Transfer Scholar Story: Jose Rosa

 

Rosa-Grad

 

Bronx Community College '10, ASAP Transfer Scholar, Lehman College '12

My ASAP experience at Bronx Community College (BCC) was life changing. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) had expressed their concern about funding my desire to pursue a college degree. This is when I decided to do it on my own.

Chance or destiny led me to do some volunteer HIV prevention outreach work at Bronx Lebanon hospital; the director of the Bx. Be Safe Program, Mr. Daniel Bellinger, with whom I had shared my story, informed me of a new program he had heard about at BCC. He told me to look into it, and I did. I was accepted into the ASAP program at the age of 47 and as soon as I started on campus, I knew that I had made the right choice.

With the help of the ASAP staff and the Department of Disability services, I was able to excel in most of my classes. I did face challenges along the way with algebra, French and biology. Fortunately for me the ASAP staff mission is to make sure every individual student with the drive and desire to achieve their goal has the necessary support to do so.

Along with the monthly metro card, loaner laptop computer, and books for every class, I had the full support of the staff to guide me and advise me step by step through my academic journey. I dedicated myself to the program and even got elected to serve as a member of the student government senate. It took lots of hard work, and hours and hours of reading, and I even went as far as to buy audio books to supplement the textbooks that the program had loaned me. College is a commitment and an investment in your future. I had made the conscious decision that once I started, I was going to finish to the best of my ability.

Rosa-ProfileThe first semester I made dean’s list I even surprised myself. As a former high school dropout, I spent many years thinking that I had made a terrible mistake by not having received that diploma, even if later I managed to get a GED. A funny thing happened on my way towards graduation: I started believing in myself. After achieving the dean’s list recognition again and again, I understood that achievement comes when you apply yourself towards your ultimate goal. I went on to graduate in 2010 and the feeling of achievement I felt as I stood in the honor’s row during the commencement ceremony is something you need to experience on your own to fully understand. The best way I can explain it is that it is an immense and overwhelming feeling of achievement and pride that comes over you and you just realize, YES, I MADE IT.

With the help of all the ASAP staff I had achieved my goal and was headed to Lehman College as the recipient of the ASAP transfer scholarship, and I am now pursuing my last semester at Lehman and will be graduating this June, hopefully as an honors student again. Then I’ll set my sights on a masters in social work (MSW) degree after a well-deserved vacation--all thanks to the ASAP program, which I thank from the bottom of my heart.