Personally Speaking: Raymond Ceres ’25

Raymond Ceres ’25 is a rising sophomore from Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

 Monday, July 18, 2022 04:40 PM

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Raymond Ceres ’25. Photo by Marco Calderon

Personally Speaking is a feature of Muhlenberg Magazine in which our writers interview students and alumni about their own personal stories. This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Muhlenberg Magazine.

His goal as a first-year student at Muhlenberg was to get involved ...
“Something I realized when I applied to colleges is I didn’t feel like I did enough in high school. I had trouble filling out my Common App. I kept comparing myself to others who did more with their time. Entering college, I wanted to be super involved. I took on every opportunity I could. I was that guy who would sign up for everything at the student activities fair.”

... and he may have overdone it, at first.
“Overcommitment has been a big problem for me. I’ve worked on better time management, and I’m more hesitant to take on new opportunities. Last fall, I would've said yes to anything. I attended a lot of meetings for things I didn’t end up wanting to pursue. I was just testing the water. This spring, I was more focused. It went more smoothly even though I had taken on more responsibilities [with the organizations I’m part of].”

He co-coordinates Bow Tie Club, a mentorship group for male-identifying middle school students of color, and participates in America Reads, a literacy program working in Allentown elementary schools.
“During the activities fair, I signed up for these two programs. They both involved going off-campus and helping students, and that was very appealing to me. As a co-coordinator for Bow Tie Club, I helped plan our lessons—we planned out each week what topic we were going to discuss, what activity we would do, what our goals would be. Some of our plans were more involved: One week, we were going to talk about healthy relationships, so we met with [then Associate Director of Prevention Education] Jules Purnell to discuss activity plans and how we’d go about talking to kids about that. We also organized a visit to campus for the students. This spring, through America Reads, I worked with a group of English second-language fourth-grade students. I helped them advance their pronunciation skills. A lot of people look at these activities and they think, ‘Do you want to be a teacher?’ That’s not anything I have in mind, but I enjoy teaching. I enjoy being in that mentor role. I like the opportunity to work with children.”

He completed his training to become a writing tutor, starting in the fall.
“Being nominated [to be a writing tutor] and being chosen, it’s all about potential. None of us are experts. A big goal of mine entering college was to improve my writing. I never had much confidence in my writing, even though my teachers have given me good grades. The first-year writing course transitions you to a more academic way of thinking. It’s not just writing fancy—your ideas come first. A lot of it is about expanding on different points. I definitely feel like I’m growing as a writer by the week. I’ll even return to something I wrote in the fall and say, ‘I can’t believe I wrote that.’”

He’s part of the Emerging Leaders Program for students from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups ...
“It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve done at Muhlenberg. All the Emerging Leaders (ELs) want to support one another. You come to campus early with your cohort, and the mentors are sophomores and juniors. It’s very easy to meet people through those connections. It’s an advantage, entering college with a support system and familiar faces and friends. I was recently selected to be a peer mentor for the incoming class, which I’m very excited about. I’m also on the Emerging Leaders Council, which is a select group of students who discuss and voice the wants of ELs.”

... and that has connected him with other campus organizations.
“I’m friends with a lot of the people who organize [Comunidad, an affinity group for Latinx students] because of Emerging Leaders. I go to their meetings to show support. That’s a big thing with Emerging Leaders: showing support for others, turning up for events. We’re very involved on campus. Just showing up goes a long way.”