After AUA: First Undergraduates

The Bridge is launching a new series about AUA class of 2017. We’ll be publishing stories of some students who will be graduating as bachelors from AUA this term.

It seems like it was yesterday when the American University of Armenia opened its Bachelor degree programs. But here we are, in 2017, ready to see our first Undergraduate Students’ graduation.

AUA class of 2017 has the most AUA experience from all the current bachelor classes. They came in with one vision and changed their plans throughout the years. During the four years they spent with AUA, they didn’t only receive knowledge but established friendships, had challenging and interesting experiences, created special bonds with teachers, experienced personal growth, and developed an idea about the future as well.

Anush Tosunyan

Anush Tosunyan – BS Computer Science

When I graduated from high school I wanted to be a programmer, but my preferences have changed a lot during the last four years. I see myself in research facilities. AUA completely changed my choice of career and gave me experience for self realization in my field of choice. I want to teach at a university one day and I’m currently working as a teaching associate.

I would like to change the direction of AUA education, my program in particular, to make it more concrete and less theorized.

I am sure that I can be a professional in my country because AUA did not only give me knowledge but also put me in the right direction.

Aside from everything, I met a lot of people here, both students and professors, who contributed to my personal development and encouraged me to strive for more.

I plan on continuing my Master’s degree at AUA studying Computer and Information Science (CIS) and definitely getting a  phD in a field that’s related to Computer Science. Later, I hope to teach here and make contributions with the knowledge I gained from AUA.

What advice would I give to Freshmen? – Study hard!

Aram Serobyan

Aram Serobyan – BS Computer Science

I had just completed an exchange year in US, and was baffled where to apply.  I knew I wanted to become a programmer, a game developer more specifically, but I couldn’t imagine myself in any of the Armenian universities. Fortunately, AUA opened its doors to bachelors at that time, with an appealing CS program.

AUA gave me a lot. First of all, I got the opportunity, through general education, to learn subjects that are not directly connected  to CS.

However, the most important is the connections I’ve established with AUA community. Getting to know some of the brilliant minds helped me I understand how much work has to be done. It is inspiring but a little scary as well.

I’ve been involved in the undergraduate student council since my first year and tried to make changes. Fortunately, many things have changed, the lockers for instance. Nevertheless, I would someday like to see a Game Development program at AUA and would be very disappointed that I graduated before it was launched.

I have a better vision about accomplishing my goals and I think no university can make one a professional without hard work. One should continually practice self study to become a professional. There were courses here at AUA I learned a lot from, butand from others I walked empty handed . I would have definitely added a few courses which would have helped anyone studying in my major, but AUA has great teachers who answer questions outside of the scope of their classes (most of them do).

I’m planning to pursue a master’s degree after AUA while working on some of my projects.

Advice to Freshmen: Never take an Easy A course unless you are truly interested in it. If you are truly interested in something, you would end up enjoying it. Be aware of opportunities because they always catch us unprepared. Don’t miss them.

Mariam Ghushchyan

Mariam Ghushchyan – BA English and Communication

I was very confused when I was in high school. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. Suddenly, I saw an advertisement on TV about AUA Undergraduate program, so I gave it a try.

Later, while studying, I realized what I could gain from AUA and my vision became clear.

AUA changed me a lot. I came here from a remote, small town in Armenia, and being at AUA was a big discovery for me. AUA gave me confidence and helped me to be more open minded. People see the difference in me, and I’m glad it changed me.

I am very satisfied with the education I got from AUA, even though my program is very general. That’s what I like the most about it: I could test myself in various fields before applying for a master’s degree.

During these four years, I changed my mind about my future career more times than I can count; I wanted to be a journalist, then a political scientist, then a PR manager… But at the end I came to the conclusion that I should be a teacher. So, I decided to continue my education at AUA for my master’s degree in Arts in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I have a clear vision: I want to know how to teach, I want to learn new techniques in teaching, go back to my hometown and make the change there that happened to me here.

The second most important thing I gained from AUA are my friends, which is the best thing. We’ll be friends for life.

The one advice I can give to Freshmen is to be open, be active as much as possible, always question everything, be critical, and never be afraid of being wrong.

Tigran Bazarchyan

Tigran Bazarchyan – BA English and Communications

During high school and the first two years of AUA, I was still deciding what I wanted to do. I realized along the way that it’s not just about the majors. I applied to various NGOs to get more experience. I’ve now decided to continue my education at AUA but I’ve also applied to study abroad. Waiting to see what happens!

AUA teaches you how to learn. It doesn’t provide facts, it requires you to do research and find the answers on your own. So, AUA was the perfect place to understand how to access information that suited me.

To make AUA better, I think it is important to occasionally change faculty stuff, so the next generation has better experience. One of the best things about AUA is that instructors care about your education.

To be honest, I had higher expectations when I applied for AUA. However, I consider that I can be a professional in my country because of the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m glad I chose to study at AUA. There are not many universities that focus on liberal arts, which is a sphere that encourages you to explore and become whoever you want to be.

Aside from all the educational experiences, AUA also gave opportunity to meet various people. For instance, I have classes with Freshmen. I don’t see much of a difference between us and I think it’s a great thing to keep in touch with the younger generations and to exchange experience with them. Besides students, there is also the benefit of having a connection with the professors, who are professionals in their spheres.

Our first year was a lot harder than the first year of current Freshmen. So, they need to know that they have a great opportunity because they are now learning in accordance with the system that seniors shaped.

Artyom Yepremyan

Artyom Yepremyan – BA Business

Frankly speaking, I am not sure what I want to become, even though I am graduating in less than 3 months. What I knew before was that I wanted to get good education and experience, which I would be able to apply in the future. I have to admit that AUA helped me gain that. Right now, I can only say that my plans are becoming more clear.

I think what I gained the most from studying at AUA is networking and public speaking skills! Before becoming an AUA student, I did not enjoy networking a lot, I did not have many acquaintances and friends. However, the years at AUA reshaped my attitude toward networking. Also, having worked as a teaching associate at AUA, together with the presentations I’ve done during that time, helped improve my public speaking skill a lot. Besides developing skills, AUA broadened my worldview and improved my critical thinking.

It is important to improve the communication between students and the instructors to make AUA better. Some of my friends and I have a habit of going to office hours of the instructors and having private discussions about various topics related to our class materials. These discussions are of very high value because I received one of the most important and helpful discussions during them. Unfortunately, this practice is not very common at AUA and it would be great if more students were willing to communicate with the instructors outside of the classroom.

I’m definitely satisfied with the knowledge, the experience, and the opportunities that AUA is offering. They are more than enough to help the students to become good professionals. The only issue is that the students should realize they are responsible for their future, and no matter how good the university is, they will not achieve anything without hard work.

I’ve decided to apply to a new master’s program that was established at our University-Master of Sciences in Strategic Management.

These four years passed very fast, so I would advise Freshmen to value their time, especially at AUA.

Elina Harutyunyan

Elina Harutyunyan – BA Business

When I was graduating high school I had not yet found my passion and was just beginning to explore my interest and abilities. I always wanted to become someone who would make an impact in this world and create something truly valuable. I was hopeful and excited  about what road my life was going to take. I applied to AUA expecting a change and it is exactly what happened.

Studying at AUA has been a rollercoaster ride full of difficult and exciting times. At first it was hard for me to grasp the new environment, to get out of my comfort zone and push my limits. However, one important thing that I learned during my studies was that you always need to try harder and put yourself in difficult situations because it is then when you understand who you are and what you are capable of. I understood that the goal is not to make an impact or change the world, the important changes lie in the little things. By undertaking small steps to overcome hardships one after another we can contribute to our society.

Since we are the first class of the Baccalaureate program we have faced some battles during which we tried to make ourselves heard, to have a say in decisions. While, I a proponent of having a diverse education, I believe it would have been beneficial to design the Business program in such a way to enable students to devote more time and attention towards those subjects that they majored in.

I believe that the knowledge I gained from AUA gave me the ability to understand diverse spheres, to have a broader perspective and not just concentrate on one topic at hand. AUA provided me with a knowledge base on which I can start building more profound and advanced skills. I have tried myself in many spheres before realizing that my interest is Economics and AUA gave me the opportunity to do that. My plans for the future include continuing my studies in Economics abroad to become a skilled professional in my field and create something of value.

During these four years, I have met some interesting, insightful people who have played big roles in my life. AUA enabled me to become more open and take risks.

My advice to Freshmen would be to always try harder and put yourself in uncomfortable situations, if you are afraid of something constantly make yourself face that fear and get as much of this experience as you can.

 

Marina Babayan

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