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The college experience

Updated on May 21, 2012

My colleges

College days

In the course of our life we will have present day experiences that bring us back to a time earlier in our lives and it seems that we enjoy having that connection once again to that special time. I am in a stage in my life where I am tending to my son who is a special needs child on the autistic spectrum with a diagnosis of asperger's syndrome and he is considered high functioning. He is at the preadolescence stage in his life and is starting to ask questions that seem common to kids his age. My wife and I devote as much time with him as we can and sometimes due to our working schedules it is hard to do it all together but when we can it is more special. I am also approaching the 5th decade of my life which is a real wake up call and I am trying to make as much of my available time for my son as I can since I am very busy working for a living. I want to allow my son to experience and enjoy his childhood and I wish to share typical father-son experiences that will allow him to learn and grow and have some fun.

Sometimes we do simple things like going to the movies, the park, the mall, the museum, the library, a drive, the pool or bowling. We also enjoy having pizza and ice cream at Matty's favorite places. This weekend I took my son to visit one of the colleges I attended over 25 years ago. We walked around the campus of Hofstra University and it seemed I was there just yesterday. It is also a special time at Hofstra as it is the school's 75th year anniversary as it first opened it's doors in 1935, which is the year my father was born. Since it's inception Hofstra University has been offering a fine education to all it's students. I still have a hard time coming to terms with the passage of time. I can't believe how the time seems to have passed so quickly. If I think back to that time I can still sense my being there and having that youthful innocence and walking on the campus and to my classes. It truly was a wonderful time and it was the time I realized how important it was to do well and be attentive, responsible and mature in my academic pursuits. My parents were instrumental in my having the opportunity and I made the most of it.

Hofstra University was the school I transferred to after studying at Nassau Community College where I obtained my 2 year degree in Engineering Science and Virginia Tech where I studied Mechanical Engineering. I enjoyed my college experience at all three schools and found they all contributed to my desire to learn and develop and mature as a person in my academics and in my personality. I still remember when I attended freshman orientation at Nassau Community College and took a summer class in Physics to prepare myself for the Engineering program. I remember my first semester at Nassau Community was a bit challenging as I took an 18 credit course load and was already concentrating on the prerequisite engineering related courses. I remember taking the following course load in my first year.

ENS 101 Engineering graphics, ENS 103 Elementary Engineering I, MAT 122 Calculus I, CHE 151 Inorganic Chemistry I, PHY122 Mechanics, ECO 208 Principles of Microeconomics

In my second semester after settling in and maintaining a 3.0 average in my first semester I took the next round of engineering related courses.

ENS 104 Elementary Engineering II, ENS 205 Statics, PHY 123 Heat and Sound, CHE 152 Inorganic Chemistry II, MAT 123 Calculus II, ENG 101 Composition I

The first year was a succcessful year for me as I maintained a B average (3.1) and was also working part time in retail. I also managed to save enough money to buy my dad's AMC Spirit so I now had a car to get back and forth to school. In my second year and third semester I took the following courses.

ENS 208 Dynamics, ENS 225 Circuit Analysis I, PHY 222 Electricity and Magnetism, MAT 225 Multivariable Calculus, PSY 101 Principles of Psychology, ENG 102 Composition II

In my 4th semester I took the following courses and earned my AS degree in Engineering Science in 1981 which was a proud achievement and the first step in my college experience.

ENS 226 Circuit Analysis II, ENS 207 Elementary Materials Science, MAT 234 Elementary Differential Equations, PHY 223 Modern Physics FRE 101 French languages I, PED 201 Racquetball

My overall GPA was 3.14 which was something I was proud of because I really studied hard and devoted a lot of my time at the library and the lab studying to do the best I could. It was now time to decide on the next school to attend and I was now preparing to study for a Mechanical Engineering degree and I knew that Virginia Tech, where my mother's brother Timmy studied was a fine institution for engineering and an opportunity for me to study away from home. It would be my first experience being away from home so I was a bit concerned and excited. You might say I had mixed feelings but was very excited to take on the challenge.

I remember when my parents drove me down to Virginia Tech and I was preparing for my first year there. It was about an 8 hour drive and we had a few stops along the way. When we arrived in Blacksburg, Virginia at the Bentwood apartments where I was to reside while attending the school I had a chance to meet and talk with my roommates and visit at the student center. That first day still is etched in my mind. I remember my parents stayed the night at a nearby hotel after settling me in at my apartment and we went out to dinner in the town. We walked around the campus afterwards and my parents and I separated until the morning. The next day as my parents headed for home we embraced and they wished me good luck and started their ride back. I told them I loved them and would call them every week. My mom was proud and I could see she wiped a tear or two away and my dad was also proud and gave me good advice and told me to do the best I can and to never lose sight of my dreams.

The 2 things I remember most about Virginia Tech aside from studying was attending the football games at the college stadium which was the most incredible experience with the crowds and the tremendous team spirit and the college pride. The other was stopping at the local establishment near the campus known for making the best chili dogs. I still remember the taste of those delicious hotdogs smothered in spicy chili.

It was an adjustment for me in the first year as I immediately started out with upper level classes and my first trimester consisted of Math, Physics, Engineering and Lab classes. I took Thermodynamics, Linear Algebra, Foundations of Modern Physics, Electrical Theory, and Engineering Economics. I maintained a C average which was a bit disappointing as I studied long hours and was very devoted to my studies. In my second trimester I took Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, System Dynamics, Strength of Materials, Mechanical Design and Industrial Electronics. I managed to continue with a C average and spoke to my parents about my disappointment in just maintaining a C average despite my long hours of studying. I was impressed with the teaching at Virginia Tech and the large classroom settings. The demand for an engineering degree at Virginia Tech was incredible and the professors all had graduate degrees and most were foreign educated and many educated in the states in the finest schools. I had professors who were trained at Berkeley, Stamford and MIT. I had professors trained at the finest institutions in India and China as well. I was amazed at the curriculum and the teaching styles. I enjoyed the opportunity of working in the lab and I could see that Virginia Tech was one of the finest schools for engineering and was a place where research for industry was conducted as well. I managed to get through my first year and the first trimester of my second year at Virginia Tech with an overall 2.5 GPA but was a bit overwhelmed at how difficult it was to maintain a B average like I did back at home.

In speaking with my family I decided that as much as I loved Virginia Tech and studying Mechanical Engineering I felt it would be better if I studied closer to home. I decided on Hofstra University and when I applied I was accepted immediately and enrolled in the Fall of 1983 studying Accounting and Engineering. I decided to pursue an Accounting degree and study for my CPA. I loved the fact that I was closer to home and felt that I would have done much better at Virginia Tech if I didn't get off to such a slow start. My education at all three institutions was very fulfilling to me and I was proud of my overall accomplishments as were my parents. At Hofstra I attended for 2 years taking all the required classes to sit for the CPA exam. I earned my Bachelors degree and graduated in 1985 with a major in Accounting. I loved the smaller classrooms at Hofstra University and found the professors there were also very highly credentialed and I learned a considerable amount that gave me the confidence I needed to go out into the job market and land my first accounting opportunity. It seemed my 2 years at Hofstra flew by just like my 2 years at Nassau Community and my almost 2 years at Virginia Tech.

As I was walking on the campus of Hofstra University with my son and seeing the students walking on the campus I felt like I never left as I had the familiarity of being there and belonging as I was alumni. It felt good and as I held my son's hand I told him that maybe one day he would be walking the grounds of the campus there as a student as well and I would be very proud.

My advice to students at any college is to treat their studies with their complete attention and dedicate themselves to doing their best. I would also offer that they find something they enjoy and to research the demand for their field of study. I would say that the fields that will always be in demand are the engineering, medical, teaching and business fields. The courses of study that they can consider would be Engineering, Nursing, Accounting, Mathematics/Computer Science, Journalism/Communications, Music/Art and Special Needs Education (Autism).

As a final commentary I would like to emphasize what fine institutions Hofstra University, Nassau Community College and Virginia Tech are and that I am proud to be associated with all 3 schools and am very saddened with the events that transpired at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 where a student at the school went on a rampage killing 32 students and teachers and wounding many others. It was a very tragic day in the school's history and being a student there makes me extra sensitive to the tragedy because I got to know the school, the community, the campus life, the teachers and the town of Blacksburg and everytime I am reminded of the event I shed a tear because I loved the school and being a part of it back in the early 1980's.

I pray for all those who died that fateful day and honor their memories and pay tribute to them with this writing as they were at Virginia Tech studying and teaching and devoting themselves to what they loved and Virgina Tech gave them the opportunity to do so. It is unfortunate that such an unthinkable tragedy like that could happen at such a fine institution to students and professors in an academic setting. Life must go on and Virginia Tech is committed to those who died and has a beautiful memorial tribute in their honor and I am proud of the school and all they stand for. I was also proud of the New York Yankees and George Steinbrenner who made a donation of a million dollars to the family fund and visited the campus to play an exhibition game against the Virginia Tech baseball team.

When we attend college we find a home and we take a piece of it with us and identify with the school for a lifetime. This is what I told my son as we walked on the grounds of the Hofstra University campus today as he asked me to take some video to remember it by.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Virginia Tech Challenge

Virginia Tech Memorial Tribute

Virginia Tech Memorial Tribute

Visit to Hofstra with Matty

Visit to Hofstra with Matty

Nassau Community College


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    • expertscolumn profile image

      Stanley Soman 

      6 years ago from New York

      Awesome, a Hofstra alumni!

      I'm a hofstra student. Great to see your vids and article

    • Jynzly profile image

      Jenny Pugh 

      6 years ago from Marion, Indiana, USA

      I can understand the nostalgic feeling for a university where we once spent a life.

      Great hub.

    • ediann profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Yes, thank you. I'm glad you learned something from it. I tried to encapsulate my experiences and am glad for your wonderful comment.

    • CPDInteractive profile image


      7 years ago from Suite 606, 343 Lt Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

      wow, this is great information!!! Thank you for writing this :)


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