This summer provided two opportunities to give back to students in two groups that I am passionate. Specifically, helping students achieve undergraduate success. Speaking to the incoming Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program class and STEM Upward high schools students were two big highlights of my first year as a SApro.
Before I became the proud student affairs professional I am today, I was a high school student from Jersey City, New Jersey ready to attend college. I wanted to attend college since I was seven years old and become a first-generation graduate in my family. In order to reach this goal, I decided to find external programs to help me develop my academic opportunities within college preparatory programs.
During my time in high school, I attended the New Jersey City University Pre-College Program for two years attending Saturday and Summer college prep courses. These programs not only assisted with my academic growth, they provided me with mentors, peers, and networks to help with my undergraduate experience.
While in college, the EOF program helped me learn important life skills and attend college as a first generation student. This six week program was the reason for my success as a student leader and helped me grow as a young adult.
Share The Wealth
I had the chance to speak to a group of EOF students at a networking event at my institution. Being able to share wisdom, tips, and positivity with them about succeeding as an EOF graduate was a rewarding experience. From this networking event, I wanted to express how important it is to share the “wealth of success” with others. Sharing knowledge with a new generation of student leaders in a program I love made the full circle of being an SAPro an honor.
Giving Back Makes A Difference
The feeling of helping someone achieve a goal, solve a problem, or learn a life lesson as always a major goal I had as a SAPro. During both of these professional mentoring events, I was so proud of the students for signing up for these programs. Mock interviews and networking are two major keys for success to help high school students prepare for college and the professional field. Many of the students stated how they were nervous but once they got support from the professionals, they felt better about the process.
No Matter How Far You Go, Never Forget Where You Came From
The Upward Bound and the Educational Opportunity Fund Program were extremely helpful during my high school experience. These two programs taught me so much about being a first generation scholar. Giving back to both of these programs this summer motivated my passion to help students achieve their goals. Despite the next chapters in my life, I will always give back to development and leadership programs to help students. If you have a passion in life, keep going for it and supporting others that have been in your shoes. From new SAGrads that are job searching to high school students, I want to be a cheerleader to their success to see them grow and make a difference.
If we remember to support the programs that gave us the light to shine, we spark the minds of future leaders, success stories, and accomplished students. My connection to the student affairs world may have started in college, but my passion for helping others is forever. How will you help to pay it forward this month? What ever way you choose to do so, remember how far you have come and the people that helped you along the way!
“I am a huge believer in giving back and helping out in the community and the world. Think globally, act locally I suppose. I believe that the measure of a person’s life is the affect they have on others.”