Jorge L. Lugo
Area of study: Business Management
MOS: Personnel Specialist
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Jorge Lugo, I was born in Brooklyn NY and moved upstate to Marlboro NY when I was 13.
I have lived in the Hudson Valley since, (I now live in Highland NY) and graduated high school in 2005. It was not easy for me after high school, because I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. After high school, I flunked out of Dutchess Community College twice and Orange Community College once, then I worked many odd jobs for 3 years, which was not very fulfilling to say the least.
Things changed after I was laid off from my security job and I was left on unemployment. Realizing the value of a good education I went back to Dutchess for my Associates degree in Business Administration. After Dutchess, I then came to SUNY New Paltz to pursue my Bachelors in Business Management.
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What prompted you to return to school?
Today’s economy is scary, and it’s clear to make any sort of real income you need an education.
To be honest, I was frustrated because I knew I had aspirations to do great things in life and I guess I was tired of settling. I wanted more for myself but my problem was I wanted to find meaning in my work as well I wanted to do work I enjoyed.
After focusing, I realized I had a passion for business but I also wanted to help people, that’s when I realized the Human Resource field was the perfect fit for me. I then set out a plan to not only go back to school but to also make it the affordable for myself by first going back to an affordable community College, and then to a great affordable university in SUNY New Paltz.
Why did you choose this school?
I chose SUNY New Paltz because it was the closest SUNY School to where I lived, and I believed it was a good school.
After speaking with many people who attended and having my mind set on SUNY New Paltz, I was also in the process of leaving to Great Lakes for Navy Reserve basic training.
After going through 2 months pretty much away from the world, when I got out I applied to SUNY New Paltz while I was attending “A” school in Meridian MS. I just had drive and was always a planner so I knew I would be back home to attend SUNY New Paltz by the fall semester of 2014. I knew since the moment I was accepted to SUNY New Paltz that it would be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life.
What military benefits did you use?
I currently use the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve. As a reservist, the MGIB-SR is a very nice benefit where you are eligible to get a monthly income that is dependent on how many classes you are taking per semester.
I also am a current member of the New York Naval Militia, it is a state funded program. This program is very much like the Army or Air National Guard, but that it is Navy and specifically for New York State. Under the New York Naval Militia if there are any New York state emergencies I get contacted if I want to help, which I feel is pretty cool. Currently the Naval Militia has a great education program where they handle the undergraduate tuition costs of any SUNY school. I utilize the Naval Militia because they are helping me get ahead in having a debt free education.
Describe your student experience:
My experience as a student has been great.
I think it is important to mention, I also believe any experience is what you make of it. As a student, if you’re responsible enough to stay engaged with the material your studying you will do fine. New Paltz has many resources from the campus library, to the business resource center, to your academic advisors to help make the student life as accommodating as possible. The coursework itself can be challenging but that is what school is supposed to do, your mind is supposed to grow and be stimulated in order to develop.
In SUNY New Paltz many courses require group activity as well so you will also appreciate the camaraderie between other students. I have many new friendships because of student life, and it is an experience that I continue to be grateful for.
What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?
I would say congratulations on your decision to return to school. College is a big step in the right direction and I feel utilizing your military benefits in school is a no lose situation. My first advice would be to know what profession you want to pursue and begin working within that field right away. This way, when going for advancement in your company you can already say you have both your education and professional experience.
My second advice would be to have a plan on how you are going to pay for school. Make sure you find a good school but also one that is most affordable for you to come out debt free.
Finally, my third advice is to have the eagerness to do well! Be proud of yourself and know that you are on a path to change your life for the better.
What challenges did you have adjusting to school?
As a reservist, I currently still experience both military and civilian life so I feel like I have the best of both worlds.
Honestly, I do not feel it is too difficult to adjust between military life and campus culture. If anything the military life makes you more mature as you’re only focused on getting great results. Whenever on campus I find myself thinking more about how well I want to perform in class.
The veterans office at SUNY New Paltz also makes the campus life much more accommodating as I do not have to worry about filing forms each semester for my benefits, they take care of it for me. Being in the military is definitely a plus as I get a few other cool perks as well, such as free parking passes, free access to CAC enabled computers, tuition deferral, and benefits assistance advising to name a few.
Did your Military experience make you a better student?
Military life to me is valuable because it gives you discipline, when there is something to get done you should be eager to get it done.
If anything I believe military life is a bonus when in a campus environment because you learn to appreciate your opportunities more. I cannot speak for others but when I am in school, I am proud to say I serve in the Navy Reserve, I use that as a badge of honor because every bit of service counts. The military has given me the confidence to go to school and be able to believe that I can excel in my school work and studies.
I’d like to think as a student, whenever I am in a class I represent all those who have served or continue to serve in the armed forces.
Thank you for allowing me to speak on the behalf of all the SUNY New Paltz veterans, this is a privilege that I am very grateful for. I take great pride in my military service as it is truly an honor in my life and I am happy to share my story.
I hope student veterans take away the eagerness, passion, and enjoyment that I have for success, and utilize this for yourself to keep you motivated while attending school. Make the decision to go back to school to benefit yourself, and your loved ones with a better life in the future. I can assure you if you aim to obtain both the professional experience and education, nothing but great things can and will happen in your life!
All the best and thank you again for your time.