by Yasmine Alwan on January 6, 2015 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
When I was a kid, my mom brought me to the Women’s Talent Corps, which was how I first got familiar with the College for Human Services. My mother was a barmaid on a 125th street at the time, and somehow she got plugged into the Women’s Talent Corps program that Audrey Cohen had started. My dad was an alcoholic who prided himself on being the first “Negro” in the NY city post office – he had a congressional award that he had over his bed that he always used to point out. After the divorce and the domestic violence with my dad, my mom decided that she wanted to do something with herself, and wanted to be a paralegal. She was self-educated, only having a sixth grade education, but she was determined that she was somebody.
There was a lot of talk, these new terms going around, like “empowerment” – that’s what pulled folks to gravitate towards going after the American dream. What they were saying was that education was going to be the way.
I am at MCNY and it feels like a natural order of things. I got my BPS and now I am getting my MBA. My mother came through the system (MCNY) and I look up to her. She was my first role model. It was all about making my parents proud of me, because if they were proud of me, that’s what made me happy.
MCNY’s whole-system approach, the idea that there were a bunch of systems intertwined, was new for me. There was a lot of energy floating around the college. There were a lot of people who looked like me, who had the same values that I had, and some of us even shared the same culture, so I could feel comfortable here. It was a nontraditional, experiential – I didn’t know the term “hands-on” until I got here! I started college at a late age and was very fearful of starting school. There were a lot of people who were also adult learners and that helped me anchor myself here. Some of the professors I met made me feel like I could do it. I am a fearful person, and I always wonder if I can share the same space with educated people, often feeling inadequate. When I got here, there were a lot of positive people and my negative self-talk began to disappear. I started growing, and thinking out of the box. I wasn’t so shallow, with the-I’m-black-and-you’re-white mentality. MCNY has played a role in helping me grow up. If I hadn’t come here, I’d probably still be doing barbering on 129th Street and Lenox in my small, small world.
by Nathan Schiller on October 21, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Shawnese has lived in Teaneck, NJ, and Harlem. She learned about MCNY when her cousin graduated from here with a Masters in Public Affairs. The school felt at home for her from the first day. She liked the small class settings, which allowed her to really know her professors, and the class schedule worked with hers. She is only in her first Purpose as an undergraduate in Human Services — she takes classes at the Bronx Extension Center but one day she hopes to do her Masters here as well.
by Polly Bresnick on October 10, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
I returned back to school because I was tired of feeding and believing my redundant excuses such as “I’ve been out of college for over 18 years”; “How would I repay my student loans?” And “how would I juggle full-time employment and being a full-time student?” But my truth was I was scared, scared to fail, scared to challenge myself. I initially allowed fear to dictate my life and halt my destiny. It left me in a debilitating place in my life because I was trying to figure out what was my purpose; I struggled for quite some time trying to understand why I was so unhappy and angry. I blamed others for my emotional and unpredictable mood swings. I did some soul searching and realized why I was unhappy and angry, I wasn’t pleased with the job I’ve been with for 9 years, my life felt so monotonous without a purpose or a reason and I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.
I knew what I was passionate about, but I needed to understand how to execute it. I truly believe I was given a gift, and that’s to give back to those in need. I want to provide support and understanding, but for me to assist someone else with support, I have to provide support to myself. I have to begin the process again of believing in myself, knowing my worth and knowing that all things are possible. I started feeling good about myself again because I realized this was my new beginning.
I knew very little about Metropolitan College of New York, so I decided to do my research. MCNY offered Human Services with flexible course schedules, so the only thing that was left for me to do was to enroll. I was still apprehensive because fear was still my security blanket, but I told myself there will be no more excuses; I have something to prove to myself and to see through on my passion; I needed to start living my truth.
September 13, 2014, I began my journey at Metropolitan College of New York as a full time student, majoring in Human Services. I will admit, I have a very challenging road ahead, but I’m following my passion because I believe that’s what I’m meant to do. Taking the time to evaluate who I am has definitely changed my perception of what I’m capable of doing. All things are possible if I believe in myself and stay focused and determined. I’ve been standing in my own way for quite some time, but I’ve made a conscious decision to get off the bench and begin playing on the court.
by Polly Bresnick on July 29, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Virginia Maldonado has lived in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn her whole life. In addition to being a student in the Business Administration Bachelor’s program here at MCNY, Virginia works as a home health aid. After raising nine children, she attests, her work in the home healthcare service has given her the opportunity to continue to deepen her sense of patience.
Studying for her Associate’s degree was challenging work, and her vocal cord seizures added to the struggle. After completing her AA, Virginia felt she’d never return to school. But it wasn’t long before she started to miss being in school, and when she visited MCNY, she knew it was the right fit. Someone she spoke to here had reviewed her transcripts, and upon seeing how well she did as a business student, urged her to enroll in the Business Administration program at MCNY. The fact that this person believed in Virginia instilled in her a confidence that helped her decide to enroll here and continue to achieve academic success in the field of business.
When she first started here, Virginia felt like she was cranking her brain up like an old engine. It was challenging! But it was so satisfying to get positive feedback and realize, “Wow! I’m really doing this! I wrote this essay! I prepared this Business Plan! I’m doing this!” She has not allowed her age to get in the way of her education.
The teachers and students Virginia has encountered here have opened doors for her and inspired her to make positive choices about her education. With their help, she’s developed effective learning strategies that have helped her reach her goals, she’s felt motivated to pick up the phone and get things done. She has felt empowered to not allow obstacles to stand in the way of her success.
In addition to feeling motivated by her teachers and fellow students, when Virginia encounters challenges, she thinks of her nine children. It’s important to her to be a model to them, and to prove to them by example, that it’s never too late to advance your education. She hopes that her own perseverance will help her children believe in themselves and not get discouraged by their age or any other obstacles. Her oldest son is currently working with an outreach program to educate young people about reproductive health and substance abuse, and he plans to stay with the program and enroll in college through a scholarship they offer their employees. Virginia is very proud of him, and she smiles, reminded by his success and her own that “age ain’t nothing but a number!”
by Nathan Schiller on June 23, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
I was raised in Coney Island, Brooklyn, along with my three sisters and brother. I witnessed issues such as addiction, domestic violence, and gun violence damage many of the families around me. During those years, I was also lumped into stereotypical assumptions of character based on my ethnicity and what neighborhood I called home. The discrimination that I experienced and my environment are reasons I am enrolled in MCNY’s Human Services degree program today. My first attempt at college was in 2004. The transition from Leon M. Goldstein high school to John Jay College was not easy. I was 17 years old, fresh out of high-school, and full of anxiety. Reasons for dropping out of John Jay were: 1. Confusion, 2. Enrollment in courses I was not interested in and 3. The inability to juggle the demands of work, school, family and my social life. Subsequently, I spent my time quitting every job that hired me because there were no opportunities for growth. I also completed training programs along the way, which I felt would broaden my horizons. Although I did well, I exited each program with an overall sense of unpreparedness and lack of sufficient work experience. I decided to return to college because a degree is necessary for me to achieve the level of success I desire. My first college experience was a culture shock. I felt like I was doggy paddling my way through my classes, barely able to keep my head above the water. The second time around, factors that have contributed to my success at MCNY are: accepting feedback, having clear goals, utilizing available resources, and learning how to manage my time. In addition, the faculty continuously challenges me to raise the bar of my own expectations. I have learned not to be ashamed to ask for help, to take charge of my learning; revisiting the basics often is necessary, and achieving a balance is difficult but possible.
by Yasmine Alwan on June 12, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, I was selected with five other Haitian students to come to New York and study Emergency and Disaster Management at MCNY to help Haiti for future disasters. I was very excited because it was one of my dreams to study in the U.S. But when I took a seat in class, I could barely understand what was said because the way I used to pronounce words was completely different from the way there are pronounced in the United States.
During that first week, I submitted my first assignment for my writing class to my writing professor. She gave me back the paper and said that she was not able to grade because she did not understand it. At that moment, I felt I was going straight toward failure in that Master’s program. I could read in the professors’ eyes that we were a casting mistake.
During our welcoming ceremony at Borough Hall, I made a speech that made everyone clap their hands. At that moment, I realized my chance to succeed in the program was not over, but I was at the beginning of a challenging journey. I knew my failure would have been a failure for my country and giving up was not an option. It was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Therefore, I decided to read more, take ESL classes, make the MCNY library my new home, and go to the LEC to improve my writing. At the end of the semester, I had an A for my writing class. And now, I just finished my first novel: I Dare You To Try It, that will be published soon. Thanks to LEC.
I was shy because of my accent, but Prof. Motola advised me to speak up. So I became more confident in my presentations. Some professors especially Prof. Chuck Frank and Prof. Mick Maurer, challenged us regardless of our origin, which built our capabilities. The college also organized a trip to Chile where we gained more knowledge and skills in disasters. I was very proud of my 3.83 total GPA.
What really makes MCNY special is the way the staff empower students with knowledge, skills, and self-confidence. A special thanks to God, my family, the Council Member, Matthieu Eugene, and MCNY. It was a wonderful experience for me at MCNY. The MCNY staff (admission, financial aid, registrar, LEC, etc…), my classmates, and my professors were amazing.
by Polly Bresnick on June 10, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Clarita was born in Pereira, Colombia. She lived there into her adult years, and earned a masters degree there in Educational Administration. Throughout her years of eclectic professional experience in Colombia and here in the United States, she has worked as a teacher, a public health educator, a city government interpreter, and a chauffeur! Her sculpture has been commissioned by various institutions, and she has been awarded various recognition for her other art work. She came to MCNY with a desire to further develop her professional skills and contribute to the fascinating field of emergency and disaster management. As English is her second language, she still struggles a bit with pronunciation, but she does not let that impede her from engaging enthusiastically with her studies and following her curiosities with tireless passion. She practices her pronunciation by repeating new words aloud until they become more familiar. Though challenging and frustrating at times, this practice is important to her because she wants to ensure that her speaking ability matches her level of intelligence – it’s important to her, as it is to everyone, to be understood! She loves New York City and is passionate about being involved in the city’s emergency and disaster management in meaningful ways that make a difference.
by Nathan Schiller on May 16, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Last year, Moe Zin Win was a high school student at the National School of Myanmar. One day, MCNY representatives visited his school and gave a seminar about the business program. He knew he would get a good education in the U.S., so he decided to leave his family and come to New York — despite not knowing a single person here. People had told him that New York City was the major city of America, and he was very excited, figuring there would be lots to do and he would never be bored. He was right about that, but he also thought the city would be clean and was surprised to find the transportation system as dirty as Myanmar’s! Although he misses aspects of his home — the warm weather; the Burmese food; living in a big house instead (now he shares a small apartment, in Elmhurst, Queens, with a friend from Myanmar who attends NYU) — he likes living in New York and studying at MCNY.
by Yasmine Alwan on May 12, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
Written by Mr. Radcliff, Jr. for the LEC blog.
Living in the Now
I would be lying if I were to say I didn’t enjoy my past lifestyle of drinking and drugging and then acting a fool while under the influence.
Yes, it began as a social thing, but ended terribly as I look back.
If you were to ask me today if it was by coincidence, pure luck, or a change from within myself that had awakened me to reality, I would have told you that it was neither one of these, but God intervening.
First of all, I don’t believe in luck.
Second, coincidences come and go.
And third, the only change I counted on had to be silver coins and/or green bills in order to get that next drink and/or drug.
I wasn’t quite sure whether I was ready to take on college after I completed a treatment program. I mean, sure, I had already obtained my G.E.D. diploma, as well as, a CASAC-T, but I could not remain abstinent from my addiction.
It took 8 years, a loss of some good friends that died from drug and/or alcohol addiction and finding myself homeless, that I cried out to my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, for forgiveness and a way out of living prodigal.
I didn’t know Human Services, the course I chose, would involve so much, but through rigorous studying, and with the help of my class instructors, my classmates and the resources the college offers, I can say I did kind of good in Purpose One.
As I made mention earlier about luck, coincidences and how neither one of these words had any effect on my life, I do thank God for giving me the opportunity for the chance of making a life for myself.
I’ve come to the realization that the world never promises you a rose garden, for you have to put in the work, and as my father once told me, and I quote, “Nothing comes to a dreamer, but a dream,” unquote.
Now, I don’t know just how far I’ll be going in college, but I do want to at least obtain my Associate’s degree in Human Services. As I mentioned earlier, expecting the unexpected is what keeps me focused.
by Polly Bresnick on March 13, 2014 in Paths To MCNY with No Comments »
In 2007, Darryl was in a coma for five days after a terrible car accident. He had multiple surgeries on his mouth because every tooth was shattered. He was embarrassed because he felt as if he’d lost his smile. He would cover his face when he talked, afraid that he’d be judged when people saw that he didn’t have any teeth. At the time he hated commercials that showed people smiling. Eventually he learned to cope with these challenges, and he’s not ashamed anymore. He enrolled at TCI in 2012 and received an Associate Degree in Human Services in 2013. That year, he was dealt another severe blow; this time it was Hurricane Sandy. He was living in Staten Island, and he woke up to five feet of water in his house and one wall completely gone. He felt very alone, and he didn’t know what to do. He was placed in temporary housing tents. He continued to attend school, but it was difficult because he didn’t have the resources that most students had (computer, iPad, Kindle, etc.). During this time, he resisted asking for help. He went out of his way to help others, but when it came to asking for help for himself, he didn’t know how. He currently attends MCNY for a Bachelor Degree in Professional Studies. He was recently informed that he’s eligible for Phi Theta. He sees this not only as an incredible honor, but also as a “light at the end of the tunnel.” He has an internship at Housing Works, and he loves it. He’s experienced the staff at MCNY to be very passionate in their work to help students achieve their goals, and he appreciates their support very much. After being at MCNY for a little while, he now knows people care; this has motivated him to apply for the master’s degree program.