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NAME:  Kelsey McManus


MAJOR:   English

PROGRAM:  The Bridges Program


What has been your experience with Academic and Transfer Advising Services?

I went to the Academic Transfer & Advising Services Office quite often before I chose a major. I was a bit restless in choosing which path I wanted to take and needed advice on what would be a suitable match for me.

How did you learn about the Bridges Program and why did you want to become involved? 

The Academic Transfer & Advising Service office put me in contact with Carolyn Stephenson, the coordinator of the BRIDGES program. I needed to meet with an advisor to remove a hold on my account and was told if I wanted to turn things around and achieve my full potential, I should email Carolyn and become a mentee in the program. I wanted to become involved because I wanted my degree to be worth more than the money I paid to attend Stony Brook. I wanted to take control in my academics and, every time I look at my diploma, I want to feel the pride of a job well done. I needed help to get there, though, and that’s exactly what the BRIDGES program provided me with.

How has the Bridges Program supported your academic progress? 

I found myself distracted by personal struggles and my transcript was reflecting that. Instead of attempting to provide a fix for those on my own, the BRIDGES program provided a support system that was unparalleled. If I had trouble paying for a textbook, I was put in contact with people who could help me. If I was struggling with a particular class, additional support was provided to me so I could not only catch up, but get ahead. When the time came and I had my first very successful semester with the BRIDGES program, I wanted to take on more responsibilities. So I increased my credit load and was put in contact with the then newly-formed Academic Success and Tutoring Center to work for them as an Undergraduate Assistant. The BRIDGES program not only helped me in my academic progress, but to find confidence in my own abilities as well.

What advice would you give to your peers?

The advice I would give to my peers is to utilize the services available to you on campus. They are already paying for them through all of the fees charged to their accounts and letting paid services go unused is silly. Stop in to the Academic Success and Tutoring Center at least once and try a tutor. Head on over to the gym and blow off some steam. Take a weekend bus to the mall. Join a club or intramural sport. These are all already paid for.

One other thing I would recommend is that every student stop by  the Academic & Transfer Advising Services office at least once a semester, rather than stopping in the semester before graduation or the semester of graduation with concerns about classes and credits. Students should make sure that every class being taken is working toward their end goal of graduation before they sign up for them. Be proactive, not reactive. 

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