Jasmine Augustus, Borough of Manhattan Community College

I am the second person in my family to be attending college in America, in New-York as well. I had the opportunity a year after my high school graduation to get admitted into The Borough of Manhattan Community College to study Business Management. It was a new world for me, I took my two very first semesters at the end of 2014 Fall semester, and into the start of 2015 Fall semester. I had to failed 5 out of 8 classes horribly. My advisor, or what I could call my advisor at the time had poorly given me class that were much more difficult to manage as a freshmen and also told me to take five of those hard courses to improve my chance of graduating on time. I did, but I did not do well at all, and as a student who did not easily give in and accept failure, it was hard to see those failing grades, I had to take those classes over and I was no longer a fan of getting advised for my class. I learned from another student how to access my Degreeworks that shows us our course requirements and I figured out what I could handle and what I couldn’t, but I had to take a year off of school immediately after my second semester, because it had turned out that my financial aid had only paid for half of my tuition because of a missing New-York resident document that I had not been notified that I needed and I had a debt of two thousand plus dollars to pay off. For the next year I took my time to pay it off as I got a job that helped me out, at the time the pay was 7.50 an hour, and every second week of a month that paycheck went to the debt collectors who had called me every two weeks a month religiously for a whole year. He was quite nice, but it was a sad time for me as I could not continue my education.

I finally managed to return to school for the fall of 2016 and passed every class with flying colors, during the worst black Friday ever. I hadn’t taken advice on time or early after my first horrible experience with them, I had waited until the day before school each semester up until 2018 when my professors from my own degree could finally advise me. It went over much better and I took a light workload of three to two classes since I kept working and could not commit to being full time anymore, the price of living was defeating me and I was quite the hard worker so I juggled work and school while finally having the burden of paying for school off my back as I then received full Financial aid. I was thankful that I never took out a loan towards college, but it was tempting.

For me, this degree means that I was strong enough, determined enough and driven enough to push myself no matter the hardships and costly charges and rapid worry that swam through me on a daily basis and finally made it to the finish line. I want to show that I wouldn’t give up, that this degree for me will be an achievement that I worked my hardest for and would help me get somewhere better even though I’m not yet certain as to where yet. My struggles have definitely put off my graduation three years longer than it had to, and the pandemic coming into the picture also pushed it back another semester, but I truly do intent to fight until I can hold my degree in my hand. I would not disappoint my family or myself, I worked too hard for this.