As a freshman at Northern Arizona University, Isabel Rojas has mixed feelings about her new surroundings. “There have been happy and sad moments being away from home for the first time.” Technology has helped with this transition, and she uses FaceTime to stay connected to family and friends. She also sees the bright side of choosing to go to school a couple hours away. “It’s nice to get away from home but not be too far that I can’t go home if I need to.” She also credits Earn to Learn and NAU’s 1st Scholars program with providing the support that she needed for things to go smoothly.

With her commitment to making her monthly Earn to Learn deposits, she feels that she has grown. “I am now more responsible and have set alarms for making deposits and double-check that everything is in order so I don’t miss a deadline.” When reflecting on what she’s learned, Isabel feels like she is now more aware of how to navigate life. “College is expensive and I have learned how to find the help I need. Now that I’m here at NAU, I am practicing keeping track of my spending and balancing my academic and personal life. Meanwhile, I am always learning new things for the future like better banking and researching insurance.”

Through the 1st Scholars program Isabel met new people including her roommate and had the chance to give back to other high schoolers considering college. “I spoke to students as part of a panel and shared my experience of making the decision to go to college.” As a first generation student she is the first in her family to attend college. “This year my younger sister will be graduating from high school and I am sharing everything I’ve learned with her so that she is successful.”

When Isabel is not going to class or completing assignments for her dental hygiene program prerequisites, she is getting more involved with life at NAU and in Flagstaff. “I joined the dental club on campus to learn more about the field. I also joined a soccer team through my church and volunteer at the Humane Society as part of the 1st Scholars program.” Getting more involved has proven to be a big part of making the most out of her new life and setting herself up for success.

Posted on: February 15, 2017

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