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Student stumbled into the perfect college experience at Albright

Taisha Charles was used to big schools.

She went to East Hampton High School, which at nearly 1,000 students is the second largest in Brooklyn. And as she prepared to pick a college, she figured her higher education experience would be much the same.

“I wanted to go to a big school; I didn’t want to go to a small school,” she said.

In fact, the only small school she even considered was Albright College. The school was one she had never heard of, located in a city she had no idea even existed and at first pronounced “Reeding.”

“I don’t remember even being in Pennsylvania at all,” she said of her lack of knowledge of the Keystone State.

Charles stumbled across Albright almost by accident. She was interested in studying fashion and found the school after searching on the internet for school’s with well-respected fashion programs.

Even though her path changed before she ultimately picked Albright, the school still checked some important boxes for her. She moved on from fashion, and instead planned to earn a pair of degrees in math and psychology.

“Being able to do two majors at Albright was a big draw for me,” she said.

So was her experience during virtual visits to campus and online meetings with Albright representatives. Undertaking the process of selecting a school during the COVID-19 pandemic, she made her decision without ever visiting in person.

“My move-in day was my first day I saw the campus,” she said. “I had no idea what it looked like, how big it was. I guess I picked Albright based on vibes.”

It was a bit of a blind leap, but one Charles said she is thrilled she made.

Once on campus, she decided to get involved in pretty much everything she could. That decision was based on a lesson she had learned in high school.

As she finished middle school, one of her teachers told her that when she got to high school she should focus solely on academics. Charles, regrettably, followed that advice.

“I hated it,” she said. “It was the worst thing for me. I have to be involved.”

Charles changed course her junior and senior years, and continued her ultra-involvement at Albright. She played sports, she joined clubs, she worked three on-campus jobs.

“I thrive when I have things to do,” she said. “Being a part of so many clubs and activities really kept me going. It was the best environment for me.”

Charles ended up being the president of Albright’s math and dance clubs. She was on the track team, joined the Sigma Kappa sorority, served as a peer orientation worker, worked as a resident adviser, was a tutor and was in student government.

In most of the clubs and activities she joined, Charles took on a leadership role. In her mind, if she was going to be involved with something she wanted to have a hand in making it better.

“I have a love of fixing things for people and doing things for people,” she said. “If I can leave Albright knowing I made something better for a student who comes after me, that’s everything.”

Charles also found time to focus on academics while at Albright. Thriving in both her math and psychology majors.

The math portion, she said, came naturally to her.

“I just love math,” she said. “I was always fascinated with it, and I was always good at it. I figured I’d major in it because it can’t hurt to learn more math.”

As for psychology, Charles said that’s a subject she fell in love with when she took an Advanced Placement course in high school.

Charles, who graduated from Albright with 395 of her classmates during a ceremony May 12 at Santander Arena, said leaving Albright will be bittersweet.

“It’s a lot of sadness, I’m really not prepared to leave campus, to leave my friends,” the 21-year-old said, explaining that she will work on campus this summer. “So it’s sadness, but also a lot of fulfillment. I have people telling me that school won’t be the same without me so that makes me feel like I really made a difference.

“They see the impact I made on this school.”

Charles plans to continue her education this fall at West Chester University, where she’ll pursue her master’s degree.

After that, she hopes to work in employee relations or project management.

“I want a job where I can make things better for people,” she said. “My dream job is working for a company where I get sent out on projects around the world to build better office communities.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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