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    Reyhan Lalaoui

    Reyhan Lalaoui

    Class of: 2017
    Degree Program: English

    What factors led you to decide to attend Hudson County Community College?
    I took an unusual education path, graduating high school at 13 and beginning my college career at 14. I was super young and my parents wanted me to be close to home. Hudson County Community College was a short commute away, so we decided it was the best choice. It was a very nurturing environment, too - people really care who you are and where you're going.

    What is your favorite memory of the College, in or out of the classroom?
    I have this great memory of a conversation I had with a few students in one of my science classes. We had finished our assignment early and were sitting together, talking about life. The environment was so welcoming that we all ended up in this deep philosophical discussion about everything from family to outer space. The connection and openness with the other people I was studying with inspired and motivated me more than I can say.

    How did you become interested in your major or career?
    I've always been interested in telling stories. It's the first thing I ever wanted to do and what I aspire towards to this day. Naturally, I thought English would be a great fit, and it was. Figuring out how stories are told enables you to create your own guidelines. In essence, learn the rules so you can break them. Now, at Saint Peter's University, I've moved from the page to the screen as a Communications major. I've picked up a lot from both majors and look forward to continuing my academic path.

    How did your time at HCCC prepare you for your career/life now?
    It taught me that communicating with people is a vital part of success. As the President of the English Honor Society, I was in charge of organizing events, gathering people and getting the word out. But whether you're putting together a literary magazine or talking to your professor about a grade on a test, it's all about clear communication.

    What has been the most memorable project you have worked on?
    I'm currently working on my senior Honors thesis at Saint Peter’s University. I'm writing about the importance of cultural and geographic representation in media aimed at young adults. My hypothesis is that, if you see yourself shown positively in the media, it will give you a better self-image. To complement this thesis, I'm writing, directing and producing the pilot episode of my own web television series, set in Jersey City (check out for more details and how you can help me out!). I'm hoping to pitch it to outlets like Netflix and Hulu in the future. It's the biggest thing I've ever organized and I'm really, really excited.

    Who are your biggest inspirations that have impacted your work in some way?
    I feel like everyone says it's their mom – but really, it's my mom! She's the smartest person I know, always has a solution before I even have a problem and motivated me throughout my entire journey. I'm a first-generation college student, so she was very passionate about putting me through school. Her support motivates me to be the person she knows I have the capability of being. Thanks, Mom. :)

    What advice would you give to recent HCCC graduates?
    You did it - congratulations! The best advice I can give you is to take a step back for a moment and meditate on your accomplishments. It's really easy to get caught up in the, "Okay, what's next?" mindset, but in order to get more things done, you should appreciate and acknowledge the progress you've made so far.

    What advice do you have for those students who are just starting their college careers?
    You have a brand new adventure ahead of you and lots to look forward to. If you're feeling nervous or self-conscious, remember that nobody is analyzing you as closely as you analyze yourself. The thing that I recommend the most is to look at everything like a learning opportunity, not just your actual classes. So many events in your life are teaching you things and it's up to you to listen and take those lessons to heart.