It was August of 2007 and it was the most exciting time in my life. And I’m saying this taking into consideration that I had been in a car accident six months earlier, it caused me physical disabilities but my will was stronger than ever. I was about to enter college with an intent to change my career choice; and for the first time ever I was hopeful about my future.
As soon as I was done with registration and found my way out of the financial aid office, I was referred to Student Support Services. They offered me free tutoring, test-taking alternatives, note-takers and advisors. I was also offered help with transportation because of my disability, free bus and train transfers, doctor referrals and disability advocates. At first, I have to say I felt as if this was a bit excessive. However, by the end of my second year I have used all of these services, but most of all tutoring.
I struggled with the math assessment exit exam my first semester after finishing a remedial math class. I failed and was on the edge of really giving up on college altogether. I was frustrated about failing yet, more than that, I was dealing with my ego and with feeling of not fitting in. In high school, math had never been my strong point ,except, I was more focused as an university student. Nevertheless, it felt as if I could not prove this, because I did not pass my exit exam.
I had advisors that offered me support through affirmation and an open-door policy to their office, it is because of their support I was persistent with my goals. I was offered two options: to register for a refresher course or register for the remedial course again and try to finding out where I went wrong. Sean, my advisor from Student Support Services, suggested the refresher course since I had done so well in the class itself. The refresher course was during winter break, even thou I registered for it and the exam again I did not have my hopes up.
I was relieved to pass the course and the exam before the spring semester began. Sean said to me afterwards, “Danielle, there are often brick walls to keep those people out who don’t really want in. Keep reminding yourself, you are not one of those people.” I left his office astonished by those simple words and I never once considered quitting ever again.
I am pursuing Higher Education Administration as my field of choice for many reasons. One of the reasons is to boost the esteem of struggling students, when they find their classes intimidating and frustrating. I want students to see that I have a vested interest in their goals. As a student, you look to advisors for their opinions and guidance regarding your career goals based on their professional expertise. I didn’t want someone to push me toward engineering, when I haven’t decided on my major and knowing how I struggled in math. Another reason is I believe in the power of education. I believe it to be a transformative experience in the lives of ones who would otherwise be deprived of such opportunities. I’ve had the pleasure of attending commencement for some of my friends in Student Support Services, who were from financially challenged backgrounds environments, non-English speaking backgrounds and the ones diagnosed with autism. I am inspired by the diligence and dedication needed to defy the odds and overcome barriers for some students.
Presently, I intern with the Educational Opportunity Program here at _______________where I help plan and facilitate a group of enrolled students who are also parents. I also intern in the ___________________as an academic coach, providing time-management and test-taking tips to first-year students who are having difficulties in their classes because of personal constraints.
I would like to obtain a masters degree in Higher Education Administration from the _________________________________ to gain theoretical and practical understanding of the administrative environment in higher education institutions so that I may apply it to my everyday work. I want to become a more effective administrator and future leader for students in academic support programs. I had great advisors and I have taken away several lifelong lessons from my undergraduate experience. My first one was that resilience is in each every one of us. Sometimes, we just need proper guidance and dedicated, understanding people to show us how to find it.