Pamela Rodriguez | On 20, Sep 2017
With the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Hudson Catholic not only welcomes freshmen and transfer students, but new faculty members as well. Recently joining our Hawk family is Ms. Stephanie Molaro, who will be working side-by-side with Ms. Johnston as one of the school’s guidance counselors. We sat down with Ms. Molaro this week to find out a little bit more about this new addition to the Hawks’ Nest.
Graduating from high school just six years ago in 2011, Ms. Molaro was asked if she saw any differences in today’s students from when she was in school. She answered that the most outstanding feature that today’s generation has the luxury of using is technology.
She went on to explain that the use of electronic devices such as iPads or platforms such as email make it exceptionally easy for students to get in touch with their teachers and for upperclassmen to receive college information.
When it comes to Ms. Molaro’s own college journey, she experienced some bumps on the road as many high schools students often do. Aspiring to be an interior designer, she was quickly faced with reality after a talk with her guidance counselor and a look at her transcripts. Ms. Molaro realized that without previously taken any art courses, the plan she had always thought of following wasn’t necessarily the one available.
Instead of being downcast, she took action and had a proactive perspective on the whole situation.
“I said let me be the change,” Ms. Molaro explaoned. “Let me be the one to help students find their path.”
With this initiative, Ms. Molaro began researching schools that offered counseling majors and came across the University of Delaware, where she completed her undergraduate degree in 2015 before attending The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and getting her Master’s degree this past March.
For those students who find themselves feeling confused or unsure about their college career and are anxious over not having it all figured out, Ms. Molaro took an assuring tone.
“It’s totally fine,” Ms. Molaro said. “There’s so much pressure now to go into college and have a major and figure things out–it’s fine if you don’t know [right now].”
Adding that most colleges are liberal arts schools (which means that they require you to enroll in and complete a few basic courses such as math or English before declaring a major), she went on to explain that most students will have a bit more time trying to figure out what does and does not interest them, even after college begins.
As a reminder to those itching to do their college research now, Ms. Molaro advises visiting the College Board or Naviance websites, both of which are organizations that offer information on the college application process as well as ACT/SAT prep.
Most importantly, she made sure to emphasize that students should explore majors that genuinely catch their interest and involve areas where they are skilled.
“.Why would you want to do something for the rest of your life that you don’t like?,” asked Ms. Molaro earnestly. “So change now.”
As for the key behavior to work on when you’re actually in college, Ms. Molaro was clear: it’s all about time.
“Time management,” Ms. Molaro stressed. “There’s so much freedom, and the time you have between classes is so valuable. Make the best of it. Be organized.”
It’s also important to remember to have fun.
“Enjoy it, because it goes by so fast, and by the time you know it you’re graduating and you’re like, ‘Where did the time go?’”
Not only is what you do with your time in college critical, but what you do outside of it as well. Ms. Molaro was introduced to interning when she was required to complete 450 hours of experience for one of her classes. She began interning at Hopewell Valley High School in Pennington, NJ (Go Bulldogs!), before taking a position there full-time. She believes interning is one of the most valuable experience you can have to get a taste of your career of choice.
“Paid, or unpaid, experience is experience,” Ms. Molaro said.
For those who want to go straight into the workforce, she shared that websites such as NJHire and LinkedIn are great for finding part-time jobs and gaining useful skills such as how to communicate with other people, though she candidly shared that most opportunities come your way from the people you know.
“Don’t burn bridges,” she said. “Get to know people.”
Ms. Molaro goes on to explain that her job as a guidance counselor is most rewarding when she hears students’ success stories and thank her for giving them direction. Even with the seemingly never-ending piles of paperwork, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I love working with high school level students. It’s fun!”