Ben Mancino '14 chose MCLA because of its close proximity to his Troy, N.Y., home, its beautiful surroundings in the Berkshire hills, and because it offers the arts management major.
Once on campus, Mancino discovered the individual attention the College's professors give their students. He attributes that consideration as the reason why he does "outstanding" in his classes.
"MCLA is known for its small classes. It is perfect for students who like to interact with teachers one-on-one, and it definitely helps create an intimate and friendly environment. MCLA gives off a 'high school classroom' vibe with a college-level source of knowledge."
He continued, "I have become a very independent person since I came to MCLA. I also have developed confidence in myself, my leadership and my artistic capabilities. Every semester I take my newly learned knowledge and apply it to my future plan."
Student independence and individuality are fostered on campus. With the help of several clubs and some dedicated art students, Mancino is working to create an on-campus photography gallery. Students also are encouraged to form new clubs to fulfill their varied interests.
"The opportunities and possibilities are truly endless for students who are self-motivated and goal-oriented," Mancino said. "During the school year, I am an active member of the Photography Club and Colleges against Cancer (CAC). I recently was selected as the public relations officer for CAC and the secretary for the Entrepreneurial Club. During my freshman year, I joined the Student Activities' Concerts Committee and helped get Sammy Adams to perform here."
These activities, Mancino explained, enhance his college experience because of what he learns and the new friends he makes as he participates.
"I love the responsibility that comes with the positions, which is why I decided to take on two e-board positions," he said. "I think that the experience will help me mature as a student now and will provide me with skills that will help me further down the road."
This summer, Mancino is working as an associate gallery manager for DownStreet Art.
"It is incredible to think that a few dedicated students can transform empty storefronts and create wonderful galleries that support artists while strengthening the local economy as well," he said. "At first I thought it was going to be difficult adjusting to North Adams without having the rest of the student population around, but I have adjusted quite remarkably. I love the calm atmosphere and it is very relaxing to live in the area."
According to Mancino, perhaps the best part of being an MCLA student is the ability to access any opportunity one can imagine.
"I have only been at MCLA for two years but I have learned that the opportunities grow as you grow. If you are a passionate person, you will most likely succeed at MCLA because there are the necessary resources and supporters to help you reach your goals. I think it is important for students to realize that what you put into MCLA is what you get back. If you try hard to do something great, you will succeed and be proud. This school is all about making the best of what you have."