“In my experience the motivation of black friends and colleagues isn’t to make white people feel guilty, to beat us up over our racial history, or to just complain about it.  What I hear is deep concern for their children and for their future, and the reasonable expectation that white people not defend themselves from the past but rather join efforts to build a better multiracial future.”  (p. 36)

That’s what Jim Wallis wrote in his book, America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America.  It’s a great read because of his compassionate, insightful, nonjudgmental, moral, theological analysis of where we are as a country.  Even though Wallis, a white man, talks about white privilege, it’s not an attack on white people, but more of an examination of a social construct of whiteness and its influence on America.  And he does not just pay lip service to multiracial America.  He goes further than the Black/White dynamic that dominates many race-related dialogues and discusses the history of Native and Asian Americans.  Wallis also provides a framework to think through issues of mass incarceration and immigration as well.

His conclusion is that when we genuinely begin to hear one another’s stories, we begin to understand one another, and then we’re able to do the work necessary to cross that “bridge” to a new America.  Every time an ugly incident happens, people start declaring that we need a conversation, a dialogue, a discussion.  The value of America’s Original Sin is that it brings some profound insights about why it’s been so hard for us to have that conversation and touches upon issues of segregation, isolation, and fragility.  Once we get over those issues we can move across that bridge.

“. . . the next bridge to cross is America’s transition from a majority white nation to a majority of racial minorities”. (p. 194)

It’s well worth the read.

Rhonda Harrison completed her studies at CUNY SPS to earn her post-graduate certificate in Adult Learning & Program Design. She is a social worker with a background in workforce development and currently works as an Advisor at a community college.

By now probably everybody has heard of the plan to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman. This was getting thrown around for a few months prior to this announcement, with many happy to finally see the President who engineered a genocide of native Americans get taken off of our currency.  A poll was put in place to determine who would be the best replacement (with a strong preference for a women or an African American).  While there’s always detractors to any argument, there was general consensus that not many people would miss Ole’ Hickory, and our money could strongly use some diversity to better represent the rich and diverse history of our nation.

So Harriet Tubman seems like a perfect fit.  A woman, an African American and a gigantic historic figure in our nation’s history.  However in the weeks and months leading up to the eventual decision there was actually a move away from Jackson and the 20 Dollar bill and an eye on the 10 dollar bill and the less known (and less controversial) Alexander Hamilton.  I assume this was meant to avoid any controversy that might be caused by ousting Jackson.

Now personally I didn’t quite know much about Hamilton, as I’m sure many people don’t know much.  I know he wasn’t president (“The Wire” reminded me of that), and if pressed I might be able to come up with the fact that he was the first Treasury Secretary, but other than that, I was lost.  So was this founding father about to get ousted from his spot on our currency simply because people weren’t abreast of his story?  Could a smash hit Broadway musical change that, and perhaps change history?  Is this real life?  It just might be…

Could a Broadway Musical Change History?

For those that have been under a rock for the past few months, “Hamilton: An American Musical” has become a transcendent success on Broadway, selling out every show and driving secondary market ticket prices to unprecedented levels.  It’s surpassed “Wicked the Musical” tickets’ prices (the next most popular show on Broadway) by a factor a 200-1000% percent!

Hamilton the Musical Official Broadway Poster

The musical has been credited with engaging the younger generation and informing them of their nation’s history in a way that is much more diverse (all the main characters are played by Black and Brown actors).  The show received praise directly from President Obama at this year’s Tony Awards.  Its soundtrack is a best seller and it will likely spawn a national tour whose shows sell out in minutes.  Its already made history on Broadway.

But its impact hasn’t stopped in the Theater District, it may have gone all the way to D.C. and our national currency.  Apparently the red hot popularity of the show has influenced a decision on how the $10 bill will be redesigned.  According to this article:

Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda said on Wednesday (Mar. 16) that he had received “multiple assurances” from Lew that admirers of Hamilton would “not be disappointed” by the new design.  Miranda met with Lew on Monday, before his visit to the White House(.)

“Lew” in this instance is Jack Lew, the current Treasury Secretary of the United States! Our Treasury Secretary basically ran it by a Lin-Manuel Miranda, assuring that fans of a broadway musical wouldn’t be disappointed with the new design of our legal tender.  I can’t be the only one amazed at that?

Conclusion(s)

What can we make of this?  I don’t want to overstate the importance or impact of a broadway musical, but I think there can be concensus over the fact that such an influence is not only remarkable but probably unprecedented.  Our national currency (while not as important as laws or policy) is an important reflection of what we respect as a country, it’s our face to the world.

This is why it has always been a terrible affront to Native Americans that we’ve had Andrew Jackson on the $20.  However our own general ignorance of Hamilton almost led us down the path of ditching him as well.  It’s arguably the case that one man, Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by a biography of Alexander Hamilton, created a sensation that may have altered that path.

As a final aside, I think this speaks to a basic fact of life, that pursuing your dreams can lead to unexpected and seemingly impossible outcomes.  I encourage every student here at SPS and throughout CUNY to keep their head down and pursue whatever area fulfills them and makes their lives happy and enriched.  You’ll never know where that path will take you, but it will invariably lead you to success.  It might even get you to the White House.

Michael is currently pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Information Systems and plans on pursuing a Master Degree in Data Analytics from CUNY SPS after graduation. He’s worked in the Internet Marketing sector for nearly 7 years and specialize in Search Engine Optimization. 

ePortfolio

The winners for the fifth annual CUNY School of Professional Studies ePortfolio Showcase have been selected and are published on the showcase site. We’re thrilled to be able to share their work within and beyond the SPS community and send a special thank you to all of them for the time and energy they put into their ePortfolios—they really are superb!

Congratulations to the winners!

  • Marggorie Brown, BA in Communication and Media
  • Angelina Davidson, MA in Disability Studies
  • Natty Duque, MA in Disability Studies
  • Paul Fuller, BA in Communication and Media
  • Kathleen Heck, BS in Nursing
  • Karolina Humby, BA in Communication and Media
  • Naji Muniz, BS in Business
  • Kerwin Pilgrim, MS in Business Management and Leadership
  • Dionna Smalls, MA in Disability Studies
  • Emily Towner, BA in Communication and Media

The winners received a $100 Barnes and Nobles gift card, a digital badge and are featured on the ePortfolio Student Showcase site.

The selections were made based on the following: design layout, organization of materials, best use of multimedia, demonstration of reflective learning, and an overall representation of academic skills, coursework and extracurricular activities.

Take a moment to view these exemplary showcase ePortfolios and see what our students are learning and accomplishing in their respective programs. Also, don’t forget to leave them positive feedback in the comments section.

To visit their ePortfolio, click on a student’s ePortfolio image.

Marggorie BrownMargorie

Angelina DavidsonAngelina

Natty DuqueNatty

Paul FullerPaul

Kathleen HeckKathleen

Karolina HumbyKarolina

Naji MunizNaji

Kerwin PilgrimKerwin

Dionna SmallsDionna

Emily TownerEmily Towner

Dear CUNY SPS Community:

It is with great sadness that I continue to read the unfolding story of this past weekend’s mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and our most sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of the victims and to the wounded.  Such violence shakes our faith, our confidence, and our trust, and mortally offends our sense of decency.  As President Obama reminds us, “regardless of race, religion, faith, or sexual orientation… we need to [look] after each other …in the face of this kind of terrible act.”  As New York City prepares for LGBTQA Pride Week (June 19-26), a week made all the more significant by this attack, CUNY SPS remains dedicated to our diverse community, and stands with Orlando.

I invite you to use the comments section below to share your thoughts and reactions on the tragedy in Orlando.  I hope we can use this moment to learn from one another, give strength to those in need, and to engage in a thoughtful conversation about an event that impacts all of our lives.

Sincerely,

John Mogulescu
Dean, CUNY School of Professional Studies

Ultimate Frisbee is a game that brings people together. As someone who played Ultimate Frisbee for four years I know how enjoyable the game is. The game of Ultimate Frisbee was founded by college students. Since then the game has continued to evolve and played on various college campuses. In Ultimate the goal is to get the disk to the opposing team’s end zone without dropping the disk. Ultimate Frisbee has seven members on the field at one time. Ultimate Frisbee continues to gain exposure around the world in various countries. Ultimate Frisbee is not in the Olympics but is in the World Games.

As a brand Ultimate Frisbee continues to gain in popularity among people of all ages. There are many different types of ways to throw the frisbee. The first is the backhand, that is the basic throw. The other throws are the flick, hammer and scooper. For the flick you use your wrist to throw the frisbee. When playing Ultimate Frisbee the goal is to catch the disk using both hands. In some cases you can catch the disk with a one handed grab. When it comes to the actual game, the game is played on a soccer field. There are seven members on at one time. Ultimate Frisbee is a team orientated sport. There are many different positions on the field. In winning a match the key is to have clear communication with your team members. In terms of how the game is officiated the players on the field are the referees. In order to win, your team must get to 15 points.

The main reason the sport is popular is because frisbee brings people together. The goal is to have a team atmosphere. Ultimate Frisbee also helps people with their eventual career. From 2011-2015 I was part of the Ultimate Frisbee team at my old school. This experience helped me get out of my comfort zone and meet new people. The Farm was the name of the team I was on. We would bond when going on trips to tournaments. We would all go to the cafeteria after practice and talk about sports or movies. As a team we made sure to be welcoming to new members regardless of skill level. The new semester was a time to meet the new team members and talk about the summer. As a member of the team, we would train the new members of the Ultimate Frisbee team. The upperclassmen would teach them how to throw, the rules and the different positions. By the end of the semester we would all be getting along. Ultimate Frisbee promotes sportsmanship, diversity and getting along with others.

Ed Maher is a person who loves learning. Ed is a first year student at CUNY SPS in the Public Administration and Public Policy advanced certificate program. He is an avid lifelong reader, and has interests in movies, pop culture, and comedy.

Matthew Conlin graduated from the Master’s in Disability Studies Program last night and was selected as the class of 2016’s Student Speaker. Below is his speech:

Thank you for granting me the honor to speak today. Writing this speech, I have looked to some of the most successful people in the world and their advice—their quotable wisdom. The internet has made this sort of research quite easy, you know, but rather than focusing, you end up watching Chewbacca Mom on YouTube. I thought maybe I would begin with a quote by a beloved icon: Audrey Hepburn, David Bowie, even J.K. Rowling. And then I realized that as loved as they are, I can safely say we’ve all heard those motivational quotes before. And, clearly, I am not an icon, I am a graduate. Just like you. So, instead I decided to speak today about us, and what we are going to accomplish from this point forward. Whether you’re receiving your Undergraduate or Graduate degree, you have a hopeful future. You have a chance to use your skills and your talents to make our world a better place. And who knows, maybe we will one day be as famous as the people we try to quote. But that is only if we listen to our hearts, and follow our goals all the way to the finish line. This is our time, our adventure, our journey.

Believing in oneself is the key to a better life, and to a better world. We all start somewhere. For that reason, I would like to share with you a bit of my background. When I completed my Undergraduate degree, the unemployment rate was up to about 9.4%. That was 2009. I eventually found work in the field of content marketing, and like most graduates in that year, I took whatever job I could find. As a millennial, I was lucky even to be employed. Fast forward a few years. While I still loved media, I was growing restless and knew I needed a change. I wanted my life to mean more than working to fill experience hours.

That’s where CUNY School of Professional Studies fit in. I sat in my first class, nervous because I hadn’t been a full-time student for a while. But everyone here was warm and welcoming. I was home. I found a field where I could give back to the community, and one that encouraged my dream of social justice. Here I found another family, as I would honesty call them, who supported me through every step with guidance, patience, and harsh, but useful criticism. And, yes, Professors, I am talking about you. I am also talking about my fellow students. Together we strive to be more. CUNY provides us that opportunity. It is our springboard, and we are the ones who seek to make a better future for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community.

Whether you were in Disability Studies—like me—or another, we are alike. You came here to achieve more. As a student, you have polished your knowledge and have learned about your field. Because of these new friendships, new mentors, and hard work, you are here today at this ceremony and ready for your next adventures.

And what do I mean by adventure? Well, let’s think about it. This graduation does not indicate that we know everything. Graduation signifies that we have progressed to the next level. It is about understanding that there is still more to learn. CUNY SPS has given us a strong foundation to hone our talents. No matter our age, we will learn from the world and give back to the world. What we do with our degrees from here on out is essential. Our careers, our choices, and our actions matter. Our adventures are really beginning now that we have the insight and groundwork we needed for the road ahead.

We were led here by our interest. Our pure intent and commitment paid off. We worked hard, and combatted exhaustion with tea and coffee, and an occasional nap or two. Professors and textbooks gave us the information we needed. Colleagues and friends gave us the encouragement we needed. All of these experiences were part of our academic adventures, including the frustration of setbacks and heart racing joy of accomplishments. It was our genuine devotion to our craft that got us this far and will keep us moving throughout our careers and lives.

Let’s use that motivation to enact change. Regardless of our professions and interests, we are all here to be the best versions of ourselves. Call me idealistic, but with our new degrees, we can use our talents to make an even brighter future for ourselves and our communities. So, let’s go shake things up! Congratulations, Class of 2016. Let our new adventures begin!

 

 

 

This post was written by Tenzin Lekshay, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship.

We all know too well how important education is. Education enlightens us, provides us with knowledge, and helps us to realize the careers that we dream of. However, education to me is more than that. To me, education is a privilege. There are millions of people, especially children, around the world who do not have the opportunity to go to school. I am a Tibetan refugee, born and raised in India, but I was fortunate enough to go to one of the best and largest Tibetan schools in India. Not every Tibetan refugee children had been as fortunate as me. Therefore, I do not take education for granted. I take the opportunity as a responsibility too. I am always grateful for any opportunity that allows me to be back in school. I make sure that I work hard and get good grades, not just for my GPA, but also to fulfill the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being in school and receiving education.

When I first came to the U.S. I wanted to go to back to school and get a degree in Nursing. I wanted to become a nurse because I believed that it is one of the very few professions that can provide not only joy and satisfaction, but also purpose and meaning to your life. Nursing, to me, is not just a job, it is also a medium through which I can fulfill my spiritual values and beliefs.

I found out that CUNY provides nursing programs in its community colleges, and I could avail financial aid to help with my tuition. I enrolled in LaGuardia Community College nursing program, and completed my Associate’s degree in Nursing in 2014, finishing with the highest GPA in my batch. After graduating from LaGuardia Community College, I got accepted into Hunter and CUNY School of Professional Studies BSN program. However, I chose SPS over Hunter college, without any hesitation, since SPS is an online school, allows for flexibility with time management, and SPS’s Nursing directors had earlier come to LaGuardia to talk about the BSN program. I thought SPS was the right school for me.

Once I started my BSN classes at SPS, I realized that I had made the right decision. The staff in the registrar’s office, the financial aid staff, my advisor, and most important of all, the nursing department professors and director were incredibly supportive and helpful. I’ve been to different colleges in India, and here in the U.S, but, the administration and staff, and professors here in SPS are way more supportive and helpful than any other college I’ve been to. The quality of education provided here is excellent.

To make my BSN program even better, I was accepted as an ACE Scholarship one year into my BSN program. The ACE Scholarship helped pay my entire tuition fee for the remaining semesters of my BSN program. Since I’ve started working, I knew that I wouldn’t be eligible for financial aid, and would have to pay the tuition fees out of my own pocket. However, the ACE Scholarship came along, and helped alleviate my financial concerns. The only thing that ACE Scholarship program asked in return was to mentor two new students (nursing) who had just joined SPS. I was a school teacher when I lived in India, and I mentored nursing students when I was in LaGuardia Community College. Furthermore, I have always been forthcoming, and volunteered to help others. Mentoring comes as second nature to me. So, it was not an uphill or a new task for me to be a mentor to new students. Mentoring also provided me with the opportunity to meet and interact with new students.

I will be graduating from CUNY SPS with BSN degree this month. I feel blessed, and very fortunate to get the opportunity to continue my education, to be a student of SPS, and to receive the ACE Scholarship when I needed help the most. I’ve had the most rewarding and fulfilling two years of my life being a student at CUNY School of Professional Studies. I am forever grateful to SPS including my professors, the staff at SPS, and Mr. Alan Fishman, who established and provided funds for the ACE Scholarship.

Tenzion Lekshay is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). He will graduate from the Nursing degree program tonight.

Each year CUNY SPS asks graduating students to apply to be the Student Speaker at Commencement. As part of their application they are asked to submit their anticipated speech. At the end of the process only one student is selected, however, numerous speeches embody the spirit of the graduating class. We are proud to share some of these speeches here.

Julie Maury is graduating from CUNY SPS on June 6 with a Master’s Degree in Disability Studies and this is her speech:

I want to wish the class of 2016 the very best in their future endeavors. I know a lot of the fellow graduates have experienced endless nights of writing papers and lots of research. But, you’ve made it and have achieved your degree! Take a deep breath and enjoy this day and every day for all they are worth. Keep going forward in the directions of your goals. Don’t just follow your heart, do what resonates deeply with you and work with intention towards your dreams. May you keep or find a job or jobs that you love. Aristotle was quoted as saying: “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” Through those words we can realize that one really can find joy in life through doing what matters to them most.

I am sure that many of you choose your path of study, your degree path, because you want to have a greater impact in this world. I grew up as a person with a disability. I was told: “You can’t…” or, “You shouldn’t…” a number of times when it came to following my goals. What I came to realize is that there were many disability advocates and community activists who I could look upon as examples of what is possible to achieve in this life. For example, my mentor, Nadina LaSpina taught me about the power of building a strong community and being an Activist and a Scholar of Disability studies. She, herself, is an Activist, Writer, and former Professor of Disability Studies. It was through Nadina that I learned the ‘door’ of life’s possibilities was open to me. My mind started to wonder about what it would be like to be a Scholar in Disability Studies. I then found out about the CUNY School of Professional Studies Disability Studies Master’s Degree Program and felt ‘at home’ upon my first visit to the building. Nadina allowed me to be aware of what is possible to achieve in life and this school did the same for me. I learned about the Disability Rights Movement with a depth I never thought possible.

I hope that you all will “Lead On!” as Justin Dart “Father of the Disability Rights Movement” famously once said. “Lead On!” in being good examples to others of what is possible to achieve in this life…in academia and beyond. Keep pushing forward and never give up. There are times when life will get difficult but, as in your academic career, things always evolve. Keep evolving throughout life…with life. Do not allow yourselves to be stagnant. Also, do not be afraid of change. You never know what ‘beauty’ can be around the ‘corner’ at any time.

Remember to take time for yourself and do not take life to seriously. Do not allow work to overwhelm you. Find a balance in your life. And, again, keep ‘moving’ forward. Albert Einstein once said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep balance, you must keep moving.” I hope that where ever your path takes you it’ll take you far and towards whatever your desires are.

Also, I want to say that if any one of you hit a crisis point in your life, please do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Know that you are cared for. There were a number of times, while at CUNY SPS, where I felt very stressed out with the workload and there were many times that, because of the stress, I considered leaving the program. I reached out to Professor Mariette Bates, who runs the program, and she would encourage me to keep going. Never underestimate the power of a kind word. Never underestimate the value of taking time out to talk to someone who really could use an ‘ear’ to talk to. That can have a huge impact for the better. Communication is so important. The words of encouragement, that I have received, throughout my time in this program, particularly, have meant so much.

My fellow students in the program have all been so inquisitive and thought provoking. You have really made me think critically and want to learn with you and from you. I never dreaded going to classes, no matter if they were online or in person. I valued, so much, sharing life stories and different points of view. Learning about other students’ lives was so interesting. Some were from other parts of the world, others from different states. All held such value in their views. Such a depth and passion for learning. I remember, a number of times, staying after classes ended, outside of the building, or late nights online, because I never wanted some conversations to end.

But, as in life, things do come to an end. This is the end of one path for many of you in this room today, but it is the start of a beautiful new path as well. In a way, school never ends, if we keep our minds open—we’ll keep learning for the rest of our lives.

In closing, I want to say that I wish you all the very best in whatever paths you all choose. Just never stop moving in the directions of your dreams, never compromise your character, and most of all keep your minds open to the beautiful opportunities that life has to offer/present to you. You all have great worth in this world. Never let anyone tell you any different. Margret Mead once, famously said: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” I believe she was right. And, I have great faith that you all can do just that. Again, as Justin Dart said: “Lead On!”

 

 

Each year CUNY SPS asks graduating students to apply to be the Student Speaker at Commencement. As part of their application they are asked to submit their anticipated speech. At the end of the process only one student is selected, however, numerous speeches embody the spirit of the graduating class. We are proud to share some of these speeches here.

Tyrone Cumberbatch is graduating from CUNY SPS on June 6 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media and this is his speech:

To the students and faculty of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, I want to share my utmost thanks to all I’ve had some form of communication with in these last several years. Finally completing this part of my education journey has filled me with great satisfaction and happiness. Just to share a little about myself. I come from very humble beginnings that have taught me many valuable lessons. I’ve had my shares of low points but I’ve also had many high points in my life, which I tend to focus on. I also posses the bonus of 42 years worth of life experiences that I can share with you all but I was only given 5 minutes tops if selected to give my speech as student commencement speaker. Nevertheless, I can add another experience to that long list of having this possible commencement speech spread amongst the graduate archives of the CUNY School of Professional Studies. I can truly say that hard work pays off in many different ways.

I truly know that dedication, perseverance and sticking to worthy commitments allows for endless and worthwhile possibilities. It is up to us all to continue to strive for greatness and achieve what we all deem to be the ‘better life’ we all want and deserve, that our families deserve and the communities that we all live in can also benefit from. We all have different paths that we must take on this journey we call life but with the right education, mentorships, work ethics and other positive factors, the success that anyone of us can obtain is bountiful.

My charge to the CUNY School of Professional Studies class of 2016 is that no matter where you are in life, no matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, and political affiliations always to strive for greatness, never let anyone deter you from where you want to go in life. Always Continue to learn, grow in education, (hopefully with other degrees from CUNY School of Professional Studies) always read and learn more every day, especially in the career you tend or are now currently working in. If you want better, you yourself must be better. I know this speech may have the energy and sound like a motivational seminar, but that’s the key, continue to do what ever is necessary to motivate yourself especially during the times when life becomes the hardest with harder lessons than you can imagine.

I personally know of hard lessons. Approximately five years ago I loss my younger brother who I was very close to. But I know that somewhere in the echoes of the universe he is very proud of me and he is proud of my continuous pursuit for a better life. Graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media is another example of me trying to achieve that better life. I implore you to continue to achieve yours.

In conclusion, yes I know “don’t let it end, keep it going,” but alas I must get ready for the AFTER PARTY. Let me share with you this quote by Napolean Hill, “Patience, persistence and perspiration makes an unbeatable combination for success.” I charge you again: have patience in all that you do, allow the time necessary to obtain your goals. Continue to be persistent to strive towards your goals and add the perspiration when it is needed, sometimes we have to sweat to meet our goals.

With all three Ps combined, success is no doubt in your grasp to do with it as you will. My fellow CUNY SPS classmates, in which SPS now stands for Superb People Succeeding, continue to do just that—SUCCEED and be great in it all!!!

Each year CUNY SPS asks graduating students to apply to be the Student Speaker at Commencement. As part of their application they are asked to submit their anticipated speech. At the end of the process only one student is selected, however, numerous speeches embody the spirit of the graduating class. We are proud to share some of these speeches here.

Kathryn Walker is graduating from CUNY SPS on June 6 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and this is her speech:

Momentous is defined as “(of a decision, event, or change) of great importance or significance, especially in its bearing on the future.” Well, this certainly is a momentous occasion, and marks an accomplishment of a great milestone in our lives. Think about your life before you decided to embark upon this achievement. For me, I had been out of school for 23 years. I had an associate’s degree, and I was proud of it. I had been working for the same company for 16 years and was proud of what I had accomplished there. But I wanted more. I wanted to keep progressing. I had thought off and on about going back to school and finishing my bachelor’s degree, but there was always an excuse not to: where to find the time, not to mention the expense. In looking for more progressed, higher management positions, I found a constant requirement: a bachelor’s degree—which I did not have. It became apparent that going back to school was something that I needed to do. Think about what motivated you to decide to finish your degree.

In researching where to attain this needed degree, I found that CUNY School of Professional Studies was the best fit for me. Compared to other schools, the tuition was competitive and, being online, the schedule would allow me the flexibility to work while going to school. Although, I do have to say that the estimation of each class taking 9 to 12 hours per week is a bit of an understatement (chuckle).

Each class in each semester brought new challenges. Aside from the academic part of learning, there was BlackBoard, Wikis, e-Portfolios, and an array of learning software systems. I even tweeted in one class. But no matter how high the hurdle, we made it to graduation because we stuck to it, we met the challenges, and we overcame them.

Wherever you go from here—whether it’s a new job or continuing with your education—you can overcome new challenges with confidence, and not be intimidated by learning new things. By graduating from CUNY SPS, you have shown that you are capable. Look how far you have come.

In Economics class we learned the term “opportunity cost.” Defined, opportunity cost is “the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.” Besides the financial cost of books and tuition, what were your opportunity costs while pursuing your degree? Perhaps spending less time with your family and loved ones, neglected housework, lack of sleep, weight gain…I’m sure we all have our own list. But we did not give up. We persevered.

However, we did not accomplish this alone. Who was there for you? In what ways did they support you? Maybe it was your advisor who took all the time you needed to guide you through unchartered territory and put your mind at ease. And I’m sure we can all think of at least one special professor that was so attentive and answered all our questions to ensure we had a clear understanding.

And what about our friends and family? Our loved ones did not sign up for school. But there was an opportunity cost for them as well. Think about the ways in which they supported us. Perhaps helping out by running errands, doing extra housework, being understanding about the time we spent with schoolwork rather than with them, or listening to us vent about a stress or frustration about a project, an assignment or an exam.

We are truly blessed and have much in which to be thankful for what we have accomplished and for those close to us that supported us along the way.

 

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