As they prepared for the next stages of their lives, members of the Brooklyn College Class of 2016 shared their fondest memories at the school that they have called home. Below is the last in a series of first-person accounts of what they learned both in and out of the classroom, and where they plan to go from here.

Name: Ciara Santiago
Degree: B.B.A. in Business Administration
Hometown: Nyack, New York

Student Activities: President of the Women’s History Month Committee, treasurer of the V-Day Committee

I am the world’s most indecisive human being.

I couldn’t decide which school I wanted to transfer to after obtaining my associate’s degree. I applied to Brooklyn College without even checking to see if they had my major. But when I visited Brooklyn College for the first time, I instantly fell in love. As soon as I got back home, I sent in my deposit and decided not to attend a private school I had applied to.

I’m not from New York City so I had no idea where I was even going to live, but I knew that Brooklyn College is where I needed to be. I never regretted it once and I never hesitate to let people know that I attend Brooklyn College.

My biggest challenge was traveling from so far away—three hours by train—while keeping a good GPA, and staying involved on campus. Commuting is not easy or cheap, but neither is living in the city. When six hours of your day is traveling to and from school, you get exhausted and it’s hard to stay on top of work. Not to mention I work two jobs, so I never get a day off. Of course, this is my choice. So in order to have money in my pocket and get an education, I sacrificed my free time.

But I believe my education at Brooklyn College will enable me to further my academic career and professional career. I received so much in and out of the classroom. Brooklyn College has further taught me how to use my leadership abilities. I’ve have met wonderful professors, who mentor and coach me in real-life situations in the business world.

My best memory of Brooklyn College is summer 2015, when I studied abroad in China. Ever since taking Chinese in high school, I always said that I wanted to study abroad in China, and I did! The study abroad program was a trip of a lifetime. Every day I wake up feeling blessed for being able to fulfill a dream of mine. Every day I reminisce on what an amazing experience it was. Every chance I get, I encourage students to study abroad. I learned a lot about the Chinese economy, I learned a lot about myself, and I developed great friendships. My friends and I still go out to events together and we plan trips together. This trip was definitely the highlight of my undergrad career and I owe it mostly to Professor Shuming Lu for creating the program.

After graduation, I hope to attend a year-long program in London. This will allow me to get the international work experience I need to further my career in international business. After the program, I then plan to get my M.B.A.