Rana Thabata is a leader. We sat down with the College Beyond freshman to learn about her first-year experiences at Loyola University and her vision for the future of college access and persistence in New Orleans.
Rana Thabata is a freshman at Loyola University New Orleans.
CB: What made you choose Loyola? What are you planning to major in, and why?
RT: Loyola was the right choice because it is home to an overwhelmingly kind and caring community. My older sister was there and would always rave about how Loyola had so much to offer. I chose Loyola because I thought of it as a place I can thrive, it was small enough to make my mark on. I am currently a Political Science major, and I am most interested in studying Social and Public Policy because I want to one day write policy and improve the quality of life for those who experience hardships related to race, class, and/or gender.
…I am most interested in studying Social and Public Policy because I want to one day write policy and improve the quality of life for those who experience hardships…
CB: What’s the best part of freshman year so far?
RT: The best part of my freshman year so far is the relationships that I have made. I never expected to make friends so fast coming into a brand new environment. When I got to Loyola, I was able to meet such amazing people that were in the same boat I was in, and it felt good to have people who understood the struggle of adjusting to a new environment. I have also made friends with upperclassmen who are so kind, and tell you that if you ever needed help with anything, they would be there. Going to a small school meant that I would have smaller classes, and it feels great when your professor knows your name and gives you advice about anything.
The best part of my freshman year so far is the relationships that I have made. I never expected to make friends so fast coming into a brand new environment.
CB: How has it felt to have coaching meetings with Ms. Erica?
RT: Working with Ms. Erica through College Beyond has been absolutely amazing. To know that there is someone who cares about how you are doing, and checks on you frequently feels great. She is a support system I never expected to have entering college. Whenever we get together we talk about my classes, things I am involved in or thinking about getting involved in, or any problems I am having in general. She always has open ears, and she always has the best advice. Her coaching has helped me with time management, and just handling how I deal with certain situations.
CB: You have an internship at 4pt0 Schools this semester! What made you interested in doing an internship? What are you learning?
RT: I knew that the four years you spend in college was a time to not only earn a degree, but also to gain experience. I knew I wanted to intern within my freshman and sophomore year, and when I met Ms. Erica for the first time, she told me about how College Beyond has worked a non-profit named 4pt0 Schools. As I was reading about it, I came across the internship application and I instantly applied. It has been wonderful so far. I am learning about all the different programs people are creating to help education.
CB: I hear you are interested in starting a college persistence non-profit one day! Can you share a little about your passion for that and what you hope to achieve?
RT: It is incredible to be able to intern for 4pt0 because it finds, trains, and invests in passionate people solving the most important challenges in education. I am passionate about creating a non-profit that helps stellar students from low income high schools with the college and scholarship application process. When I was a senior in high school, I didn’t think I was capable of getting into schools like the Ivy League schools and it was because I had no clue about the process. I want students to know that they have the potential to make it to these schools with the correct resources.
I am passionate about creating a non-profit that helps stellar students from low income high schools with the college and scholarship application process.
CB: Hundreds of high school seniors across New Orleans are applying to college right now. You’re already through that process! What advice would you share with them?
RT: I would tell them to start applying to college now, the earlier, the better. I would tell them to do their research, and to go on tours, they have to be able to see themselves at that school for the next four years. I would tell them not to stress about it, that they will end up where they belong. I would also tell them that they should ask students at the schools they are looking at about their experiences so far.
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