Sonia College ExperienceSonia DeByle is 21 years old and started her time at the College Experience as a freshman. She currently lives at home with her mom, dad, brother Dominick, and identical twin sister, Ande. Sonia was drawn to the College Experience after touring it in November 2018 with her family. It was her ambition to learn to be more independent and was interested right away when she got to the campus because she heard all the good news of what the program offers. Sonia liked touring the sprawling College of Saint Rose campus and meeting her best friend, Danielle Passariello. Sonia admits that she was declined from the other colleges she applied to and was actually in tears when she read her acceptance letter from the College Experience. In her own words, “I was so excited and could not believe it.”

Sonia particularly likes the classes in life skills because those are things she wanted to work on and be independent as far as living on her own one day. She also heard from Danielle about the magic of K-pop, which is a genre of popular music originating in South Korea back in the 1990s. She also learned about the Golden Knights Dance Team at the College of Saint Rose from Danielle. Sonia has made plenty of other friends in the College Experience and even bonded with a young woman who is a mainstream student at the College of Saint also passionate about K-pop. The student struck up a conversation with Sonia after having noticed her K-pop key chain on a backpack. They still communicate through Twitter and Snapchat.

Some of Sonia’s favorite classes during the school year are Human Sexuality and Personal Relationships taught by our Academic Coordinator, Kelly Weiss in addition to Current Events taught by Prisca Abosse. She enjoyed all the classes overall, and there was not a class she did not like. Making friends was interesting because Sonia thought, ‘How will I meet new people and go to events.’ But Sonia found it is fun to go to different events on campus and see what the clubs were about. “I never did clubs before and enjoyed hanging out with Danielle in the dorms. It was like a dream come true.”

Sonia College Experience ArtworkSonia is making good use of her time during the pandemic when all of the students are at home for their safety while taking College Experience classes remotely through Zoom. She goes for a five-mile walk nearly every day with her mom and uses the Apple Watch to figure out how many miles they walked because it clocks the mileage. Among her other eclectic interests, Sonia likes to practice Yoga in her living room and draw in her free time along with performing other art projects. Some photographs of her artistic ability shown. She likes drawing pictures of cartoons that she likes and playing with her English bulldog named, Ruby. Sonia states, “The first thing I will do when the pandemic is over is go up to my friends and give them a hug when it is safe and go shopping at the mall. I will get a K-pop CD because I cannot think of a life without CDs because I feel like it is a hard copy of something in case the Internet or phone breaks. You will always have a hard copy to be there forever.

Sonia mentioned how thankful she is for all of her fellow classmates in the College Experience, the teachers, and all of the Zoom classes. She is also thankful for Kelly Weiss for reaching out to her about classes. We wish Sonia the best of success as she continues thriving during these unprecedented times until we all meet again!