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Transfer student overcomes obstacles

11/06/2013

With the intent of becoming an occupational therapist, Julia Christian '14 of Cohoes, N.Y., decided that MCLA was the right school for her after learning of an agreement the College has with Sage Graduate School in New York.

While it was MCLA's 4 + 2 occupational therapy program that first caught Christian's eye, the former Hudson Valley Community College student fell in love with the campus when she visited to learn more and take a tour.

"Everyone was so welcoming and I felt like I belonged," she said. "This feeling was hard to come by as a transfer student. Most schools I was looking at wanted me to begin as a freshman again, after completing 62 credits.

"MCLA took all my credits and made me feel like my hard work wasn't wasted. I immediately put my deposit in and finished out community college with an Associate's degree in individual studies," Christian explained.

This spring, she plans to graduate with a degree in biology and a concentration in occupational therapy. She's applied to attend Sage Graduate School's two-year master's program in occupational therapy, where she was accepted pending the successful completion of her Bachelor of Science degree at MCLA.

"I am more involved now in college than I ever was in high school," Christian said. A member of the Trailblazers' women's volleyball team, "I broadened my spectrum and joined other clubs like ski club and yoga. I'm part of the National Resident Honoree Hall (NRHH), the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), and also the new pilot program - Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs). I work in the pool as a lifeguard and I also have the opportunity to share my love for this school by being a student ambassador."

It's not surprising that Christian chose to become an occupational therapist. As an occupational therapist, she'll help people overcome conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally or emotionally disabling through performing everyday tasks.

The summer before she started school at MCLA, Christian battled Lyme disease - which severely affected her joints and nervous system. As a result, her decision to play volleyball for the Trailblazers was on the fence.

"My doctors didn't advise it, but in the end I decided that I didn't want the disease to stop me from what I love," she explained. "It was the best decision I made for myself. Being part of the team opened so many doors for me at MCLA. It's what aids in my success here.

"I pushed hard and battled many obstacles to get to where I am now in my volleyball career," Christian continued. "As it comes to an end, I have no regrets. Each game I leave all I can out on that floor so, when my last time wearing that MCLA #11 jersey comes, I'll know I did the number justice."

As a student ambassador, Christian loves telling her story to prospective students and giving them advice about what their futures could hold.

"Finding the right college isn't easy with the added pressure of parents and financial burden," she said. "My best advice when giving a tour is to try not to compare the school to other ones they have already seen. MCLA is its own unique community that can't be explained in words. You just need to embrace the surroundings. If you can picture yourself walking through the gates, then you belong here."