Batala Aristide

 

aristide

 

2013 Kingsborough Community College Leadership Team Member

One of my favorite philosophers Wasalu Jaco once said “One closed chapter, it opens up another part, so this is more like the end, question mark.”  Coming back to New York in December of 2011 with no school to attend and after the loss of an auntie from the Dominican Republic, it seemed as if my story was going to have a bad ending.

Around 8:30 in the morning, I was anxiously waiting in the backseat of my father’s green Mitsubishi, the car calmly swaying its way down Oriental Boulevard.  Right then and there a new chapter of my life was beginning at Kingsborough Community College.

My mom walked with me to the Academic Village in V-100 to help me register for classes for the spring 2012 semester. It was a cold January day and I was completely out of it in terms of going to school, but I knew that if I wanted to create a better future for myself, Kingsborough would be the starting point I needed. After about 45 minutes of handing in documents such as high school transcripts and proof of residency, I then had to register for a math entrance exam on February 7, 2012, in order to know what classes I would need to take.

After that, my mom informed me about the ASAP program here at Kingsborough, and she was very insistent that I get into the program. We walked all over the school until someone finally pointed out to us where the ASAP office was located. We walked to the M building, on the second floor where we found M-211 and spoke to an advisor by the name of Ms. Marie Caty. Ms. Caty was a tall brown-skinned woman who was sporting a black boots, denim jeans, and a gray long-sleeved sweater and had her hair in a bun. Ms. Caty was of tremendous help because she explicitly explained all of the benefits of the ASAP program and the qualifications I would need to meet to be the beneficiary of these benefits—such as having fewer than 15 credits when applying to the program, being eligible for financial aid, and  being an incoming freshman.

I wrote my name down on a list at the main desk in the ASAP office for the members of the program to contact me whenever the time came for them to contact me. Four months later in May, I got a call from Jonelle Gulston, who was involved in recruiting at the ASAP program at KCC, and she informed me that I was eligible for the program and that all I needed to do was attend the Summer Institute at the school’s Performing Arts Center for four days. Those four days were filled with activities including performing on stage.  Whether it was singing, acting, or poetry, you name it and we did it. The Summer Institute created a sense of a close-knit community in which students felt comfortable around each other and established a sense of comradery even after the first day.  

Ever since joining the program, advisement has been vital to my overall growth and success. Having an advisor with you every step of the way to help you academically and also to develop a close interpersonal relationship with is important and instrumental to the success of any student.             

ASAP is the light that sparked my interest in school and has made learning a fun experience for me.  I began by quoting Wasalu Jaco:  “One closed chapter it opens up another part, so this is more like the end, question mark.”  Ever since joining ASAP, not only do I know what the next chapter looks like, but now I have a pretty good feeling about how the story ends.