By Nichole Smith
The graduating class of 2023 attended their final senior seminar of the year where they had the opportunity to hear from a panel of three MVA alumni who were eager to share some words of wisdom about college life as they encouraged seniors to welcome this new era of their lives with open arms. They gave honest answers to some of the students’ most urgent questions relating not only to academics but also to the social challenges that they will face.
Hanna Swidler, who was a Theatre Conservatory student who graduated from MVA in 2020, attends Stetson University and is majoring in psychology with a minor in management and theatre arts. She discussed with the students the benefits of attending a smaller university. “Be who you are,” said Hanna. “I know that going into college can be a stressful time and you can think, ‘It’s a fresh start—I can be who I want to be.’ Absolutely. But remember who you are at the end of the day, and don’t get caught up in social aspects that can deter you from what you’re there to do.”
Nyauni Crowelle, who graduated from MVA in 2021, attends Valencia College and is majoring in general studies with a minor in kinesiology. She discussed with the seniors how taking a gap year was beneficial to her as it helped her to make her resume more competitive. She emphasized that it was important for her to stay productive during that time, so that year she worked at ScribeAmerica where she wrote medical charts for doctors, Publix, and an NGO where she did database work. “The best advice I received [about college] is college is what you make it, so I feel like most of the experience is determined by you, the people that you meet, and the overall importance that you put on certain things is probably what defines your college tenure,” said Nyauni.
Sydney Rivera, who was a member of the Montverde International Futbol Club and graduated from MVA in 2022, attends the University of South Florida and is majoring in biomedical anthropology where she plays soccer. “Communication is key with your professors,” Sydney said. “Most professors don’t understand what it’s like being a student-athlete. Try to communicate so you don’t miss an assignment or miss an exam.”
After the seminar, seniors had their last Senior Seminar Lunch of the year in the Student Center, catered by Jersey Mike’s Subs of Minneola. A few students from the Class of 2023 performed while the others enjoyed their meal. Yilu “Louie” Gao sang “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” while Josue Torres accompanied him on the piano, followed by a guitar solo by Rafael Bugeissi. The meal and nostalgic entertainment gave the seniors time to reflect on a year filled with hard work, fun, and memories that will last a lifetime. Congratulations to the Class of 2023! You’re almost there.