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

I started my journey with CUNY in 2002 fresh out of high school and unmotivated. I completed a series of classes and then took an opportunity that allowed me to travel nationally and internationally. This opportunity lasted for three years and although it was life changing I found myself missing college, my business classes in particular. I found, through my traveling experience, that business is an essential major and has a place in every aspect of life. Upon this revelation, I vowed in my heart to finish school and to promote education to others. I had no idea how much determination I would need to make my dreams become a reality.

In 2007 I returned to New York with the motivation to continue my education while working for a non-profit organization. I was under the impression, when I accepted the position, that I would be able to takes classes as well as fulfill my responsibilities at work. After making a three-year commitment, I soon found out that this was not the case and my college education was pushed to the rear. I was, though, able to squeeze one class out of those three years. This road block helped me to prioritize my education as I looked to my next job opportunity.

In 2010, I accepted a job in Memphis, TN where I was able to mentor young adults as they searched for direction after high school. Naturally, I encouraged education and made myself a living example by continuing my own education. I was able to manage two classes a semester and often times I used my course work to give my students a glimpse into the college world. Many since have gone on to college or a form of higher education.

In 2013, I completed my Associate’s degree at a community college in Memphis, TN. Financial aid covered my tuition during my Associate’s degree but I knew that I would need some financial assistance to complete my Bachelor’s degree. An entrepreneurial fire had been set in my heart and I knew I wanted to fan the flame. In 2015, after I returned to New York to be closer to family, I rejoined the CUNY system to continue my education. I knew that CUNY was a trusted source and it was where my venture had begun. CUNY School of Professional Studies has been a perfect fit for me. Being about two years away from a goal I had set for myself over ten years ago was exhilarating for me. My journey, up to this point, has been paved with determination and tenacity and I set my sights on making good grades in order to finish strong.

It was earlier this year that I received a phone call about my financial aid ending after the fall semester. Being so close to completion of not only my degree but a long term goal, this call was unnerving. I decided to apply for the ACE Scholarship. This scholarship was interesting to me because it would cover the rest of my tuition and also because it required me to mentor incoming students, something I loved to do. When I was awarded the ACE Scholarship it felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I felt as if it was a divine reward for my rugged persistence. Because of this scholarship my student loans are minimal and my future is secure. Having a mentee to provide assistance to is an additional reward for me, being able to come along side someone coming along the same path and help them along the way is fulfilling beyond words. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.

Cheryl Brewington is a recipient of the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship, a scholarship program designed to support high-achieving undergraduate students Achieve College Education (ACE). She will graduate from the BS in Business program on May 31, 2017.

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