Viveca Shearin '11
Kingsborough Community College ASAP '11
New York University, entering student fall '12
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York with my mom and sisters. When I was in high school, my mom was already looking forward to me going to college. As my years of high school went by, I wondered what type of career I was going to take up. Although I maintained good grades in all of my classes, I loved English, so I thought about being a writer or a journalist. In the end, journalism is what I decided on. From the end of my junior year to my senior year, I was very eager to research colleges and universities. I applied like crazy to colleges. I was a bit nervous to go through this phase, but I was not deterred. I applied to CUNY, and put Brooklyn College as my first choice after taking a tour of its campus. I felt, “This school is it. I want to go here after graduating.”
After I graduated from high school, I waited to hear back from potential colleges. In my heart, I wanted to go to Brooklyn College. I wanted them to choose me. But I didn’t even get a letter from them. When I asked why, they told me that I didn’t have a high enough SAT score to be accepted. I was devastated. It seemed like even though I did my best, the schools I wanted to go to turned their backs on me. I was worried about where to go to continue my education, and worried about letting down my family and myself. I was in a sort of limbo because while I wasn’t moving backward, I wasn’t going forward either.
While I was at home thinking about my next move, I got a letter from one of the colleges I applied to within CUNY, Kingsborough Community College. I was happy to finally be accepted to a college I had applied to. After my excitement subsided, I thought about how I was going to pay for tuition and classes. I now had a set of new problems to worry about. A month or so down the line, I got a call from a woman at KCC. She was an employee of a program called ASAP. She asked if I wanted to come up to the college and see if I was eligible to be in their program. I agreed to visit the college and see what this program was about.
I met with a woman named Carey Manifold. She explained to me that ASAP stands for Accelerated Study in Associate Programs. The mission of the program is to ensure that students graduate and get their degrees quickly. To do that, they make sure that their students have everything they need. ASAP pays for tuition, books, and transportation, and they split all of the students into small groups. These groups stay together through the entire program and also have the same advisor. When I was in ASAP, my advisor was a woman named Martha Greasley. Martha was a great advisor for me. She gave me everything I needed to succeed at KCC: she kept me up to date in my classes, she was there when I needed to talk to her, and she gave me helpful advice.
Having tuition, books and transportation expenses covered by ASAP was a total blessing for me. I was so happy that ASAP paid for them and appreciated their dedication to seeing us succeed. Aside from that, there were aspects of the program I enjoyed, including the parties that were given to celebrate our academic and social excellence, which allowed me to relax and not think about my classes for a little while. I also enjoyed being a part of the ASAP Leadership Program because it allowed me to meet students from the other ASAP campuses and realize my potential as a leader and team member. I’ll admit that when I attended my first day of college, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know how to act or what to do. Knowing that ASAP was there for me made it a little less nerve-wracking. I was able to keep my grades up throughout my time at KCC.
Since I graduated from ASAP, I have been awarded a scholarship to a school I thought it was impossible for me to attend—NYU. In the fall of this year, I will begin attending NYU to study for my bachelor’s degree. Until then, I have some time to rest and prepare for school in September.
When ASAP came into my life, they revived my hopes of going to college and building a career. They allowed me to take a good look at myself, to discover who I am and what I want to be in life. ASAP made me realize that I should make a career of something I love to do. So after I finish school, I plan on becoming an editor. If it wasn’t for ASAP and the people that make it what it is, I wouldn’t have the achievements, experience, and confidence I have right now. I would not be here typing this out if not for ASAP. And I have to give a personal shout out to my advisor, Martha Greasley and my career specialist, Heidi Yu. Both of these women have gone above and beyond when helping me and my fellow ASAP peers. I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful. Because of ASAP, I know I am a better person. I hope that, later on down the line, I can give to others what ASAP has given to me.