What's your background?
With a dad in the Coast Guard, I grew up across three states; I was born in Ft. Meyers, FL; attended elementary school in Newport News, VA and Manassas, VA; middle school in Tampa, FL and high school in Staten Island (Staten Island Technical High School). I now attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts as a Film and Television Major, with a plan to minor in Business of Entertainment Media and Technology.
Can you describe the highs and lows of your college experience?
So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed my college experience; while the idea of starting NYU's film program was intimidating (Would everyone else be "more talented" or "more artistically minded"?), I have found many of my friends and classmates to be open, supportive, and caring artists who are here to learn from others, and here to bring their unique skills to the films and projects they create.
What was most stressful to you about paying for college if you could pick out one thing? Why?
The most stressful thing about paying for college was likely NYU's tuition cost; even after I found out I had been accepted, I knew that the scholarships I'd earned and the amount NYU cold offer would have to cover a certain number if I wanted my attending to be a realistic possibility.
Who helped you navigate paying for college?
My parents were both hugely helpful in navigating the FAFSA, CSS Profile, some of my initial scholarship search, as well as maintaining my college savings account. As my parents have largely been a resource to other Coast Guard friends and families who are looking to simplify and manage their finances, they were able to help me through the process and explain much of it with relative ease.
What are you majoring in and why? What has been your favorite class?
I am majoring in Film and Television Production; thus far, my favorite class has been my "Sound Image" production class; it challenged us to take away the visual aspect of storytelling, and strengthen our prowess in listening to and creating stories with audio. As someone who largely relies on the visual aspects of film for story cues, spending 16 weeks using only captured and created sounds to put together compelling stories was a welcome challenge.
What do you hope to do with your career? What city or profession do you envision yourself in?
Ultimately, I see myself staying in New York City to work as a producer for narrative television, as well as some film projects.
What do you do for fun?
Outside of film, I am also into photography, love seeing Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (some of my recent favorites have been A Doll's House, Part. 2 and Hello Dolly!), have interest in politics and social issues, and play piano at our community chapel on Staten Island.
What is your biggest piece of advice for college so far?
Take time to make sure your school is the right fit—for all the pressure and process that goes into applying to and choosing a college, you want to make sure you're not going somewhere just because you like the name (unfortunately, I've seen a lot of friends make this decision, only to switch paths a semester or two into their time). Of course, it's much easier said than done for some, but take time to tour the schools you're seriously considering and talk with people who are also considering the school or currently attending to see how your wants and needs for whichever program might match up.
Why do you like about being a NextGenVest Money Mentor?
I think the best part about being a money mentor is the opportunity to really connect with someone. You're there as a human resource to guide them through the steps, but you also have advice and insights that might be hard to come by.
What's one thing that you learned while being a Money Mentor?
It's never too early to start becoming aware and responsible about your personal finances; just because you're not paying all the bills yet doesn't mean you won't have to—if you have an awareness of how quickly money can get spent, saved, or dished out for "this and that", you're far more likely to know when to spend and when to save as you start earning money from full time work, and have rent, groceries, and insurance bills to pay.