Ever look at successful people and wonder how they got there? Next Step asked five celebs their advice on how to have a successful college experience. Here’s what they want you to know.
"I went to Indiana University at Bloomington. I wasn’t the first one in my family to go there—actually, my parents met there! Grades are so important, but if you want to pursue a career in broadcasting, so is getting practical experience. You may even want to attend college in a city to have an opportunity to meet more people, relate to them and work at a local station. The heart of broadcasting is to relate to people. I was in a fraternity at Indiana. I think frats are great, but I believe you should interact with as many cultures as possible instead of the 50 guys in your house. Studying theater and communications in college gave me the professional exposure to be on camera."
--Carlos Diaz is a reporter for the TV show Extra!
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"While at Rollins College, I was very involved in my classes. I made friends with many of my professors, and I was a leader in many projects that were part of the curriculum. I loved going to school there, since it was a small, intimate college where you could get easily involved in many activities. I also had quite a few internships. I worked for NBC along with a reporter, for Clear Channel Radio, and even did an internship abroad in London. I had a mixed group of friends while at Rollins—Latino, American… There were a lot of international students there, so it had a nice mix of people from all over the world, which I really liked."
--Cristina Fernandez is co-host of American Latino, a nationally syndicated culture and lifestyle television program that targets the 25 million U.S.-born Latino market. Born in Puerto Rico to Cuban parents, Cristina lived in San Juan until she moved to Florida for her studies.
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"One thing I can tell college students is the thing we have heard for years: Trust in you and be yourself with everyone. We are all so different, and that is what makes us incredibly special. Everyone there is probably feeling the same way. Reach out and say hello; they might be shy, so you might have to be the first one. Also remember home is home and you can always go back and visit. Be brave, and know that this is the start of a wonderful journey, and there is always a light shining upon you!"
--Eliana Alexander stars as sassy single mom Rita Thomas on the TV soap opera Desire on MyNetworkTV.
"Well for me, I enjoyed being away from home (Howard University) and being on my own. Going away for college allowed me to become more independent and learn to live on my own. I wasn’t the first in my family to attend college, but I was the first to go to a black university, Howard. I was involved in the campus radio station. I had my own show a couple of days a week. This helped me learn the ropes of the radio world and continue on with my career in broadcasting."
--La La Vasquez is host of Direct Effect on MTV.
"It is so much easier to be away from home these days, because there are so many ways to communicate. E-mail, video mail, cell phones and yes the old U.S. postal service allow for staying in closer touch with home. If students go to school close to home, they should put a bag of dirty laundry in the back seat of the car and go home. Mom and Dad may complain, but the truth is they miss you, too. If an occasional weekend home is out of the question, get involved on campus. Most colleges offer a variety of activities. Nothing will take your mind away from homesickness faster than new friends and new interests."
--James Reynolds stars as Abe Carver on the soap Days of Our Lives.
This article reprinted with permission from NextStep Magazine.