Thursday, November 27, 2008

College Life

Traveling The World And Finding A Home In NYC
By Mark Galarrita

Japan, Guam, The Philippines, Italy, Ohio, Illinois, England. Looking at these locations you might think of a future vacation spot. For one man these are just a few of the places he’s called home.

Chuck Andersen, 22, was raised in a military family. His father is a
Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S Air Force where he does management work. A job that took him and his family around the world. Although Anderson was brought up in a world of formality and structure, he opted to follow his own path in life.

Anderson is a short and stocky young man with an appealing smile. He’s not loud, but neither is he reserved. As he warmed to a reporter’s questions, his answers and actions revealed someone who was comfortable in any situation.

Anderson says he’s comfortable with his
many moves.

Anderson’s early life was influenced by many different places and cultures, from Guam in the first grade, to Okinawa, Japan, then Vicenza, Italy. As Anderson grew up, he attended more than seven different schools between elementary to high school, including three different high schools in total. Andersen says he is thankful for the unusual life he has lived.

“All my life I’ve lived on a base,” Anderson says. “On a military base they had everything there, within short walking distances. There was only one place to go for food, medicine, and cleaning supplies, and that’s the Base Commissary. For clothes, electronics, and household appliances, you only needed to go to the Base Exchange, here you have to go one place to find food, and another place for medicine, another place for electronics. It’s inconvenient but I’m adjusting.”

After years of moving around with his family, this is the first time Anderson has lived on his own and in the city. Before Marymount, Anderson took a combination of online and in-classroom courses, earning an Associate’s degree in Japanese Studies. He decided to continue his education by pursing a degree in International Studies at Marymount Manhattan College.

Anderson moved to New York City alone to pursue his degree and he doesn’t mind living in the city so far. His only complaint is the accessibility. He says the transition from military base life to civilian life raises important questions of friendships. Most of Anderson’s friends come from military families and have lived on military bases themselves.

Anderson’s only concern with making new friends in the city is the ability to balance schoolwork and friends at the same time. “Distance here is a little inconvenient. On the base we live in a very close community where everyone is within walking distance,” he says. “In a city like this, everything is spread out so you have to take a train or bus to visit someone if they’re too far away, and driving as a college student in New York City is just out of the question.”

Anderson chose Marymount because of its location and the small class sizes. Marymount was the first college he looked at in New York and chose it. . Through Marymount Anderson envisions working an internship at the United Nations and one day becoming an ambassador. He understands that it’s all hard work, but he says he’s up for it.

“It’s no problem for me.” Anderson says when discussing his goals. “One of the reasons I chose to transfer was because of the opportunities in the city. New York City offers more with my line of work; so of course, I don’t plan to waste my time away here. I have a purpose.”

Anderson isn’t alone at Marymount. He shares a room with Justin Wurm, 19, at the De Hirsch residence. Although Wurm hasn’t lived in many different countries as Anderson has, they have similar goals.

“Chuck’s cool, laid-back and easy to get along with,” says Wurm, who is more outgoing than his relaxed roommate. Like Anderson, Wurm has come a long way from home to reach his goal of becoming a lawyer.

Anderson is adapting quickly to city life. He socializes with his dorm mates and explores the city, as he sees fit. While he is not sure that he will join the Air Force, as his father did, the military attitudes have stayed with him.

“I enjoy Marymount so far. The faculty’s great and it’s very relaxed. It’s better than taking online courses at least.” Anderson jokes about being back in college.

Andersen may just be getting used to a new lifestyle, but it’s nothing he hasn’t adapted to before.

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