At LaGuardia Community College, Visiting Fulbright Scholar Steven Gilbers discusses African-American English through the comparison of East Coast and West Coast hip-hop. In a classroom filled with students and professors, Mr. Gilbers proceeds to break down hip-hop culture and the importance of authenticity in the hip-hop community. “Another crucial part of hip-hop culture is this […]
“Why am I here?” she asked herself. Fifteen years later, Amanda Panlall knows.
Ms. Panlall, 35, now citizen but then an immigrant from Guyana, attended LaGuardia Community College in ’99 and has since graduated and transferred to New York City Technical College. Currently, she works for an international law firm serving as someone who clears ethical and business conflicts for all employees worldwide and is also a television show producer at BMJ Studios. Aside from her success, her big take-away from attending LAGCC was the multiple clubs, including the one she joined, the ‘Guyanese Club’.
“They had a multicultural week – where I was asked by the Guyanese club to join and participate (dancing). That’s how I initially started,” Ms. Panlall says.
Because she had little knowledge about her Indo-Caribbean culture, beginning to dance with the Guyanese’ Club not only assisted with her daily life, including raising her children, but became the start of a professional career in dancing.
For most students the very recently created course, LIF 101, seems unnecessary due to their already jam-packed schedule for the semester. The sole purpose of the course is to plan the rest of the years ahead pertaining to graduating college and acquiring as many credits necessary to make their transfer to a four-year school as smooth as possible.
The other major aspect of taking LIF 101 is to urge students to enroll in a club and be as involved in not only their academic life, but student life. Keven Amaya, 22, a current student who is in his first semester, found the school through his family members. He decided to attend LaGuardia because he felt it would help him get back on track after graduating from high school a few years ago. “I had already applied here over a few years ago and just repeated my application.” Just like most students, he does not feel LIF 101 is as useful now, though admits, “I like the class. I feel it will help me figure out things down the line.”
When asked about how she felt about a First Year Seminar class being mandatory for all LAGCC students, Ms. Panlall says: “That would have been good for me because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I started as a simple Business Admin major and it was so easy that it was boring, so that’s why I decided to change a year later to Paralegal Studies to give me some type of challenge. So I guess this class, this mandatory class is actually good; it helps with students who do not know what they want to do.”
What seems to stand out to a majority of the students that attend LaGuardia Community College is the diverse and friendly environment. “The teachers are very inclusive. You feel like you fit in,” says Mr. Amaya. Ms. Panlall agrees, saying, “It was a very friendly environment, different cultures, everyone was very friendly, polite and kind and nice. There was no hostility. It was just a smooth transition from high school to college.”
Unlike most college students, Mr. Amaya feels that “coming to college puts pressure to do more and invest in goals and dreams.” He is eager to join a club pertaining to creative writing. He loves poetry and looks forward to a career in creative writing. Just like Ms. Panlall, he feels LaGuardia displays a multicultural and friendly environment. Liberal Arts majors tend to be students that are indecisive regarding their major. Though Mr. Amaya says, “I love writing, I love creative writing, poetry. I just love the arts in general.”
Overall, LaGuardia Community College students over the years seem to find the diverse and multicultural friendly faces to be comforting. It seems that the environment is one of the aspects of LaGuardia that has not changed since the early 2000’s. ough there has been a clear difference in the amount of guidance given to students who require advice regarding the next two years, it is safe to say LaGuardia has improved for the better and is continuously improving.