In her own words: When I first moved here 9 years ago, I mainly intended, like so many of us, to pursue an education in hopes of living the American dream. I first attended Queensborough Community College where I pursued an Associate degree in Applied Science, and I was also a competitive member of the school’s swim team. Shortly after completing my degree in just under 1 1/2 years, I enrolled at Queens College to continue my studies. However, faced with higher college tuitions and the threat of losing my status as an international student, I worked 50-60 hours as a cashier at the grocery store, to support myself and pay for college. It worked for a while but my grades began to suffer and I quickly lost focus and dropped out of school.
I worked and worked and convinced myself that working at the store was going to be my life, but my situation with a few good people made a 360 degree turnaround and I was afforded a chance to attend school again. I worked feverishly and increased my G.P.A. from a 1.8 to 3.5, and in my last two semesters as a senior, I was granted an opportunity to become a CUNY Service Corps Member. I became interested because even though I had it rough I knew that there were people who were going through even harder situations. I wanted a chance to give back and the Service Corps gave me that opportunity and paid us while we worked.
About one year prior to applying to the Service Corps, I had applied for a positon at the Federal Reserve Bank after I visited the bank for a guided tour of the Gold Vault, but as it was for many other applicants, it was a lost dream. But out of 800 students in the Service Corps, I was blessed with the opportunity to be placed with the Federal Reserve Bank, one of this year’s community partners. I am so grateful that I was able to contribute in so many ways, that even though I did not engage the public directly, I was able to work on several projects and facilitate different programs that were offered by the Fed, which were aimed at educating people on topics that were familiar to me such as Economics and Finance.
I had no direction, and I had almost given up on education, but through the Service Corps, I was able to refocus my life by having my first corporate experience. I have developed such confidence in myself that I am now actively pursuing my career path. By developing technical skills, being able to engage in civic duty, and being a member of the first cohort of the CUNY Service Corps, I have accomplished a lot and I will continue to encourage students, especially those faced with economic hardships, to persevere, as there is light at the end of the tunnel.