The thought of what I would do with my life at the age of 17 didn’t really seem like a concern at the time.
A College degree was something that I had to accomplish, not just for myself but for my family. I was to be the first one to graduate in my family.
When I was in my high school years, I was lucky to meet a few people outside of school that also had the same goals. When I look back I feel extremely lucky (as I often do) to how things tend to play out. One of my friends was going to NYU in Manhattan. Denise Miranda, who is now a director in Albany for the protection of people with special needs. She mentioned the school and encouraged me to apply.
This school was not on my radar at all, things like scarcity Mindset, cultural limitations, economic barriers, learned limitation. (the concept of knowing your place in society)
Those terms had not become defined yet, they were not being used in society as freely as they are now.. But they existed.
The paradigm shift has become social media, the internet allows everyone to communicate any idea at any moment. Whether the information is correct or incorrect, it goes out.
I didn’t know why I didn’t consider this school. But I am determined, so once it was on my radar, it was go time. I applied, was accepted, graduated and fast forward 27 years later, here I am
I am getting off topic, this Friday October 25th 2019.
I attended the 50th anniversary of the NYU HEOP program. This program allowed people like me, who at 17 had no financial means, to attend one of the most prestigious schools in the country. I was admitted on my own merit, ( I am good test taker) but without this program I would not have been able to attend. Financially we just didn’t have the means.
The person in the picture with me is Sharon D.D. Reid, (class of 96) she is a diversity and inclusion coach. When we started in school, the title for this job, didn’t even exist.
She along with Tanya Ramos – Director of the global non profit “Pencils of promise” are the only two people that I know have graduated alongside me. We entered with a class of about 90 thru the program, and I know of only us that graduated.
That attrition rate is alarming, but the focus should be on the success.
The reason for the blog entry is to let the next generation know, all we get is a chance, the rest in on us.
We should be accountable and grateful but once you have been given the opportunity, you have to seize it.
Access for all.
Photo credit to credit NYU’s Photo Bureau