2013 Queensborough ASAP Leadership Team Member
When my mom told me we were moving to New York, I felt overwhelmed with fear and crippled by the idea that I was going somewhere where I didn’t know a single person, much less want to know anyone. When I got to New York, I felt like losing my home was traumatic enough, but totally uprooting my life and losing everything I ever knew, everything I was familiar with…it was too much to comprehend. I was extremely negative, depressed, and ultimately lost… So, I decided to do what I always did and run away. That is when I took on the daunting task of migrating from place to place. I was in Colorado when I received a letter from Queensborough saying I had received full financial aid. I missed my family and, even though I was happy in Colorado, I still felt like something was missing, so I returned to New York. I planned to work full-time while I attended school in pursuit of obtaining my associate’s degree and eventually my bachelor’s degree.
After taking my placement test, a young girl handed me a few flyers before I scurried away to my car, eager to forget about the math placement test. When I got to my car I glanced at one of the flyers. It had ASAP printed across the top. After quickly reading about the program’s eligibility requirements and the benefits, especially the free books and monthly MetroCards, I was eager to find out more. I immediately signed up for an information session, which just so happened to be the last one that they were offering that year. After getting an email telling me that I was accepted into the program, I met with my assigned advisor, who I now have a wonderful relationship with and adore, to discuss my plan for the fall and the other requirements for the program, such as the Summer Institute. It appeared to be just another annoying requirement—some random corny group—team building that, for some reason, all institutions feel obligated to require when a large group is entering some type of program. I had no idea that this part of ASAP, the Summer Institute, would not only affect my experience here at Queensborough, but would change my life.
It was in this Summer Institute, where we worked with individuals referred to as “teaching artists,” that I learned how okay and truly beautiful it is to be vulnerable and how much people can really appreciate it. By forcing me and the other members of the group to interact with one another and share things on an extremely personal level, the Summer Institute formed the bond in that room that established the community between me and the other members of ASAP. Ultimately this changed my life. Not only was I accepted, something most people find hard believing was a major issue I struggled with, but I was also looked at with respect and admiration, even after I shared things that most individuals would judge me for or would view me differently after learning. It was this bond formed within my cohort during the Summer Institute that set the tone for the coming semester and my entire career at Queensborough. The friendships I built there enabled me to overcome the death of my best friend, who passed away during the beginning weeks of my first semester. The unrelenting support of my friends was priceless.
Not only does ASAP offer the financial benefits of books, monthly MetroCards, and covering what your financial aid does not, but the community you will form within your cohort, as well as with the other cohorts, is priceless. As a result of this program, not only has my experience here at Queensborough been amazing, but I currently have a 4.0 GPA, I am enrolled in multiple honor’s courses, and I am member of a variety of clubs on campus. I have also been offered various positions for internships and have built an invaluable network. I do not know where I would be today had I not been accepted into ASAP.