First Friday Chats with Higher Ed

First Friday Chats with Higher Ed
Posted on 06/21/2021
This is the image for the news article titled First Friday Chats with Higher EdJoin Higher Education staff, as well as featured guest speakers the first Friday of every month (Sept-June) to learn important information about all kinds of college-related topics, including applications, funding, scholarships, counseling, and more!

Ask questions, get advice, learn from the experts, and feel confident about your higher education goals.

The next session is scheduled Friday, September 3, from 10AM to Noon via Microsoft Teams. Email to register for the meeting link!



June 4 Chat: The topic is Higher Education application deadlines. Time stamps can be found by following the link to the YouTube video description.

May 7 Chat: Watch the recording of our Community employment discussion; time stamps can be found by following the link to the YouTube video description.

April 9 Chat: Higher Education participants share their experiences with the program and with their academic pathways. This program aired live on Microsoft Teams on April 9.


First question: Why did you choose your major?

  • 1:20 Isabella (linguistics)
  • 1:56 Benjamin (master’s in real estate development)
  • 3:31 Arnold (social work)

Did you enroll in college immediately after high school? Why/why not?

  • 4:39 Isabella: Involved in Hoop of Learning at Scottsdale Community College with the support of Higher Ed. She was able to enroll in college after high school.
  • 5:19 Benjamin: Attended college after high school. Started with pre-requisites and had no idea what he wanted to do and began taking construction courses. He later ended up dropping out and working. This was a blessing in disguise, as he was unsure what to do. Took a few years off and went back to school. Between 2017-2021, he earned his associate, bachelor, and now master’s degrees. “It’s okay to take time off if you don’t know what to do”. He does recommend getting pre-requisite courses out of the way first.
  • 7:20 Arnold: He did not plan on going to college after high school, referring to himself as a D+ student who didn’t think about Higher Ed. Instead, he decided to take a “gap year” after high school to work and focus on himself.

What was your freshman or first-year experience like?

  • 9:19 Isabella: Freshman year was interesting; she started at SCC, and it felt like high school. Her workload was manageable, and she loved her experience at SCC and ASU.
  • 9:58 Benjamin: He went to school in Utah and said it was awesome. It was a blast to be on his own and meet new people. Recommends joining as many clubs and associations as possible. Built long-lasting relationships with friends from college. As an adult student, he still participates in clubs and is currently a mentor with DECA.
  • 12:15 Arnold: He became a poker dealer at Talking Stick Resort & Casino and decided to enroll full-time at SCC. He loved everything about his college experience. Once COVID hit, he withdrew from courses, because he had difficulties managing working from home; however, he was able to finish his courses. His first-year experience was great despite the ups and downs.

How have you adjusted from in-person learning to online learning?

  • 13:51 Isabella: “I’m not going to lie, adjusting was so difficult!” Considers herself one who learns her best in a classroom. She has created a learning environment in the corner that helps her focus on school instead of hobbies.
  • 14:32 Benjamin: He did a lot better in person than online. Lots of his classes use Zoom. He has been able to manage his time better. More professors are accessible.
  • 16:00 Arnold: Struggled during the spring semester when classes went 100% online.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome these challenges?

  • 17:27 Isabella: During this time, she picked up a part-time job, continued going to school full time and became Miss Salt River. The challenges have helped her exercise her ability to be adaptable.
  • 18:10 Benjamin: He currently works in slots at Talking Stick Resort & Casino and participates in the 20/20 Program. This program allows for him to work part time, go to school full time while earning full-time pay. He’s able to provide for his family and takes 16-19 credits per semester. He faced struggles with all five family members at his house working and going to school at the same time. He is a big proponent for time management. “Do what you need to do to make sure that you’re meeting your deadlines. It’s so easy to get lost in social media nowadays.”
  • 20:42 Arnold: Time management, social skills, and learning how to do everything took some time getting used to. He became a father during the pandemic. Once time management is practiced it all falls into place. “How much do you really want to succeed?” The gap year helped him focus on his mental health and other struggles. He overcame them and is doing well now.

What is your favorite thing about this school/college?

  • 22:48 Isabella: A couple of her favorite things about ASU include the support of Indigenous students, and the support from the professors/instructors. Best piece of advice she has for students attending college is to create relationships with and talk to your instructors, so that if you need help, they are there to help you.
  • 23:43 Benjamin: SCC was awesome; lots of support for Native Americans. He still talks to two of his accounting professors from SCC to this day. At GCU, Benjamin walked a total of 8 miles/day due to parking and large campus. Liked the faculty at GCU, retired from the actual field. ASU had an awesome program. Professors are still in the field and are active at connecting students to their fields and getting people jobs after graduation.
  • 26:33 Arnold: Professors at SCC are amazing! Business-building is beautiful. Counseling staff are also good. Loves the environment at SCC and says the cafeteria food is really good.

How do you balance your time between school, work, and family?

  • 28:03 Isabella: Encourages people to practice time management and says it is essential.
  • 28:46 Benjamin: Also encourages people to practice time management. He also likes Amazon e-books and textbooks with audio versions. He’s learned that he can’t do everything and has had to sacrifice time with his kids, but that’s okay. It’s okay to say no to things and not please everyone.
  • 31:51 Arnold: He balances everything with time management. Good mental health is everything to him. Balancing work, being the head of the household, being a student, being there for family, etc. can be a lot. He encourages people to get enough sleep and prioritize what’s important.

Looking back, is there anything that you would do differently?

  • 33:04 Isabella: Mentions applying to ASU earlier may have allowed for her to figure out what she wanted to do and graduate sooner.
  • 33:36 Benjamin: He would have finished his pre-requisites right after high school. He wishes he would have communicated better instead of just throwing hands up in the air and stopping. He suggests communicating with everyone involved is important because everyone wants to help. Higher Ed. is understanding and willing to help connect students to resources. Communication with teachers is also important, they are willing to help you get caught up.
  • 35:53 Arnold: His experiences helped build him up as a person; knowing there are better days ahead and that he will end up where he’s supposed to be. It may take some time, but he keeps moving forward.

How has the Higher Education Program helped you?

  • 37:16 Isabella: It's been part of her educational journey since high school. They’ve always communicated with her and helped her get through college.
  • 38:48 Arnold: Staff were really helpful. He appreciates Higher Ed’s support and wouldn’t be where he is today with their help.
  • 40:00 Benjamin: Advisors always step up and check in with students and communicate with them. Anytime he stops in, all staff check in with him.

Questions from audience members.

  • 42:45: Comment from audience member #1
  • 45:12: Question from audience member #2, “How would you encourage school right now, at this time?”


March 5 Chat: Watch the recording of Higher Education program staff discussing the FAFSA and how students can prepare to fill it out.

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