Interview with Chelsea Lantigua

Chelsea is a senior in Macaulay's Honors College at CUNY City College, majoring in Computer Science. She will be graduating in Summer of 2022, with a Bachelor’s of Science. Fun fact: She knows how to cup stack.

Can you tell me more about your major and why you chose it?

I chose my major in the second year of college. I was hesitant between computer science and business but I ended up choosing computer science because I liked exploring new technology. I feel like you are always learning something new in computer science. In high school, I got to learn about computer science through a non-profit organization led by current college students at City College, where you got to create your own business. The program interested me because it focused on students of color, which is very special to me since there are not many Latinas in the field.

Can you tell me more about your transition from high school to college and what was it like for you to have to choose a college?

In the beginning, the transition to City College wasn’t so hard because I had been taking programs offered through City College. When I was still in high school, I got to meet the administrators and professors at City College, so I was already familiar and comfortable with the campus. I’d say my sophomore year in college was the toughest transition for me because I had just declared my major so I started to take the core stem classes which required a lot of studying and it was hard to balance them all. I choose City College because there is a lot of cultural diversity, which I really like to see, especially when I am in a learning environment.

What were some academic hardships you faced during college, especially during the pandemic?

When I would feel super stressed, I would often go to the CCNY Fitness Center and exercise to get rid of the stress. However, with the pandemic that was no longer available. Not only did it help to workout, but it helped to see other students there which pushed me to work even harder and challenge myself. Also, in the classroom, I would be able to communicate with my classmates about challenges you were facing but after going virtual, it was pretty hard to have those one on one conversations.

How have you remained motivated in school through all 4 years of undergraduate?

I often thought about what career opportunities I would be offered in the future, if I continue my education. Just talking to my parents, especially my mom, has motivated me to continue on this journey. My sister graduated during the pandemic, so if she could do it, anybody can do it.

How did the NVPS scholarship impact your college experience?

In so many ways. From textbooks to food, transportation, even clothes like when I needed a jacket for school. I do want to emphasize that it has helped a lot with getting new technology. Recently, I was able to order a new computer because the processor on my last computer was no longer compatible with the software I needed to download for my classes. In one particular class, accessible storage was so demanding that I felt so blessed that I was able to purchase a new computer. During the pandemic, I was so surprised that New Visions was still there and providing for me so thank you for all the help.

What are you currently working on? Do you have any post-graduate plans?

I haven’t been applying anywhere yet because I’ll still be taking two summer classes before I graduate. Recently, I’ve been looking into Project Management roles, so far, I’ve been exploring it a bit deeper in one of my classes so I am excited to see how far it’ll take me.

Do you have any advice for incoming college students? What did you wish you knew about college as a freshman?

One big thing that I took advantage of in college was tutoring, if you ever need help in any of your classes. I don’t know how many tutoring sessions I have been too. Never think it is something you should be ashamed of. You should be trying to make the most out of your experience and try to learn from people who know more. Never compare yourself to someone else in your class. Even if you fail a class, just learn from experience. Most importantly, take care of your mental health. Definitely, know what you can balance and go at your own pace.

How have you grown over the years from being a freshman to now a senior/graduate?

I’ve become more comfortable researching on my own. I used to think it was just to go to class, listen to the professors, and complete the assignments but throughout the years I started to take the initiative of doing my own research. Now I am not restricting myself to learn only the class-related topics but also learn new topics on my own since not everything is always covered in class.