Erika Herrera

 

herrera

 

2013 Queensborough Community College Leadership Program Team Member


When you tell people that you are starting at a community college, most of them will give you a look of pity; that look is them assuming that you weren’t good enough to start at a senior college.

I used to think back in high school that the place you began your education was really important. Now I understand that it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is where that place will lead you to go next.

When I was in high school, I was a good student. I was part of the school’s top 30 students in academic achievement.  All of my teachers used to tell me that I would eventually become a successful person. I even got accepted to all the 4-year colleges that I applied to.

Somehow one day I began to feel that I was going nowhere.  At that time I had a lot of personal issues. I lost all the confidence that I had. I felt really confused and alone.  I felt that I wasn’t ready for college. I even thought about delaying when I started college. However one day I got an email about ASAP at QCC. I read “free MetroCards and textbooks,” and thought, “Why not?” So I signed up for an info session. Without really thinking about all that I was committing to do, I became an ASAP student.

I thought then that maybe it wasn’t such a terrible idea to start at a community college. But still I felt some type of shame saying that I was a QCC student.

At first ASAP program wasn’t really pleasant for me, especially because I do really enjoy being by myself most of the time. ASAP makes you to go out of your comfort zone, which makes you aware of your true personality. This is a true benefit.

Everything began to change through the semester. I made some good friends in ASAP. Almost at the end of fall 2011 semester, my first semester at college, I got some of the worst news I have ever received. My dad had an accident and he was at the hospital. I suddenly got a bad feeling about it, but I tried to have positive thoughts. After a while my family told me that my dad wasn’t responding to the medical treatment. I had to make a decision really quickly, so I decided to quit college and go to Mexico to be with my dad. This was one of the hardest decisions that I had ever made. My education has always been a priority in my life. I spoke to my advisor about it and she told me the consequences of my decision. It was a lot of pressure for me, also it was during finals week. Then some of my ASAP fellow classmates realized that something had happened to me. They talked to me; they gave me strength to keep going. Because of that, I decided to stay until semester was over.

My dad eventually died while I was taking my English final. I couldn’t say goodbye to him nor attend his funeral. But I know that this was the best decision that I could have made. I think this is the way it was supposed to be and this is what my father would have liked me to do.

Thanks to ASAP’s support I’m still on the path to achieve my goals. I will never regret my delay to a senior college. And now I can finally say that I am a proud QCC student and leader for ASAP 2013.