Whether it's the innovative academics, golden desert sun, or proximity to our iconic boulevard, there's plenty of reasons to come to (or stay in) Las Vegas for college. For junior Lexie Ignacio, it was the entertainment engineering and design program — something you can find only at UNLV.
Attending the college in her hometown was also a great selling point. Not only was she able to study a subject that she’s passionate about, but staying home gave her the opportunity to explore more of what Las Vegas has to offer.
These are the main reasons she decided to attend UNLV, but it was the experiences she had during her first year of college that made her decide to stay.
Best part about being in Las Vegas for college?
I have been able to find one-on-one experience in my career path of entertainment engineering by being able to tour the backstage shows of the Las Vegas Strip.
Number one reason a future student should consider UNLV?
The campus is so diverse and everyone fits in because nobody fits in.
Have you been mentored and/or inspired by a faculty member? Who were they and how did they make an impact?
Dr. Maria Jerinic-Pravica [UNLV Honors College professor]. I struggled so much in her class, but she never gave up on me and helped me succeed. I went from nearly failing her class to ending up with an A-minus — all because she believed that I could do it.
Advice to survive the first semester?
You are in control of your college experience. Academic and social opportunities will not just be handed to you! This was something that I really struggled to understand when I started my first year of college at UNLV. No one is here to hold your hand, but there are people and resources available to you that will help you succeed if you reach out to them. Get involved. Talk to your professors. Socialize with your fellow students. Meet with your academic advisors. Go to tutoring. Everything is out there for you, you just have to take the first step shaping what you want your college experience to be like!
I think the biggest challenge that I dealt with to get to college was actually researching all of my options. Finding schools that checked all the boxes. Applying for scholarships. Retaking the SAT/ACT. I am a first-generation college student so I did a lot of this prep on my own. I made sure that I contacted my admissions counselor whenever I was unsure about something. Even my high school counselor help me keep in touch with the UNLV Honors College after I received a personal invitation/encouragement to apply. It was a lot of work and figuring out everything that goes into preparing for college.
Now, as a current student, I would say the biggest challenge that I face today is finding a balance of school, work, and personal life. I am a full-time student, so school 100% comes first over work, and I’ve made that very clear with my jobs. I also have learned to not overextend myself and my ability to get things done because self-care and personal time are also very important. I have always been the type of person to do try and do the most and learning to take a step back has really helped me succeed in college.
What's it like learning in the midst of a pandemic?
Everyone is adjusting the challenges that come with remote learning and limited in-person instruction. It's new to all of us — adminstrators, professors, fellow classmates. Don't be too hard on others or yourself and instead find more ways to help each other through the challenges. Create group chats for studying and utilize your professor's office hours! Even though it'll be through a virtual platform, you are still receiving the same resources you would if they were in person, so take advantage of them!
I know the hardest thing for me when we first switched to remote learning was keeping a strict schedule and following it. I now have a whole calendar of my classes, due dates for assignments, tests, and quizzes not only on Google Calendar but also on my iPad and in a physical planner so I have three different contact points to help me stay more organized. Find out what works for you, make a schedule and stick with it! Self-discipline in your courses is extremely important for college, in general, but even more so with remote learning!