RIT Croatia students receive Outstanding Scholar Award

By: Angela Madjer

Rochester Institute of Technology believes that it is absolutely essential to award their students for their exemplary academic achievements. Every year RIT commemorates these students by honoring them through the Outstanding Scholar Award. This award recognizes the 1% of undergraduate students that were able to achieve a grade point average of 3.85 during their 4 year undergraduate program. Not only were these students able to achieve this quintessential academic standing, but these students also offered their time towards volunteering and completing their co-ops as well. Each year the recipients include RIT Croatia students. This year, we had 5 recipients of the Outstanding Scholar Award: Daniela Kunej, a 4th year student majoring in Information Technology / Web and Mobile Computing, Lucija Nola, a 4thyear student majoring in International Business, Antonela Topić, a 4thyear student majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ana Maria Trojić, a 4th year student majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Lučano Žganec, a 4th year student majoring in Information Technology / Web and Mobile Computing. Some of them shared their journey and what it truly means to be an outstanding scholar award winner.

Antonela Topić, a 4th year student at RIT Croatia in Dubrovnik expressed what it really meant to her to receive this award, "It is nice to get recognition for my effort and hard work and to be awarded with such an attainment to wear on graduation.”. The award symbolizes hard work, putting in extra time and effort into your studies and strong personal motivation to achieve this level of academic distinction. Daniela Kunej, a 4th year student at RIT Croatia in Zagreb said that the award made her feel really proud of herself and that it felt good to receive praise for all her hard work. Not only did the 4 recipients that we interviewed say that they felt good about receiving this prestigious award, but they were also excited to add it to their achievements section in their resumes. Ana Marija Trojić a 4th year student at RIT Croatia in Dubrovnik added, "I am proud for being part of Rochester Institute of Technology because you will not find many universities which motivate their students to work hard and which recognize and reward student’s hard work the way RIT recognized and rewarded mine.”

            It can be quite difficult for students to juggle their academic responsibilities and personal life. But these students managed to find what worked right for them. Studying hard, time management skills and being prompt is what it took for Ana Maria Trojić to become a recipient of the Outstanding Scholar award. Lucija Nola, also a 4th year student at RIT Croatia in Zagreb said, "Personally, I always knew how to organize my time and never had a feeling that I am studying hard. I traveled a lot during my studies and always had time for my friends. For that reason alone, having good time management is the main key.”. Time management seemed to be her key to a successful undergraduate career. Yet, the real secret to Daniela Kunej’s academic success was that, "You have to really want to do it for yourself because doing it for your grade point average won't get you there.”. Each student’s personal motivation was what really drove them towards success. Each student seemed to have their own factors of success that resulted them in being recipients this year!

When asked what advice they would give a freshmen student that just began their undergraduate career they said:

"Well, I would suggest to Freshman students to always be on track and to try to develop time management skills.  Keeping class notes is something which I believed helped me the most and I would recommend this practice to everyone” - Ana Maria Trojić, Hospitality and Tourism Management

"To anyone who is ambitious and wants to achieve this award, I would advise that hard work and studying is a great start towards receiving this award. However, as I already mentioned, to truly excel in anything, one needs support and ability to sometimes rely on other people as well as they rely on you. What I have realized after four years is that people give you the power, just as much as you give it to them. So make sure to work on becoming more compassionate, extroverted and positive. Make sure to take on every opportunity and live fully while finishing your college career.” - Antonela Topić, Hospitality and Tourism Management

"I found my freshman year the trickiest one because everything was new and a majority of us didn’t know what to expect. For that reason alone, your first year is crucial - it sets the tone for the next three years. However, I would say the most important thing is to have a vision and long-term goals. Many people say that an employer won’t look at your grades once you finish college, but for those that aim to get into a very good postgraduate program – a high GPA is a necessity (among other things). Finally, it is good for your confidence and establishing working habits.” - Lucija Nola, International Business

"To be honest, there isn't any great secret we aren't telling you... Honestly, I just got into programming and projects with great groups of people who helped me develop and become better at everything I do. Always surround yourself with people you can learn from. Also, a lot of students have good grades in many subjects but then get bad grades in courses they're not so interested in. But what helped me was changing my mindset, rather than thinking "Why would I do this if I'm not interested??", I changed it to "Why would I let this, which I am not even interested in, bring down my GPA which I am proud of?".”Daniela Kunej, Information Technology / Web and Mobile Computing

Each of these students have bright futures ahead of them and have already planned out what path they’ll be headed down. Although they have different ambitions, their hard work has finally paid off to make the next journey a bit easier. Whether it be relaxing a bit over the summer, preparing for a master’s program or beginning the job search these students are ready for a new experience to begin.                      

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