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Life as a student is short, so why not get ahead in the short time your here? What have you been doing to be more prepared after life as a student is over with? If you answered nothing to that question, then you seriously need to get on your A game.

This is the time to learn and grow: as an individual and professionally. CUNY SPS hosts a lot of webinars that help us improve on those soft skills vital for being successful in life.

Join a club: research a club that will help jump start your career. If your majoring in media/communications/journalism a good club to join is the National Association of Hispanic Journalist. They offer fellowships and internships. They also send out great networking events and career workshops. I recently just went to one of their networking events, where I got to mingle with people that work for the New York Times, CNN, ESPN, and BuzzFeed, just to name a few.

Internships: don’t wait until the last semester to intern! Start right away if you can. Internships are a great way to gain exposure in different areas of your major firsthand. The more exposure you get to different professional environments, the more confident you will be when you graduate about what area in your field you want to go in.

Develop your mind: all of these things are great ways to get ahead but they’ll just be a waste of time if you’re not mentally prepared. If you’re the type of person who’s always second guessing themselves or don’t think they are good enough or smart enough, stop, you are enough. You don’t need to be the smartest, or the fastest, you simply need to be the best you can be. If you need a little extra push listen to motivational speeches, read books, and/or have little pep talks with yourself.

“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”—Les Brown

Yerelyn Nunez is a native New Yorker with Dominican roots in her blood. She loves to read, write, and is pursuing acting. She loves lending a helping hand or words of encouragement to those in need of it. She is majoring in Communication & Media at CUNY SPS.

I ran onto the bus just as the driver was about to shut the doors. I reached into my jacket pocket and pull out my Metro Card, only to find out there was not enough money on it to pay my fare.  Sigh.

I looked at the driver, and gave him the please don’t embarrass me and kick me off the bus for not having any money look.  He shot me back a dirty look and gestured for me to go on ahead without paying.

“Thank you” I whispered.

As I made my way through the cluster of people who insisted on standing at the front of the bus, I saw an old friend I hadn’t seen since high school; Roberta Smallwood.

Roberta was very troubled back then, she was in and out of jail for robbery and she used to smoke crack. But from what I saw,  Roberta had cleaned up nicely.

The seat next to Roberta was free so I decided to sit on the tattered blue upholstery that clearly had a set-in stain. After awhile, as a New Yorker, you become a master at differentiating a set-in stain that will have no affect on your clothing from a stain that’s fresh.

Roberta immediately recognized me and we laughed and reminisced about our high school years. She opened up about her prison days and rehab. She had been clean for five years and worked as an administrative assistant for the MTA. Every now and then her eyes would wander off out the window when she spoke of her past. I guess some memories were still very fresh for her and she was still healing.  I was happy to see that she is doing so well.

The bus finally reached my destination, the subway.  Roberta and I exchanged phone numbers and emails, vowing to stay in touch, but would we really?  People often run into old friends and have every intention of staying in contact with each other, but life’s routines always seem to get in the way.

As I hopped off the bus, I was painfully reminded of the annoying blister I had on my pinky toe that would hurt every time my sandal strap would rub it.  As I thought about Roberta on the train ride into NYC, I realized that everyone has a story; there is something that happens in everyone’s life that makes them who they are.  What is mine?

Martine Chevry received her B.A. in Communications and Culture from the CUNY School of Professional Studies in June 2011.  She currently works as an Editorial Assistant and lives in Queens, New York. Martine is currently planning on self publishing her first novel in Spring 2012. She enjoys writing, working out, shopping, reading and reality television.