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    Melissa Villafane

    Melissa Villafane

    Class of: 2012
    Degree Program: A.A. in Psychology

    What factors led you to decide to attend Hudson County Community College?
    Having applied to several colleges and universities led me to the realization of the costliness of getting an education. Although I applied for several scholarships for other institutions, I was selected to receive the HCCC Foundation Scholarship which greatly impacted my decision to attend HCCC. What is your favorite memory of the College, in or out of the classroom? I truly enjoyed the trips that the Student Activities department offered. It was nice to bond with classmates, friends, and faculty alike on our way to the Chaung Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY and to tour Philadelphia. I also appreciated the passion that many of my instructors displayed. They always pushed me to improve and elevate myself. Their motivation and dedication to teaching prepared me for the next step in my life. So, I can’t mention a specific memory that is a favorite because I truly enjoyed my time at HCCC.

    How did you become interested in your major?
    During my sophomore year of high school, my school counselor kept asking what career I wanted to pursue. At that time I was very indecisive and my answers varied from becoming an interior designer to becoming a doctor. I took several assessments and still felt unsure. After researching several career options, I finally realized that I enjoy helping others and I had a passion for the field of education. At that point, I knew that becoming a K-12 teacher was not what I was truly interested in nor was becoming a psychologist. The perfect choice encompassing aspects of teaching and psychology was to become a school counselor. I then spent most of my time at the counseling office and worked as an aide. From there on out, I realized where my passion lay.

    How did your time at HCCC prepare you for your career/ life now?
    Many of my instructors taught me the motivation necessary to pursue an education and played a role in feeding my passion for the field of Psychology. The College Student Success course taught me skills that I still use today, such as time and stress management, and responsibility.

    Who are your biggest inspirations that have impacted your work in some way?
    The students are my inspiration. HCCC offers a variety of programs, and students of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures come together to learn. I have met people who were doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, etc. in their home countries who came to the U.S. to start over again. They begin their American educational career with us. As they come in and out of the tutoring center and classrooms, we listen to their stories and celebrate their successes.

    What advice would you give to recent HCCC graduates?
    It is important to never give up, always find a way, and go the extra mile without looking back. Our lives become very busy with the responsibilities and obligations of being students, parents, siblings, etc., but never giving up and always trying to go above and beyond, no matter how exhausted we may be, will help us achieve our ultimate goals in life.

    What advice do you have for those students who are just starting their college careers?
    HCCC has always been very family-oriented which was exactly what I needed when I was beginning this new chapter in my life. Many of the people I interacted with were not only helpful, but also very welcoming. Therefore, during this time it is best to enjoy all the resources that the school has to offer and do a lot of research into every major, career, and/or field they might be interested in. It is a great time to explore and ask many questions. HCCC is a step in the road that will put them on the path to their intended careers.