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This post was written by Misty Gardner, a recipient of the CUNY School of Professional Studies ACE Scholarship, and representative on the Student Association.

Achieving Goals, One Cliché at a Time
This week, I will graduate from the City University of New York, School of Professional Studies with a B.A. in Psychology. Exactly twenty years ago, in the spring of 1997, I graduated from high school. Twenty years, an Associate’s degree, five colleges, and four degree program changes later I will finally achieve my goal of having completed my Bachelor’s degree. As is the case with so many of my fellow students at CUNY SPS, my journey has been a long one and I have learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Baby steps
When you want something, you have to set goals. Once you have identified a goal, put it in place and commit to achieving it. Set it, and forget it. Often, looking at the big picture leaves you feeling overwhelmed and this can discourage you from even taking the first step. No one gets from point A to point B in one step. Set your goal and then set about achieving it, one step at a time. For me, this began with filling out the application for CUNY SPS. I didn’t know if I had the time, I didn’t know if I had the energy, and I didn’t know how I would afford it. It took a bit of a leap of faith; I’d just have to figure it out when I crossed those bridges. And that’s what I did. I took it one semester at a time, one week at a time. I didn’t qualify for financial aid so I worked to get the best grades I could manage, one assignment at a time, so that I might be eligible for scholarships. Little by little, I did the best I could, focusing on each task at hand. I stopped letting the big picture overwhelm me and I got it done… one step at a time. It doesn’t matter how far you are from your goal right now, moving forward is always better than standing still.

The comfort zone
I can accredit the length of my journey, in large part, to fear. A career in the field that I am most interested requires an advanced degree. The idea of pursuing such a degree seemed just a bit too ambitious and I really wasn’t sure if I could even do it. Well, growth is often uncomfortable. Positive changes are hard to come by without doing something different and “different” is often scary. You must step out of that comfort zone. When your mind says, “I can’t do it,” do it anyway. This negative self-talk is deceitful and it will hold you back. At first, you will just have to ignore it and this will be uncomfortable. Once you begin to surprise yourself with what you are actually capable of (and you will), you will begin to challenge these thoughts. After a while you realize that “I can’t do it” has been replaced with “I’ve got this”. When you’ve given yourself this gift of confidence, obstacles are much easier to overcome.

It takes a village
Of course, getting to this point would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, if it weren’t for the support of others. My family has supported me in every way. They have been my inspiration to keep going, especially during the times that I wasn’t sure if I could. The faculty, staff, and my fellow students at CUNY SPS (some of whom I now call friends) have been instrumental in my success here by offering support, reassurance, or even an occasional needed laugh. In addition to allowing me to focus on my studies, no longer having to worry about tuition, having been chosen as a recipient of the ACE Scholarship has provided so many positive experiences, inspiring me to be my best possible self. This opportunity would not exist without the generosity of benefactor, Alan Fishman. We all have people that help drive us, supporting our efforts to grow. These are the people that push us to keep going when we are at our weakest and inspire us to pay it forward. Take the time to appreciate these people as they are a part of your journey; a part of who you are and who you will become.

The light at the end of the tunnel
As I close this chapter and move on to my next goal of obtaining my Master’s degree, I look back on this experience in awe. It certainly wasn’t easy but I worked hard and committed to finally achieving this goal, regardless of the obstacles that stood in my way. Not only did I get it done, I did so with straight A’s and I earned a full-tuition scholarship; all while being a full-time working wife and mother of three young children. I move forward with so much more than a Bachelor’s degree. Because of my experiences at CUNY SPS, I have grown to be a better version of myself. There was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever get here, but here I am… and if I can do it, anyone can.

Misty Gardner 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 Psychology degree program on May 31, 2017.

In July, I will face one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever experienced. And as a kid who grew up in San Francisco’s tough Mission and Fillmore neighborhoods, I know trial and tribulation. However, this challenge is different. This time I am leaving everything comfortable and moving more than 3,000 miles away across country to New York City.

Cross-country moves are demanding. They are expensive. Resettling in a new area requires a myriad of adjustments, many which are impossible to anticipate. However, one particular test may prove most difficult: the hunt for a good taco.

Of the six or so traditional foody cities in America (Chicago, L.A., Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco), New York consistently ranks near the top. With its foods representing nearly every region of the world, NY cuisine is as varied as its population. However, even with a rapidly growing Mexican population, NYC’s taco reputation yet lacks.

If the old adage “you are what you eat” rings true, I may be 50% taco, give or take a tortilla or two. Tacos and burritos are quintessential San Francisco foods—so much so that San Francisco, and in particular the Mission district, is known worldwide in food circles for its burritos. (Editor note: I have little hope of finding an adequate burrito anywhere but home, so to avoid undue despair, I am focusing my hunt solely on tacos.) So the prospect of moving to a city with a suspect taco game frightens me.

You want to know how daunting a lack of good tacos is? So much so that I’m writing a blog about it. The great tacothon, NYC edition. Feel free to leave me comments below, especially with suggestions where I may find the best New York City tacos.

tacos

Josh is a psychology undergrad with dreams of an EDL in education. A former graffiti artist, music magazine editor, and DJ, Josh considers himself somewhat of a hip-hop historian. He is interested in community issues, music, the arts, sports, and current events. 

Growing up, I gravitated toward the board games that had concrete rules. The vast ocean of choices that presented itself in games of Battleship and the plethora of courses a game of Clue could take were sources of distress. Give me the predictability and stable landscape of Monopoly any day. Every time you pass Go, you get $200. Land on a property and decide to buy it or move forward. Even the game of Life was scripted. Land on a place and reap whatever reward or whatever consequence that the space dictated. With both games, you had some choices like whether to purchase a property in Monopoly or getting insurance in Life. But those choices were limited.

If only real life was as simple. I have found myself overwhelmed by choices. Not just with clothes at the store or beverages at a restaurant. Just with simple life choices. Or maybe they are not so simple. And that is where the daunting feelings settle in. What should my career should be? What metropolitan area is best for me? Do I need a side hustle? And if so, how many is enough?

As Barry Schwartz points out in his TED Talk “The Paradox of Choice,” a lot of that paralysis is that we are now more aware of our choices and question the quality of our choices. We realize that there is a “best” fit out there and constantly question if the choice in front of us is best for us. Instead of acting and making a choice, we delay until we are sure or sometimes do not even act at all. It’s an interesting conundrum in the 21st century. It’s nice to have so many choices but maybe we have too many.

You can check out the video here:


Adam Carnegie is a misguided fan of Arsenal and the Mets and much like them is looking to capitalize on years of potential and almost moments to reach the heights of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He is a student in the B.A. in Psychology program at CUNY SPS and has the goal of working in advocacy for families with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder in communities of color. His hobbies include remembering to breathe, running, reading, consuming as much culture as possible, and over-analyzation of a variety of topics including the sociological constructs of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. 

 

Life can knock you off your feet! I take care of everything and everyone…this is what I do and a large part of who I am! One day while at work I had this intense squeezing in my chest, everything started to spin, I was nauseous and dizzy. I thought I was having a heart attack. After being checked out in the ER, thankfully my ticker is in fine condition but what I experienced was a panic attack.

Last semester was very difficult: working 50+ hours a week, dealing with the news of my brother being diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, caring for him during treatment, all while working towards finishing my degree, and the pressure was taking its toll. This panic attack was an eye opening experience.

I was not taking care of myself at all and it was evident. It was time to make some healthy changes. The hardest one was acknowledging that it wasn’t selfish to take time for self-care. I worked on trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, took some walks (even short 15 minute ones helped) and—this is a big one—turning off all electronics (YES, no Facebook!!!) at least an hour before going to sleep. However, the most important form of self-care for me has been the practice of active listening and affirmation towards myself.

Active listening is when we listen to someone, acknowledge their feelings and restate it so they feel understood and validated. It might sound, and feel, weird doing this, but give it a try. I would say things to myself like, “working so many hours and caring for Anthony (my brother) is really exhausting,” or “it’s ok to be scared and sad to see Anthony so sick.”

So many people suffer with anxiety, many in silence. I was ashamed to admit that at one point, but not anymore. This makes me human. If you find yourself in a similar situation, practice some self-care. Be kind and love yourself. Allow the truth of your emotions to have a safe space with no judgment. Give yourself time to feel, grow, and heal on this journey of life.

Life can knock us off our feet, but it’s okay because sometimes we need to lay down and rest.

Be kind to YOU today!

Dianne Galasso is a Brooklyn native since birth! In 1991, she received her AAS in Journalism from Kingsborough Community College. She studied at St. John’s University from 1993-1999. Dianne has had photographic and written work published, as well as has edited for other published authors. Since 1991, Dianne has worked at a medical center in Brooklyn in various job functions, currently as a Manager in the Nursing Education Department. She has coached girls’ softball, volunteered in the women’s and children’s ministry in her local church and is an active resource in the lives of children. After a 15 year hiatus from school, Dianne is currently a student at CUNY SPS where she is pursuing her BA in Psychology.

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

Let’s face it. You’ve probably been told you were crazy for doing something at least once in your life. Maybe on more than one occasion.

My wake-up call came in a job I have been at for 5 years in the mental health field. I was coming home, more often than not, in tears or increasingly bad moods that, sad to say, my family was feeling. Finally someone sat me down and asked me why. Why I was putting up with the treatment I was receiving from the owners of the company—why didn’t I go somewhere else? (Yeah, that was the crazy part.)

And honestly, I didn’t have an answer. Why was I subjecting myself to the treatment—the harassment, the name calling, the derogatory remarks, the blame game—and all from the owners of the company that I had given my blood, sweat and tears to for the past 5 years? (Yes, literally, blood and sweat, and more often than not tears.)

It started with school. CUNY SPS gave me the motivation to push for something more. So I started on my Bachelor’s journey and in the meantime, I started a second job—working at both places and staying a full time student. Let’s be honest, I didn’t want to jump ship and find myself drowning in another position like I was currently in.

This arrangement, however, came with some serious work to be done. I’ve picked up a few tricks to balancing two full time work schedules and full time class loads, and maintaining some semblance of sanity: (And this is where I was called crazy, for the second time.)

  1. Get yourself a planner. Believe me, this has saved me so many times. What works best for me is a weekly/monthly planner. I can track dates on the monthly view (such as starting and end dates for each week, because honestly, why would any of your classes ever consider using the same time schedule?). The weekly view lets me write out my assignment information
  2. Color coding can be your best friend. Each class gets its own binder and notebook in matching colors. I use the same color pen in the planner to keep everything in line. This way, I can glance at anything and know which class it is for. Also, it has drastically cut down on grabbing the wrong binder for a particular class. So not cool.
  3. Plan your time. Keep track of everything—your due dates as well as other commitments. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to write that essay because you forgot that it’s your sister’s-best-friend’s-cousin-twice-removed’s birthday party and you were away all weekend.
  4. And probably most importantly, schedule time for YOU. You’re no use to anyone if you’re holed up in your room for weeks on end with people are scared to come to your door (for fear of having something thrown at them because you’re trying to focus on your paper). Not that I have any personal experience with this one. At all.
  5. Enjoy the process. School, albeit with CUNY SPS online being completely different from traditional classrooms, is a process. You’ll meet people who are going through the same things you are, and working through the same material. Breathe. And known that your fellow students are probably pulling their hair out as much as you are.

Also, you should really get one of those countdown calendars. Ripping a day off those things is strangely therapeutic when your eye deep in textbook readings and calculations. Seriously. Try it.

Nicole Wallace 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 Psychology degree program in June 2016.

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

In her recent blog post, fellow ACE Scholar Christine Hansen wrote of the persistent dissatisfaction with her law career that prompted her into a search that eventually brought her to CUNY SPS. I empathize entirely with her feelings of professional emptiness, as I have also been dissatisfied with my two decades-long career (spanning 13 companies) in finance, and came upon CUNY SPS in a similar fashion.

I remained in finance for so long merely because it paid well, I could always find a job in the field, and perhaps most importantly, I had not discovered that about which I was truly passionate. After much reflection, I now recognize performing work of great intrinsic value as the key to profound satisfaction, and there is neither salary sufficiently large nor a perk so compelling as to compensate for feeling unengaged with one’s work. Moreover, I now understand that I changed jobs frequently because the work itself—not the bosses, commute, benefits, or whichever reason I would cite to justify leaving—was unpalatable.

In my view, no work is as valuable as that which places one in the service of others. I deeply believe that those who hold talent and advantage ought to work those talents and advantages to societal benefit. By their ardent support of the ACE Scholarship program, it is clear that the administration of CUNY SPS believes in this incumbency. It is also clear that the benefactor of the ACE Scholarship, Mr. Alan Fishman, likewise believes in this incumbency, as evidenced by his generous financial support of the program.

While working in finance, I utilized my work ethic, articulation, organizational skills, persuasiveness, intelligence, communication skills, team-building ability, and skill in motivating others for the narrow benefit of corporate interests; it is difficult to describe the excitement I feel now that I am on the cusp of pressing my talents into the service of the many in the hopes of making lives substantively better through a career in social work. I will be attending New York University’s Silver School of Social work, pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree.

I was most strongly attracted to the ACE Scholarship because it keeps one close to the CUNY SPS community via a tether of obligation. ACE Scholars act as mentors to two incoming students, are required to produce a blog post (the one you are reading), participate in School events, and make known our experiences with the ACE program. ACE Scholars, who enjoy the advantages of being diligent, persistent, self-starting, and goal-oriented, give back to the CUNY SPS community by leveraging those talents in the service of their mentees and the school.

It would not have been possible for me to complete the undergraduate degree with which I flirted for twenty-something years if it were not for CUNY SPS. The programs are innovative, the online learning environment is intuitive and flexible, and the professors with whom I have studied were all eager, interested and responsive; all of these coalesce into a unique learning experience that benefits additionally from CUNY’s affordability. It is without reservation that I say that CUNY SPS is one of the brightest gems of the CUNY system.

Anthony Mongelli 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 Psychology program at the end of this semester.

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

I am the proverbial square peg, trying to fit into the round hole of the legal profession. That was my grand realization after nearly seven years of practicing law. Everyone has heard about lawyer jokes, the “blood thirsty shark” persona, the “they-must-be-lying-because-their-lips-are-moving” lawyers, and miserable court personnel who put your papers to the bottom of the pile never to be seen again. Well, to quote Han Solo in the new Star Wars, “It’s true. All of it.”

So the next question of course was—now what? It was not a matter of just changing firms or fields of law; it was much deeper than that. Knowing that this was not a profession I could see myself suffering through I sought out a means of escape. There was no question that I would need to go back to school to change careers but I also needed the ability to do so without tipping off my firm that their “future plans” would eventually not include me. Enter the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the degree program that has been nothing short of life-changing.

Apparently I am not the typical CUNY SPS student, as most come to CUNY SPS to finish long-awaiting degrees after a “life break” in their education. My attraction was a completely online psychology degree that wouldn’t break the bank. Admittedly I was skeptical at first. Can I handle online courses? Would the experience be comparable to a brick and mortar school like my original bachelor’s degree? The online format quickly became second nature. The experience, well now that is something else. I am a firm believer that the quality of your education is two-fold: 50% what you put into it and 50% what the institution brings to the table. My part was accounted for as I was more than willing to put in the hard work for a new degree, a/k/a my “escape plan.”

However, CUNY SPS has not just met its 50%, but has by far exceeded every expectation I could have had. The courses are well planned and executed in the online format, the professors accessible and genuinely helpful, and the staff on every level, all the way up to the Dean himself, has been nothing short of amazing. I can vividly remember the time I first saw the deans of my first undergrad and law school, because it was only at graduation that the wizards stepped out from behind the curtain and proved that they really existed. CUNY SPS has been the complete opposite, with a support system I have not encountered anywhere else.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to make this life-changing quantum leap, confident in the belief that CUNY SPS will not let me fall. Now I stand on the verge of graduating from an institution I am proud to be associated with. It has been said that sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. I know that choosing SPS as my “smallest step” was undoubtedly the right decision.

Christine Hansen 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 Psychology program at the end of this semester.

It’s October and two big things are happening: The NY Mets are in the World Series for the first time in 15 years and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. BOTH are super exciting!

I know this might seem like a “female” topic, but men should get checked out too so keep reading!

Getting a mammography can be a scary thought, so I wanted to share my experience to help.

I made an appointment at Maimonides Breast Center in Brooklyn; after arriving and filling out the necessary paper work, I was escorted to a room called…..”The Dressing Room.” More appropriately—it should have been called “The Undressing Room.” I was told to get undressed from the waist up which was very good news because if they asked me to get undressed from the waist down for a mammography, I would have questioned their medical practice!

I was given a lovely (not really) white robe and once undressed (from the waist up), I was told to have a seat in the waiting area with the other ladies wearing the same lovely (not really) white robe, also half naked. I’m not going to lie—sitting there thinking about my boobs having their photo taken was a bit nerve-racking.

Once called in, a lovely technician asks……”any CHANCE of you being pregnant?”

“NO,” I reply.

“Are you sure?”

“I would know.” Just saying!

She now says, “Let me see your breasts honey.”

I think to myself….okay….please don’t call honey while you’re eyeballing my woman-hood! She now takes these two little stickers with metal beads and sticks them to my nipples! Apparently this is to let the person reviewing my film know that these are my nipples and nothing more. Great….because I want someone who can’t tell where my nipples are reading my film.

So, as I now stand topless with pretty little silver beaded stickers on my nipples I’m asked to place my breast on this cold plate. As I place my pretty little silver tipped boob down, there was obviously some confusion—she mistook my girls for pizza dough!! She handled them as if she worked at Mama Leone’s. Finally, after much kneading, they were ready for their selfie! Slowly the machine comes down……a little more……….a little more…….technician says, “Hold your breath,”….then ……PANCAKE and release!! YEP, it’s that quick!!

This was my fun experience on mammography day! All kidding aside, cancer is a serious and scary diagnosis and I know fear keeps us from getting this test done, but early detection really is so important. I make light of it, not to minimize breast cancer or those who are and have battled. My hope is to inspire others to get checked through some light and laughter.

If you want more information on where to get a mammography or just need information, you can call the Maimonides Medical Center Breast Center at 718-765-2550 or visit their website.

SO, make October count….schedule an appointment for your mammography and make your boobs winners too!! Go METS!!!

Until next time……

Dianne

Dianne Galasso is a Brooklyn native since birth! In 1991, she received her AAS in Journalism from Kingsborough Community College. She studied at St. John’s University from 1993-1999. Dianne has had photographic and written work published, as well as has edited for other published authors. Since 1991, Dianne has worked at a medical center in Brooklyn in various job functions, currently as a Manager in the Nursing Education Department. She has coached girls’ softball, volunteered in the women’s and children’s ministry in her local church and is an active resource in the lives of children. After a 15 year hiatus from school, Dianne is currently a student at CUNY SPS where she is pursuing her BA in Psychology.

There have been so many times when I’ve felt like life was impossible. Whether it was work, home or tough circumstances, facing a wall of doubt and fear isn’t easy. Maybe you’ve also felt this way at some point, but I’m here to share that I’ve learned “impossible” all depends on how you look at it.

In May of 1999 I was finishing up the spring semester at a private university and was 47 credits away from my BA in Health Care Administration—I was on my way to accomplishing a dream—getting my bachelor’s degree! Everything came to a sudden halt that June with the unexpected death of my father. It was a really difficult time for my family and I, and I knew school had to be put on the back burner while I helped my mother and family get through this…and I myself needed to figure out this new life without my dad. Years went by and things moved forward as best they could, but I left the dream of finishing my degree on the funeral home steps that year.

I thought about going back to school for years, but the older I got the smaller that thought became; it just seemed impossible. One day a friend challenged me to find a school, fill out an application and apply. I usually can’t resist a good challenge so I thought to myself, “fine, I’ll just apply.” I hadn’t been in school for FIFTEEN years so going back was impossible in my mind!

Guess what? I was accepted into CUNY School for Professional Studies and fifteen (15) years later, I find myself working towards my BA in Psychology! Psychology of all majors!! Impossible! Truthfully, I was scared to death of what it would be like to juggle a full time job, a hectic home life and school. Perhaps psychology was a perfect choice since I wondered what I was thinking!!

The thought of going back to school seemed impossible, learning how to study again seemed impossible, the hard work seemed impossible, but then I realized it’s just about how I was looking at that word. Impossible. The word impossible itself has motivation built in it—impossible for me became I’M possible!! When I felt overwhelmed and questioned my decision to return, I say to myself DIANNE, I’M POSSIBLE and I’m reminded I can do this and I’m doing it!!!! I’ve now completed 4 semesters and I couldn’t be happier! It’s hard work, but it’s also given me back the ability to dream about the day I get my degree. Impossible is a word of the past!

So, if you’ve let go of a dream like I had, or are just facing a really tough time in your life right now and the circumstances seem impossible, I encourage you to take a breath, say a prayer and remember nothing is impossible—if I’M POSSIBLE then so are you!!!

Till next time……

Dianne

Dianne Galasso is a Brooklyn native since birth! In 1991, she received her AAS in Journalism from Kingsborough Community College. She studied at St. John’s University from 1993-1999. Dianne has had photographic and written work published, as well as has edited for other published authors. Since 1991, Dianne has worked at a medical center in Brooklyn in various job functions, currently as a Manager in the Nursing Education Department. She has coached girls’ softball, volunteered in the women’s and children’s ministry in her local church and is an active resource in the lives of children.  After a 15 year hiatus from school, Dianne is currently a student at CUNY SPS where she is pursuing her BA in Psychology.

Marcy Lewis graduated from the CUNY School of Professional Studies with a B.A. in Psychology just last week. She shares advice for new students, and talks about how she overcame many obstacles on the way to completing her degree.

Marcy Lewis is a recent graduate from the Psychology program.

1. What was your motivation/inspiration for completing your bachelor’s degree? Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

I have had so many things that have motivated me to complete my bachelor’s degree. Coming from a broken family of low socio-economic status and having my first child when I was very young created a desire for me to show my children that stereotypes do not define who you are or what you can accomplish. I wanted to do better for myself as well as my children and to inspire them that even in hard times you can still achieve your dreams.

I chose CUNY SPS because it offered me the complete package of what I was searching for in a University: flexibility, accreditation, affordability, positive reputation for online programs and a strong background in the academic success rates.

2. What is it like to earn a degree fully online?

Earning a degree online has been a mixture of ease and difficulty. I find that I learn better using this method of instruction yet when speaking with those who attend “traditional” classes it seems there is often a greater work load in online classes. I have found that it is crucial to be somewhat ahead of the game; slacking is just not an option as it will pull you behind faster than you could imagine. It really takes commitment, self-discipline, and structure to stay on top of all of your assignments. Being late can really affect not only your work but the work of the entire class. However, despite these difficulties I would not have taken any other route in getting my degree as it truly was the best fit for me.

3. What is the greatest piece of advice you received while at CUNY SPS?

Many of the professors I had here at CUNY SPS offered a similar piece of advice that I found to be quite crucial throughout my college path; taking care of yourself is vital to not just the body but the mind as well. Being someone with a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis, this can be quite difficult but I was able to incorporate much of the knowledge and skills I gained through my studies in increasing my overall wellness. By doing so I was able to significantly decrease the stress of being ill, taking care of a family, and taking a full course load each semester. To me, this was crucial in completing my degree.

4. What advice would you like to extend to someone considering entering the Psychology program at CUNY SPS?

The greatest piece of advice I could offer someone considering entering the Psychology program at CUNY SPS would be to interact as much as possible with your professors and classmates as this is how you will get the most out of your academic journey. Asking questions for clarification or direction as well as checking in regularly and participating in the class or group discussions are all vital in achieving greater learning in the online Psychology program. One of the main focuses I found in my online classes was concept of learning not just from the professors but from fellow classmates as well; we learn from each other and we succeed with each other.

5. In which ways have you grown as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

As a result of my studies at CUNY SPS I have grown intellectually through the new knowledge I acquired from professors and classmates. I have grown more confident in my abilities and with myself, not just in a professional manner but in personal matters as well. Most of all, I have learned that living with a disease that I cannot control does not mean I have to succumb to its disruption. It is empowering to know that you can take control over something so destructive and that is something that I do not know if I would have learned had I not continued pursing my education here at CUNY SPS.

6. What does earning a bachelor’s degree mean to you?

To many people earning a bachelor’s degree means a higher salary and greater prestige. Those, after all, were some of the reasons that enticed me to start undergraduate school. However, during my second semester I became ill and everything changed. I could have just quite when my doctor said I was unable to work. Why continue if I will never be able to use a degree? The answer is this; a bachelor’s degree meant so much more to me. It meant showing my children that no matter what life deals you to never give up. It meant keeping faith that maybe I can beat the illness and not let the illness beat me; maybe someday I CAN put it to use. It meant showing those nay-sayers that people can overcome adversity no matter how big or small and to never underestimate the underdog. It meant proving to myself that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.

7. What kind of impact do you think your degree will have on your professional and personal lives?

Having my bachelor’s degree will most definitely have beneficial impacts on my professional and personal life… if I am able to return to work. Before school I was a waitress, working long hours/weekends/holidays, constantly missing out on my children’s lives, living day to day on tips never knowing how much I would make; thankfully, those days are over. A bachelor’s degree in Psychology increases my job prospects in such a wide array of professions. Living in North Carolina I am able to take the needed exams to secure a teaching license or I can opt to work in my chosen field and assist with grief counseling for military families in my area… the options are quite plentiful as a Psychology degree is so versatile and can be beneficial in social work, business management, customer service, education, mental health etc. etc. etc… My degree has also benefited me personally because I have been able to incorporate skills I have gained to help family and friends during difficult times.

8. What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation I would like to work on getting stronger both physically and mentally so that I can return to work. I am hoping to either work with children and families in crisis or become teacher at the elementary level. Perhaps one day I will return to school; however, for now I would like to focus on my health and re-entering the work industry. But first I am going to take a little R&R and enjoy life, my family, and yes… the beaches of Coastal North Carolina.