On July 8th Nicole eagerly made her way to Mount Saint Vincent, a trip she would make every day for the following four weeks to complete her Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) summer program, which CCC helped connect her with. Her summer weeks were filled with papers, tutoring sessions, one-on-one meetings with her advisor and many long nights.
During her HEOP program, she took a math and writing class both tailored to better prepare her for college level courses. Her professors were tough but supportive. “Although difficult, taking those classes made me feel more prepared and less anxious about college. I now know what college classes are like and my professors made me feel supported.” She particularly loved the challenge her writing class provided her with. “We were often given writing examples and asked to edit and revise them to bring them up to ‘college standard’. At first I found it challenging but after a while I started to do the same with my own work.”
Nicole also attended various workshops to help her better navigate college life. “There was one workshop called ‘Studying Skills’ which I really enjoyed because it provided us with better methods to study. It also touched on how to overcome procrastination – every college students’ biggest enemy.”
Using the characteristics instilled in her at CCC, Nicole quickly learned to advocate for herself during the program. She scheduled meetings with her advisor and expressed all her questions and concerns, understanding that in order for her to be successful she needed to not be afraid to say when something was not clear to her. “I asked my advisor questions about financial aid, my classes and even MetroCards for my hour and a half commute to and from college.” During her tutoring sessions, Nicole came prepared with a list of questions she’d jot down in a notebook the night before, “I wanted to make sure to get all my questions answered. I wanted to take advantage of the help.”
College is a difficult journey, but when you have the support of your community you can overcome any challenge, “I’m happy I have HEOP, but I also know that I have GSP 2.0 there for me too. I know I will need the emotional and mental support of GSP. I know I’ll need their guidance. HEOP is helpful but GSP knows me – nothing is like GSP!”
We are excited to continue to walk with her Nicole through her college years and we are confident that she will be successful in anything she sets her mind to.