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Lily Pugliese prepares to do her school work.

By Cristen Parisi
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Liliana, or Lily, Pugliese, a first-time college student, adjusts to her new school, work and life.

Lily is a freshman at Camden County College, having started in the fall 2019 semester. She is a prime example of how a college freshman adjusts to this next step in her life’s journey.

How do you feel about your first year in college?

Lily said she loved her first year, including the fact she could pick the time of her classes so she could work around her desired schedule. She had heard many things about college life from her siblings and friends who had already been through their first year.

Lily also loved the atmosphere moving from high school to college. “I love change and starting new things,” she said.

The one thing that really surprised her was how nice everyone was. “In high school, I only had a selective group of friends because of the activities that I did. But in college, in every class, I was like a social butterfly. Nobody cared about what you do, the grades you have, how you dressed. Everyone was just chill. I love it,” she said.

How does this semester compare with last?

Lily said she preferred this semester over last. In her first semester, she took all prerequisites, which she described as not necessarily hard but boring. Her classes were also longer so she had to go straight to work from school, which was exhausting.

She added she auditioned for the school’s a cappella group; however, not many students showed up so there wasn’t much to do.

How are you adjusting to the new schedule of work and school, even more so with the COVID-19 pandemic occurring and being considered an essential employee at ShopRite?

Lily said COVID-19 first appeared, her work life was rough. “I always work closing shifts because of school. Because of the pandemic, there were weeks where I would still be at work getting stuff done and fixing up the store until 1:30 in the morning,” she said. The shifts, however, for the most part have calmed down significantly.

How do you think Lily is adjusting to college and work?

Her sister, Teresa, answered this question. “I think Lily is adapting well to both. She still manages to get her homework done while also being able to get to work on time. However, Lily will stay up late working. If she started earlier, I feel as though that could benefit her and also so that when she is done, she can relax.”

If you could do your first year in college over again, would you?

“I wish in my first semester, I actually took advantage of any free time to get homework done. I wish people took a cappella seriously and we could’ve actually performed. For this semester, I wish COVID-19 was dealt with quicker and better than it is. It took away the rest of my first year at college,” she said.

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Lily graduated from Cherry Hill High School East in June 2019.

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