Getting involved and making a difference really has its perks. The benefits include networking connections, experience to put on a resume, and making lifelong friendships. Rachel Rosales, a freshman at Kean, is already making the most of her college experience and cementing a legacy for years to come.
Rosales is a biology health professions major and part of the class of 2024. In her first semester, she has gotten involved in the Leadership Institute, the Filipinos Uniting Nations at Kean club (F.U.N.K.), the American Medical Women's Association, the Freshman Research Initiative, became the Vice President of Cougar Hall's Hall Council and has been an active volunteer with Cougar Volunteers. She plans on getting involved with the Biology Club as well as the Physical Therapy club in the near future.
Rosales says that coming to college was a game-changer, since, before that, she had considered joining the airforce. All of that changed as soon as she visited one of Kean's open houses. She described the experience as very welcoming and the environment breathtaking, which helped her make the decision to attend.
"I didn't see myself going to college originally. I was ready to go and enlist with the airforce. So I filled out the paperwork and everything. When COVID hit, it caused me to rethink everything, and due to personal circumstances, I had to go with a backup plan. I did go to an open house at Kean and everyone was so welcoming. They made it really easy for me to make a decision, and once I found out one of my friends was going, that was my moment, right there, to come to Kean," said Rosales.
That one decision became a life-changing moment for Rosales. She became involved right away in an effort to make the best of her college experience, despite the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She has consistently volunteered at the emergency food distribution events on campus, the food assembly events, attended the coloring for a cause events, and the veterans letter-writing events virtually. Throughout her involvement in her organizations and community service, Rosales has reflected on what it means to be a student leader, as well as the impacts it has on others.
"I wasn't as involved in high school as I am now, and it surprises me because I never saw myself as a leader before. Coming into college, I came in with a new mindset, wanting to get involved right away. I wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities Kean has to offer. I was able to make new friends and meet some amazing people who have given me really great advice on how to adjust to college life," said Rosales. "Kean has been one of the best decisions of my life, and I do not regret any second of it."
Rosales has adapted to virtual learning but does not feel the same energy as an in-person experience delivers. She also said that time management has become essential to planning out the day and deadlines. Resources such as Cougar Link helped her to find all of the events Kean provides. Kean has provided a platform for her to develop leadership skills and boost her confidence levels because she's willing to make a difference for herself and the community.
"College is what you make of it. We have Cougar Link for a reason. Finding a good club that you are interested in could be the starting point of something even greater. I feel like getting involved in college is vital because you need connections for your future. People are not going to have a good time if they don't participate in all of these opportunities that are right in front of you. If you are hesitant about going to a club's meeting, just go for it. You never know who you are going to meet and how they may impact your life. You just gotta take risks and push yourself," said Rosales.
Rosales aims to get more involved for the rest of her college career, and plans on getting a master's degree as well as go to physical therapy school after she graduates. Rosales has already shown that she's a student leader, and Kean cannot wait to see what she does next.