It still feels like March of 2020 just wasn’t a real time. One day I’m on spring break, listening to Lil Uzi Vert’s new album “Eternal Atake;” the next, I’m finding out spring break is going to be extended for another week. The next thing I know, I can’t see any of my college friends for the next five months and my freshman year is essentially over.
It was already difficult adjusting to college, especially as a first-generation student who wasn’t 100% sure what I want to do with my degree in journalism. And just when I started getting settled into the college lifestyle, it felt like I had to start all over once my sophomore year arrived. Things weren’t getting any easier as I was struggling to find an internship because of the pandemic restrictions. It just didn’t feel like things were going my way when it came to getting by in college. But when I realized the handful of resources I truly had, it changed my outlook on things.
I always knew that I would still be a Chicago Scholar throughout my four years of college, but I never knew how helpful the program would be for me after high school graduation. Along with the mentors and cohorts provided from the first day, Chicago Scholars allowed me to learn about various opportunities and connections through the program that would allow me to succeed. Whether it would be the ELD funding grant, or their seminar events, there are many ways to help you succeed with Chicago Scholars, as that’s their overall goal.
Once I was more tapped in with Chicago Scholars, I was inspired to become even more involved at Marquette. I joined the student media organization, which eventually led me to a leadership role as the music director for Marquette Radio. I also joined a mentorship program at Marquette and was matched with an alumnus who was in a similar field. I even joined boxing, which I never thought I would enjoy, but it connected me with more students and gave me a way to relieve stress.
The pandemic took so much from my college experience, but I was able to salvage what was left of my time at Marquette. With less than two months left in my undergraduate journey, I can say that I made the right decision to stay at Marquette. The moral of my story is when you use your resources around you, it can make your life a whole lot easier. And while there were things I wish I could have changed, I am grateful for all that I learned and who I am able to bring myself around. With the help of programs like Chicago Scholars, I’ve been able to make the most of my college experience and make things easier for myself. I even met one of my closest friends at Marquette because we found out we were both Chicago Scholars. The program helped open so many doors for me within college, and I’m forever grateful for submitting that application during my junior year of high school.