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Roosevelt University | Full College Conversation I


Full Length College Conversation with Vanessa, Sammy, Fey, Lilly 


Roosevelt University (Chicago, Illinois)

Undergraduate Population: 4,071 total (2,321 undergrad / 1,750 grad and doctoral)
U.S. Department of College Scorecard: Graduation rate, majors, costs, salaries
Official Website:
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Snapchat | LinkedIn
College Newspaper: RU Torch



Lilly Pribish
Hometown: Arnold, Missouri
High School: Fox High School
Year in School: Class of 2023
Major: Political Science and Integrated Marketing Communications
Lilly’s Places: Student Government Association (president), Residence Halls, events on campus
Reach out to Lilly on Instagram: @lilly_pribish

Samantha Hernandez
Hometown: Chicago, IL
High School: Trinity High School, River Forest
Year in School: Class of 2021
Major: Psychology
Samantha’s Places: I started off as an orientation leader where I met my best friend Vanessa. I joined the Peer Mentoring program. I became involved with a variety of organizations on campus. Center for Student Involvement is the hub for student involvement and the place I've made most of my college friends.
Reach out to Samantha on Instagram:  _sammy1231

Vanessa Ayala
Your Hometown: Palos Hills, Illinois
High School: Amos Alonzo Stagg High School
Year in School: Class of 2021
Major: Psychology with a concentration in mental health
Vanessa's Places: Association of Latin American Students, Alpha Gamma Delta, SPEED programming Board, McNair Scholars program, Center for Student Involvement as an Orientation Leader and Head Orientation Leader, and in the Academic Success Center as a Peer Mentor.
First Generation Student: Yes
Reach out to Vanessa on Instagram: @ _vayala_

Fey Adewole
My Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: Florence Day School, Nigeria
Year in school: Class of 2021
Major: Biochemistry; minor psychology
Fey’s Places: Pre-medical students association, Honors leadership council, Natural Science Club, Math and Actuarial science club, SPEED, student government association SGA.
Reach out to Fey on Snapchat & Instagram: Snapchat @Feyisola004 | Instagram @temmytay0

College Conversation Breakdown

Hashtag Directory:
#WhoIs #highschool #background #immigrant #firstgen #dreamjob #collegesearch #collegeselection #payingforcollege #roommates #makingfriends #gettinghelp #mentalhealth #uncomfortableexperience #scholarship #people #places #TRIO #commuterstudent #mostjoyful #advice #studentorgs #socialjustice #permissiontocontact

2:21 - Harlan asks Lilly “what is your dream?”  She says she wants to help people and wants to get to know other people that want to help others. Harlan asks why she wants to do that. She says her parents set that example for her. Lilly’s mom grew up in foster care and they were a foster family for other kids too. She would have a new “brother” or “sister” each week sometimes. #dreamjob

5:08 - Harlan asks Fey “What is your dream?” She wants to be a medical doctor. She never liked going to the doctor or the hospital before. She saw a story that changed her view on it and it inspired her to want to be a nurse. She was an accounting major at first and knew nothing about science or biology. She went to her advisor and said she wanted to be a doctor and changed her major. She’s pre-med now and has no regrets. #dreamjob 

9:37 Harlan asks Samantha “What is your dream?” She was interested in neuropsychology. She realized it was very hard. She wants to help by working in the mental health field. She’s looking toward grad school. She wants to help people with anxiety. She recently had an anxiety attack and wants to break the stigma among college students. #dreamjob

11:37  Harlan asks “Vanessa what is your dream?”  She wants to be a clinical psychologist. She wants to help communities of color, she’s also bilingual. She knows the struggle of dealing with mental health in that community. #dreamjob

13:50  Lilly describes her high school self. She got into a bit more trouble than her college self. She grew up in a very conservative town. She shook things up a little and made a lot of people mad. She was class president and was outspoken. #WhoIs #highschool #background

15:35 Vanessa talks about her high school self. She says she was pretty similar as she is now. She was very outspoken, but shy too. She wasn’t as involved. She’s first gen, but college was always going to happen. She always knew she was going to go. #WhoIs #highschool #background

17:09 Samantha talks about her high school self. She was very shy and timid, she’d go to class then go home. She went to an all girls catholic HS. She appreciates that upbringing and it made her more confident in the classroom. #WhoIs #highschool #background

19:070  Fey talks about her high school self. She grew up in Nigeria, went to school there. No busses, no lunch. If your parents have a car, you’re lucky and get dropped. Classes were 7:30am to 5pm and then you walked back home. Even elementary school. She wasn’t good at paying attention. She wasn’t very studious in HS. She never cared much about school. She only really liked her Math teacher. Her father cared a lot about math, for him that was important. She got bad grades. Her attitude changed here since she realized there are more opportunities. She realized education matters here in the US. #WhoIs #highschool #background #firstgen #immigrant

23:40 Fey talks about the pressure of being first gen and needing to be on top of things and succeed for herself and her family. Harlan goes on to talk about mental health, failing and the importance of continuing on and not stopping. #firstgen #mentalhealth

27:30 Vanessa talks about why she chose to go to Roosevelt. She knew she wanted to study psych, she was interested in U of Iowa for a while. She was turned off by how huge it was and the massive lecture halls. Bradley was her #1, for the college experience. She was ready to submit the deposit, but realized it was too expensive even after scholarship and loans. Concordia and Roosevelt were more manageable. Then the decision was city or quiet town. The appeal of being in Chicago was a benefit. She didn’t know anyone beforehand. She ended up meeting lots of friends including Samantha, her best friend. #collegesearch #collegeselection #payingforcollege

30:50 / 37:57 Samantha talks about why she chose Roosevelt. She never wanted to go too far from home. Her parents are both grads from Roosevelt. Her parents were non traditional students. She would sometimes visit classes with her parents and got introduced to the school that way. 2 friends from HS also went there with her. They had a bridge program as well over the summer which helped her adjust. #collegesearch #collegeselection

34:27 Lilly talks about why she chose Roosevelt. She spent a lot of time in Chicago growing up, she was a surrogate for a family in Chicago and they visited all the time. She was on a sort of app for colleges to match with, and Roosevelt showed up. Her high school also brought it up to her. She went and visited and got a good feeling. The building and location are cool, everyone was smiling, students, staff etc. Everyone is happy to be there. #collegesearch #collegeselection

37:40 Sam talks about why students say they choose Roosevelt. The location and social justice mission are 2 big points that a lot of students gravitate towards. Those things are incorporated into the core curriculum in the first years. There are difficult discussions in class and people talk about other opinions as well. #collegesearch #collegeselection #socialjustice

40:27  Fey talks about why she chose Roosevelt. She was going to community college before. She hadn’t heard of Roosevelt before. She went to another University for a bit. A recruiter, Jose, for transfer students met her while she was taking classes at a community college. She learned about scholarship options and that  caught her interest. She wanted to leave home but when she left she realized she was homesick. When she was away from home at the other school her friends wanted to party all the time which was distracting. She had friends there but she knew she had to change things to focus on her academics. #collegesearch #collegeselection

47:06 Samantha’s talks about her “Places.”  The center for student involvement holds a lot of the student orgs. She applied to be an orientation leader there. That place has encouraged her to pursue leadership roles. She talks about Pamela, the director of the multicultural student support services, she encouraged her to apply for the job of being an orientation leader. She was also in charge of the summer bridge program and took her under her wing for the first semester. #people #places #makingfriends 

50:55  Vanessa talks about her “places.”  center for student involvement, same story as sam, learning commons she is a peer mentor. McNair office. She is also a McNair scholar. If you're interested in grad school they help you with that process. They help prepare you for tests. They pay for the test. They send you to conferences to present research and help with applications to grad school. Harlan highlights TRIO. She talks about commuting and finding community. She says it takes planning. She would take the train with Sam, buddy system. #scholarship #people #places #TRIO #makingfriends #commuterstudent

55:25 Harlan asks how Sam and Vanessa met and became friends. Sam was an orientation leader, Vanessa was a member of her group. Vanessa was very social and wanted to make friends with everyone. She was very talkative and Sam would have to tell her to be quiet and pay attention. #makingfriends

57:25 Lilly talks about her “Places.” She didn’t know anyone coming into roosevelt. Got random roommates in a quad. Got to know each other very quickly and they all got along very well. She had a great experience and it doesn’t get talked about enough. Her roommates became some of her best friends. She loves the atmosphere of the city. #roommates #makingfriends #people

1:01:37 Fey talks about her “Places.”  She is a math tutor and a science tutor. She meets a lot of students. When you tutor you reinforce the knowledge you have. The honors program, the leadership council. Her advisor encouraged her to apply. She is in natural science club, premed student association, multicultural support, honors leadership council, tutoring, SGA. She’s also an orientation leader. #places #makingfriends #studentorgs

1:04:57 / 1:12:55 Harlan asks about SPEED. It is the student programming board, Vanessa is the chair. They plan events like homecoming. Now everything is virtual. Usually homecoming is the biggest event. One time they pretty much brought a petting zoo to the school in the lobby. #places #studentorgs

1:08:33 Sam shares her most uncomfortable experience.  She had her first anxiety attack last year. She was very involved in all her extracurriculars. The manager of the student center was gone so students were trying to manage everything.  She went to get lunch and when ordering felt herself get dizzy and chest tightening, she thought she had a medical issue. The grad interns at the CSI understood what was happening and helped her. She learned some breathing exercises which helped recenter her. She learned to cope that she was experiencing something physically that was rooted in something mental. She went to the doctor and examined her. She didn’t go to counseling right away, she went to her boss who had a background in psychology. She would sit with him weekly. She taught herself some self help techniques like writing. But she encourages people to get professional help. #mentalhealth #anxiety #uncomfortableexperience

1:18:00 Vanessa shares her most uncomfortable experience. in september of 2019 she was diagnosed with leukemia at 20 yrs old. She went to the ER after noticing bruises and recurring headaches. They told her they suspected she had leukemia. She got treatment, went through chemo and medication. She had a good support system and a lot of visitors. She spent 45 days in the hospital. She’s cancer free. It was difficult sometimes because it isn’t very visible, she didn’t lose her hair so some people assumed she was okay because she looked fine. But they don’t know about the side effects. Sam helped her a lot too.   #uncomfortableexperience #people

1:26:00 Harlan confirms that panelists are open to viewers reaching out with questions. #permissiontocontact

1:26:26  Fey shares her most uncomfortable experience. Fey had a rough time transitioning to online classes. She talks about crying to one of her professors to give an extension on a big research project when all her other classes were all piling stuff on. She emailed all of her teachers and opened up about what was happening, asking for help. They were all welcoming and understanding. Now she’s back on track. Harlan recounts similar stories and how most professors are compassionate. #gettinghelp #anxiety #academics

1:29:26 Lilly shares her most uncomfortable experience. She reveals she had experienced sexual assault in the past and dealing with the aftermath of that and her self confidence. She mentions that back home in her hometown people don’t talk about sex or anything like that, and being at college taking gender studies classes she felt safer talking about those issues. She encourages others to find a way to not only find others who can support them but also find ways to empower themselves and get through it. #mentalhealth #uncomfortableexperience

1:36:17 Vanessa shares her most joyful experience. Vanessa says continuing her education through the hardest time of her life through her illness is a big point of pride for her

Samantha says she’s a recipient of a scholarship which she got through Roosevelt. It’s a Chicago cultural scholarship and is based on academics too.
Lilly says her honors advisor was talking over class selection with her, her advisor noticed a small detail about the background of the couch she was sitting on and it reflected this feeling of how much people care and pay attention at roosevelt.
Fey says she got another scholarship, and she's a much happier person because of Roosevelt. She’s happier meeting people too and making friends. #mostjoyful #scholarship

1:41:00 Everyone shares advice they would give to their high school selves.
Fey says she would tell herself to be more positive. She had a bad experience because she moved away for HS. She would tell herself her future is brighter
Lilly says she wishes she could tell herself there are other people like her that share her opinions and agree with her.
Vanessa says she would say to not be so hard on herself and make connections and reach out.
Sam says she would say to stop being so uptight, that she’s going to accomplish big things. Loosen up and let things flow because it’s going to work. #advice

Vanessa adds a shout out to Kayla who helped her out when she was going through her tough time.

Harlan reiterates that all the panelists are okay with people reaching out. #permissiontocontact



New York Times bestselling author Harlan Cohen talks with current and recent students about life in college.  For more videos visit BeforeCollegeTV on YouTube.  For more information about Harlan Cohen visit him online at: or follow him on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Tik Tok | LinkedIn | Snapchat (helpmeharlan).

DISCLAIMER: All views expressed by panelists and participants are their own and are in no way endorsed, officially affiliated, or representative of the institution, Harlan Cohen, or BeforeCollegeTV.  All views expressed on panelists social media are not endorsed or affiliated with Harlan Cohen and BeforeCollegeTV.  Students views, opinions, and advice are their own. ALWAYS contact official representatives to verify and validate any information provided