Rafael Coste '12
Bronx Community College ASAP '12
Baruch College '14, Marketing Management major
I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. I am blessed to have the best parents in the world; they have given selflessly to my brother and me so that we can be successful in life. One of the most important lessons that they taught us is the importance of a good education.
In 2009 I made an important decision. I decided to move to the United States to pursue one of my life goals, which is obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. I was not only moving to a different country with a different language and customs. I was moving to New York without my most precious treasures, my beloved family. It was a hard decision for me because we had lived together for 17 years without ever being separated from each other. This decision would change my life drastically. Although this was a hard choice for me to make, it has been well worth it and so far one of the best choices that I have made in my life. First and foremost it has forced me to become independent. I was coming to the capital of the world as an ESL (English as a second language) student. I soon realized that life was not going to be easy, and the New York that I had seen in movies was a lot different than the one I was now living in. Yes, there were the live Broadway shows, and bright neon lit marquees but there was also the real New York where everyone seemed to be focused on pursuing their own lives. New York is the place where I have matured not only as a student, but also as a person who, although confronted with my fair share of obstacles, has managed through hard work and the continuous support of my family here and in the Dominican Republic to achieve many of the goals that I had only dreamt of. My family keeps encouraging me to keep on reaching for my dreams. I have also been privileged to have the support of a second family that not only supported me financially but also provided me with the emotional assistance and motivation that I needed to help me move forward and achieve my life goals. The name of this special family is the Accelerated Study in Associate Program (ASAP) located at Bronx Community College.
I heard about the ASAP program from my cousin who was a member of one of the first ASAP cohorts at Bronx Community College. I will never forget him telling me about the positive experiences he had in the ASAP program and how grateful I was going to feel when I became a part of the ASAP family. After hearing his story and seeing how well he was he was doing academically because of the program, I decided that I was also going to join the ASAP family. ASAP changed my life in every single way and still continues to do so.
Without the support of the ASAP program at BCC it would have been very difficult for me to be where I am in my educational journey. My positive experience in the ASAP program has been one of the deciding factors in my career choice; it has helped me to develop into a competent, mature person, capable of dealing with the many challenges that I am likely to encounter in my life journey.
BCC ASAP also has provided me with what I consider the best staff at CUNY. The staff was and continues to be a source of support and encouragement to me in all that I do, and I think that this is a key component to what makes ASAP at BCC a unique program. This group has helped me adapt to a new life and has been at the forefront of my academic journey. I want to take the opportunity to give special thanks to our career and employment specialist, Ms. Kathleen (Betty) LeCadre who has been an amazing support for me. Even though I have graduated from BCC, I can still always depend on her for unconditional support.
ASAP also gave me the opportunity to do some self-exploration. I have evolved from a shy insecure individual into a self-assured focused, person with a burning desire to keep growing and succeeding. ASAP has helped me to become more open minded and aware of the needs of my fellow students. I am currently working as a peer mentor supporting and assisting first year students at BCC with transitioning to college life successfully. This has been a great opportunity for me to give back and to pass on what I learned as an ASAP student to other students. With help from the ASAP program I was able to travel to Japan during the winter session of 2012, where I took a class in Japanese Culture and International Business with a group of other CUNY students. This was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget and will always be grateful for.
After graduating from Bronx Community College I transferred to Baruch College where I am currently pursuing a B.B.A. in Marketing Management and also doing a double minor in Spanish literature and Computer Technology and Social Responsibility.
I am expecting to finish my bachelor’s degree in the summer of 2014. My goal is to go to the Stern School of Business at NYU and to pursue an MBA in Entertainment, Media and Technology.