“Tales of Excellence, Achievement and Mentorship” or “TEAM” is a weekly series partnered with StudentMentor.org where we feature college students and young Americans from diverse backgrounds across the country who are using mentorships to move their career and educational goals forward. You will hear in their own words how mentors have helped them succeed and transform into the leaders of tomorrow.
Through StudentMentor.org, college students can conveniently find and collaborate with mentors to successfully graduate from college and embark on their desired careers.
After a series of devastating hardships and setbacks, Ajane used StudentMentor as the tool to pull her out of the chaos and put her onto the path to success. Today, Ajane is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Valencia College and plans to transfer to the University of Central Florida to complete a Bachelors program in English and Creative Writing.
My name is Ajané and I am currently pursuing an Associates’ in Arts at Valencia College, planning to transfer to University of Central Florida to complete a Bachelor’s in English-Creative Writing. It has been a long road, full of challenges. Though it’s barely just begun, I have had to face many of life’s challenges that have in turn jeopardized my grades and financial aid. I, like many, am the first in my family to go to college, which means more than I realized. It means that I didn’t quite know what to expect, beyond what you see on TV or hear from your friends, and I didn’t really know how things worked. Every thing I did learn, I had to learn the hard way.
After graduating high school in 2007, I married and had a child, putting off my career aspirations. In 2010, I was ready to begin school and enrolled in classes. Even with the majority of my classes online, stress and circumstances hurt my grades and put me on probation. Later that fall semester, our only car was essentially stolen by the very mechanics we brought it to, causing me to withdraw from my classes due to the ensuing stress of the legal battle and lack of transportation. By the end of the semester, my financial aid was suspended. I appealed the decision and went back to school in the spring, finally making good enough grades to keep my financial aid. During this time, I also began freelance writing to try and make money to send my daughter to daycare, which I succeeded in. Confident from my spring successes, I went back for Summer semester only to become chronically ill at that time. Disappointed and disheartened, I realized I could not manage school fulltime even online, and do my freelance writing to keep her in daycare while I was sick. I decided to withdraw from classes, not knowing this would also cause my financial aid to become suspended again.
Around the same time, I was laid off from my job. These two blows coming so close together nearly crushed me and I felt very lost for awhile. However, through my college, I learned about StudentMentor.org and have begun working with Monica, my mentor. With her help and encouragement, I have quickly regained confidence in myself and in my choices.
I primarily sought direction from Monica. I told her I didn’t want to burden my family anymore and wondered if I should give up on my goal of becoming a professional writer-particularly, my dream of becoming a Video Game Writer, which at times seemed so impossible to reach. I told her I had many interests and I wanted to use them while I studied for my B.A. degree in English, so I could get paid decently doing something I enjoy, so I could help support my family. Monica helped me figure out what was important to me and helped solidify my short-term goals, without discouraging me from my long term ones. I am now in the process of seeking education to become a Certified Medical Coder, and I am determined to make my way into the field no matter what the universe decides to throw at me. I hope to maintain a long-term mentorship with Monica so that she can help me keep focused on my passion and dream career- writing for video games.
I would definitely recommend StudentMentor.org to anyone and everyone even if they already have someone to mentor them in their lives. No matter who you are or what you want to do, we can all use a little guidance and encouragment from time to time.
Check out previous TEAM blog posts:
Ronnie Cho is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.