professors' office hours. At Hamilton, I have been encouraged to seek out the experts that I knew would be able to guide me through my four years here. By taking advantage of all of the resources available to me, I have enjoyed making the most of every opportunity I could find at Hamilton.

— August 2009

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