Bronx Community College
Before I joined ASAP, I hadn't been to school in 26 years. After high school, I concentrated on my career as a dancer. I had the good fortune of becoming a member of a professional ballet company and traveling abroad. I learned early on about living independently, working hard, and being responsible for myself. These qualities have guided me through rough times and still define me.
Though illness ended my dancing days, my desire to attend college never waned. I have always been an avid reader and writer. I enjoy expanding my mind through reading and discovering my voice in writing. After I began to regain my health, I thought often of attending college. But I had doubts-would I be able to endure college life?
Everything changed when a close friend told me, "You are so much more than your illness." I had never been to college, but I remembered that my father had always wanted me to go. My friends also urged me to apply. Still, it took this one supportive comment from a friend to help me find the confidence to apply. "Illness is a very small part of you," my friend said. "You're holding yourself back." I seriously pondered and concluded that the strengths within me outweighed the weaknesses; I would not set limits on what I could accomplish.
With a new fighting spirit, I took the college placement exams and proudly completed the applications on my own. I chose Bronx Community College, and after my first semester, I was invited to join ASAP. From my first day in the program, ASAP has expanded my college experience. Though I had been away from school for many years, the program staff has assisted me in navigating my way through college. Through the encouragement of my ASAP advisor, I have formed a study group that meets once a week. My study group has enhanced my learning and given me the opportunity to interact with other students who are as dedicated to their studies as I am. I also became an editor and writer for the ASAP newsletter, Drumbeat. I enjoyed the experience of collaborating with other students in implementing an initiative that enhanced our sense of community in the program. Working on the newsletter also helped me to appreciate what it takes to create and follow through with a project.
I have certainly taken advantage of the guidance that ASAP provides. Three semesters later, I have a 4.0 average--straight As. Through my regular meetings with my advisor and ASAP career specialist I have refined my long term goals. After researching several careers and college programs, I am leaning toward a career in international relations. After college, I would like to work for an international organization dedicated to improving the lives of others. Ultimately, I aspire to representing the organization as a member of a team of mediators in an international conflict. In this way, I could initiate peaceful relations among nations. Such a leadership position would require of me evenness and flexibility to understand that solutions to conflict require compromising, collaborative effort, and mutual respect. I hope for the opportunity to put in practice one of my deepest personal beliefs: to always look beyond our differences for what connects us all as human beings.