NECC 2020 Graduate: Jonas Ruzek
Name: Jonas Daniel Ruzek
Major: Liberal Arts- Journalism and Communication Option
GPA : 4.0
High School and Year of Graduation: Amesbury High School: fall 2015-fall 2017, TEC Connections Academy: fall 2017-spring 2018, HiSET Diploma attained June 2018
What brought you to NECC? I initially came to NECC to figure out what I wanted to study. Coming out of high school, I was uncertain about what I wanted to do in life. Rather than commit to a four-year institution particularly strong in and known for (a) specific program (s), I enrolled at a school that could not only educate me but also, unlike most colleges, help me find my course. In other words, NECC was one of the only places at which I could get a strong education while also deliberating about the future. Did you attend another college or university before enrolling at NECC? If so, did you earn a certificate or degree?
Why did you choose your major? I chose journalism because I found my personal ethics and literary skills to be incredibly compatible with the practices of the free press. I also realized that I wanted to serve my country through the amplification of the voices of those often unheard and through honest criticism of authority. Because unconditional praise constitutes complacency, not patriotism.
Were you involved in any extracurricular activities at NECC? Yes; I wrote for the NECC Observer during the spring 2019 and spring 2020 semesters.
What are you planning for fall, 2020? My plans have not yet been finalized, but the most likely scenario is that I will transfer to Northeastern University as either a second-semester sophomore or first-semester junior to study journalism.
What did you appreciate most about NECC? Both my professors and the Bentley library staff did extraordinary work to encourage student success. I would be nowhere near where I am today without them.
Was there a faculty or staff member who was especially helpful? If yes, how did they help you? I credit literature professor Lis Espinoza and journalism professor Mary Jo Shafer with having the most influence on the growth of my writing. Their curricula and feedback styles helped me develop an ability to flesh out critical thinking in a professional, academic format potentially impactful in the real world. Thanks to them, I write far, far less like a high schooler than I did a couple years ago.
What surprised you most about NECC? The degree of attentiveness applied to students by professors struck me as the most remarkable element of my education. At NECC, I never encountered a professor who did not, in some way, accommodate their students’ needs. Each instructor altered their teaching style to fit the needs of a specific group of people, demonstrating an adaptability and work ethic I deem truly admirable.
What advice would you give an incoming NECC freshman? Don’t be hard on yourself, but do be very strict with yourself. Set consistent personal deadlines for homework that isn’t due for a while in order to avoid work pileups. After maintaining this study habit for a while, procrastination feels far more stressful than actually starting your homework early.
What would people be surprised to know about you? Perhaps that I did not speak English until I was five years old. My parents are both Czech immigrants, so I spoke only Czech until I had to enter an American public school system in Iowa (the state where my dad got his first hospital job offer in the United States.
What were the biggest challenges that you faced in pursuit of your associate degree? Balancing schoolwork with extracurriculars (like theater) and work (note-taking at NECC) proved to be the most challenging part of my education. Surprisingly, though, I only had to stay up past midnight to do homework a few times over my entire two years at NECC. I think this is because, unlike high school students, college students don’t have to waste tens of hours in classrooms per week doing work that could be done within the time constraints of much shorter lectures.
What are your long term career/education plans? After I earn a BA or BS in journalism, I want to work as a reporter at a reputable outlet. Eventually, I want to attain a master’s degree in journalism after gaining work experience.
Anything else you want to add? Please support your local papers! They’re the lifeblood of our democracy, but they’re tossed aside in favor of tabloids and sensationalistic material alarmingly frequently.