As Victoria Rosenthal graduates from Northampton Community College (NCC), she does so with a trunkload of honors in tow. In addition to being chosen class speaker at the Bethlehem Campus’s virtual commencement; she has won a full-ride scholarship to any Pennsylvania state school, as a member of the 2021 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team; was elected treasurer of the PTK honor society; published three articles in the College’s literary magazine, The Laconic; made it to the finals of the Speech Competition; and is a member of the Psychology Club. She is a psychology major from Nazareth.
Her accomplishments are even more impressive, given her struggles with mental health. “As you can imagine, it’s very painful to deal with the added stresses of deadlines, tests and classes when you are struggling to survive,” she says. After one extremely traumatic experience, she decided she was going to work hard to heal. She started going for Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Rosenthal believes strongly in DBT therapy, and would love to open DBT practices, especially with access for people who do not have the money to benefit from this type of treatment. “I believe my personal life experiences will help me be successful at understanding and helping others who are struggling,” she says. She wants to help as many people as she can.
She chose to major in psychology because she loves to learn about people and wants to be a psychologist. She is enthusiastic about the psychology program. “The professors and students at NCC are what make the program unique,” she says. “Anyone can read a textbook, but the knowledge I learned from other people’s personal experiences enriched my education beyond my expectations.”
Rosenthal highly recommends NCC’s psychology program. She found the professors to be wonderful, understanding and extremely knowledgeable. She adds that psychology can lead to wonderful careers, and that there is a shortage of therapists. “Therapy needs to be destigmatized because everybody can benefit from it, even if they do not struggle with mental illness. Even if therapy is not the goal, psychology can lead to a broad variety of other careers.”
She says that psychology classes are amazing because you not only learn about others, but about yourself as well. She credits the professors with having a gift to make students feel understood and to relate the classes to the students’ personal lives. Students also come away with learning communication techniques to lead healthier lives and to learn about how people think.
“NCC has changed my entire life,” Rosenthal says. “I felt that I was part of a little community. It helped me meet my favorite people in the world. I remember walking through the halls and recognizing people wherever I went and finally feeling I belonged somewhere. Compared to who I was before coming to college, I am so much happier and more confident. College helped me feel proud of myself, to surround myself with wonderful, loving people and to pursue my dreams. I would not trade my time at NCC for anything.”
Rosenthal says she is beyond thankful for the full tuition waiver from the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges to any Pennsylvania state school. She will be using the scholarship to attend West Chester University in fall 2021. She ultimately hopes to earn a doctoral degree.