It wasn’t a very pretty day for new student orientation out at the Klauer campus June 9th. It was cold and grey with a nasty bite to the wind, and for a moment I felt a little sorry for the Flintco crew getting the roof decks on over the steel studs of the Child Development and Career Tech buildings—the newest additions to the branch campus. The men didn’t seem to notice, though, steadily banging out their work in between snow flurries as if it were a breezy spring afternoon.
Inside it was much the same. The breathtaking view of Taos Mountain out the north windows appeared and disappeared with regularity as an endless white line of clouds and mist roamed up and down the Sangres. But the talk and the work was all about registration for spring semester classes.
The first day of spring classes is right around the corner—January 22.
I was reminded that, despite the winter weather, the first day of spring classes is just around the corner—January 22.
New student orientation is a good way for first timers to get one-on-one contact with advisors and faculty, sign up for classes and develop an academic plan, according to Aimee Chavez-Aguilar, Academic Student Success Director. Around forty students attended the event organized by CASA, UNM-Taos’s Center for Academic Success and Achievement, along with 115 eighth graders who, for the first time, got to see what college was like under the GEAR UP program, a group working to provide a positive path to success for middle school, high school, college and life after school. CASA arranged to have representatives of faculty, advising, admissions, the business office, financial aid, CASA tutoring and the Childcare Center present to answer questions.
Melanie Romero works in the physical plant department when she’s not taking classes, and I talked to her during orientation. She graduated from Taos High School in 2002 and enrolled at UNM-Taos that fall semester and has been a UNM-Taos student ever since, so I asked her to tell me what it was like attending UNM-Taos.
“When I graduated from Taos High I came here mainly because of affordability and because I wanted to stay in my community. I’ve changed my degree program a couple of times since then and that’s why I’m still here six years later,” she said with a smile.
“I’ve talked with friends just out of high school who aren’t sure school is right for them, but for me it has been a good experience. First and foremost I’m here to better myself, and the support you get from people here is really great. The personal touch, you know. The fact that it’s a smaller school and people know your name—that means a lot. With the bigger universities you’re just a number.”
Focusing on the big picture
When Romero finishes her Bachelor of University Studies degree she plans to go to UNM main campus for a master’s degree in occupational therapy: “I’m focusing on the big picture now, and the B.U.S. program here at UNM-Taos is what is going to get me there.”
I also spoke to another Taos High graduate, Patricia Gonzales, who graduated in 1993 and is now the head of student enrollment at UNM-Taos. She obtained her Associate’s Degree in Applied Science and General Studies, her Bachelor of University Studies and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from UNM-Taos without having to take a single class outside her hometown.
“I remember the culture shock of going down to UNM fresh out of high school,” Gonzales chuckled. “I found myself in Psych 105, I think it was, and there must have been hundreds of students in the class. I could hardly see the professor he was so far away. He had to use a microphone for us to hear. Needless to say, I was not at all successful my first time out.
Ready and motivated
“I came back to Taos and I could live comfortably at home among friends and family, with class sizes more like at Taos High, and my educational career took off. I just have to say that if you are ready and motivated, any student can become a UNM-Taos success story.”
There is still time to enroll for spring semester classes. You can phone in on the LoboPhone by calling (505) 246-2020, walk in and pick up an application at Student affairs, 115 Civic Plaza Drive, or register online via Loboweb at http://myunm.edu if you are currently a student and have a net-id. Otherwise you should visit the website at http://taos.unm.edu and call UNM-Taos at 737-6200 if you have any questions or problems, or would like to make an appointment with an advisor. They also have walk in advising on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. until noon and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. There is a $15.00 one time, non refundable fee for all applications.
Whether you are seeking a certificate or degree, or you simply want to study for personal enrichment, isn’t this spring semester a good time to plant the seeds of knowledge?