Graduating senior Alexander Belli, a double major in public relations and advertising – and recently honored with the highest honor for this year’s advertising students, the medallion – shares his story on how Rowan University was not his first choice, but ultimately was the best choice for him. Alexander commuted to Rowan from Voorhees, NJ (Camden County.)
When I was first looking into attending college my sole priority was making sure the major and department I chose would help me achieve my goals after graduation. This was a choice that I truly struggled with. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life – I was only 19 years old. How was I supposed to know what the right choice for me was? Eventually I came to the conclusion that I would attend a two-year college – giving myself more time to decide and explore my options.
During this time I explored biology, pre-med, accounting, nursing, and personal training. All of which ended up not being the right choice for me. However, my time to transfer to a four-year institution was approaching. I needed to decide quickly and be absolutely certain I made the right choice. Eventually I came to the aviation industry – settling on the idea that I wanted to become a pilot. This decision lead me to a university out in northern Arizona.
A year later I realized this was actually a terrible choice for me – I ended up not enjoying the program I entered and the college’s other majors all focused on the aviation industry. After getting past the fear of breaking the news to my parents, I revived the search for my future. When I thought about my next college Rowan University had appeared in my mind. Two of my three siblings had attended Rowan and both graduated from the university. I had hoped to do things differently than them, I just didn’t know of any other options that would fit me.
I came in initially as an advertising major, later adding public relations on after my first semester. Originally, I was the commuter student who went to class, went home, did my homework, and repeat. I wasn’t overly involved or active in the Rowan community; my only thought was graduation. However, when you attend classes at Rowan the students are incredibly welcoming and encouraging. It was because of talking to someone who sat next to me during one of my first classes that I got involved in a student club known as PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America). And through this club I received a scholarship and one of the College of Communication & Creative Arts’ prestigious medallion awards. Just because a kind student who sat next to me encouraged and believed in me. That’s just the kind of people Rowan has.
And my involvement didn’t end there. After the end of my first year at Rowan I received a student worker position as a digital content contributor for Rowan’s Division of Student Affairs. A position I received from interacting with one of my professors (who I now work with). She inspired me to pursue various aspects of public relations – eventually leading me to my passions in photography and cinematography. The position I held allowed me to develop these passions into skills that I can use to establish a career that I can enjoy and be proud of.
There’s still more Rowan has given me. Including the opportunity to travel to Austin, TX for a leadership conference, holding an internship in Philadelphia, PA, at an established advertising agency, having the opportunities to witness what goes on behind-the-scenes of a professional photography shoot, and making life-long-lasting friendships. I couldn’t be more grateful to the students, faculty, and the overall community at Rowan University. It’s because of them that I can feel so successful and prepared for my future. I only wish I had chosen Rowan sooner.
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Story by: Alexander Belli, B.A. in public relations and advertising
Photography by: Vanessa Vause, B.A. in public relations and theater; Bianca Torres, sophomore music industry major