Next Steps

I have had a very enriching and active first semester here at Baruch. Coming from such a small high school, I found myself marveling at the wealth of opportunities and organizations here at the college. I have also been sure to utilize the school’s vast amount of knowledge and wisdom in the faculty and staff. The Community Service Project demonstrated to me that (unlike in my high school years), I need to actively reach out to the Baruch community if I want to get the most out of my college experience. I have found the one on one academic advisement extremely helpful and enriching, and as a result, I have a deep gratitude to the Honors Program.

Early in the semester, I signed up for about ten clubs here at Baruch. While I did not pursue an active role in all of them, I did strive to be an active member in the Honors Student Council. Aside from bridging the gap between Honors Students and the Honors Program, my participation in the Council has shown me the importance of networking and community. By cultivating a relationship with my peers and upperclassmen, I can have a much clearer, wider, more comprehension vision of own goals and how to achieve them. By talking about ideas with other students, I was able to better understand how to have the best possible experience at Baruch.

Previous to the Community Service Project, I understood community service to be something done with an hour of two of free time every once in while. I also considered many “community service” efforts ultimately useless. The Project has demonstrated how necessary, worthwhile, and consuming community service truly is. I’ve come to understand that without the efforts of the many non-for-profit organizations, society would be a much bleaker place, especially in New York City. Even through the mere research of various organizations, I’ve come to see how rewarding and enjoyable community service truly is.

As a freshman (and a young person), looking three whole years into the future can seem like an unnecessary and even impossible task to me. I’ve always made it my personal goal, however, to act on and plan for the bigger picture and the long term. In three years, I see myself finishing up my education here at Baruch, and being an active, positive force in my community, at Baruch, and in New York City.

What Does it Mean To Serve Your Community?

In High School, I assumed “higher education” revolved around one thing: learning. The purpose of college is to learn and acquire understanding, and then use that understanding to achieve some greater, meaningful feat. Upon my acceptance into the Baruch Honor’s Program, I believed I would be expected to achieve academic excellence, and that only. That’s the purpose of higher education, right?


Now I understand higher education and the Baruch Honor’s Program revolves around something with much greater significance: community. Community is what matters because it’s what shapes and defines us.  No man is an island; it’s the people and entities around us that make us who we are.  Any achievement, be it academic, financial, or career-based is truly worthless unless based in some community. It must reflect on the community you’re a part of, and qualify and identify you within the community you seek to be accepted to or successful in. The beauty of community is that is provides purpose and motivation


As Baruch, my role as a student involves being an active member of the community. I need to be building up my classmates as well as myself. I need to be concerned with bearing an image that sheds a positive light on the community. I need to breathe life into the community by being an active, positive force within it. As a Baruch Scholar, my role is even more crucial. I need to be a leader in this community, striving to be an ideal student, classmate, colleague, and friend. As a Scholar, I’ve been granted a tremendous opportunity. Serving the community, by being a positive force of growth within it, is the best (possibly only) way to seize that opportunity.

Where Have You Been and Where Are You Going?

    For a student who was born and raised in the United States, I have one of the most interesting and unique academic histories. I was born in Wantagh, Long Island. My parents had moved there because the school district was one of the best in the area, and they wanted the best for me and my younger brother. The high-quality school district came with proportionally high taxes, so my parents, my brother, and I all moved into a tiny one-bedroom bungalow; we put beds in the basement and that’s where my brother I slept. I attended Forest Lake, the local elementary school when it came time for me to start Kindergarten. I did the same for first and second grade. The summer before third grade, however, serious change made its way into my life. My parents told me they were sending me to a different school next year. An extremely small private school known as Grace Christian Academy.

Grace Christian Academy, when I was enrolled there, included grades K-5, and totaled 26 students. Yes, you read that right, twenty-six students. What I didn’t know at the time, was that the friends I made that year would end up being some of the most trusted and precious people to me in the upcoming years. My years at GCA were easily the best of my childhood. I was surrounded by a group of kids who were like family to me, and teachers who helped me cultivate an active and diligent mind. GCA was my home; until the summer after fifth grade. My parents could no longer afford tuition at Grace, but they weren’t sending me back to public school. My mom had decided she was going to homeschool me.

The year I was home schooled was an interesting year of my life. My mother worked very hard making sure I was still getting a quality education, and I did. I stayed on pace with my curriculum, I learned a lot, and I maintained good grades; I even got to see my friends from GCA. But, homeschooling wasn’t for me. I needed to be around more students than just my brother. My family still couldn’t afford a private education, but they understood I needed to be in a real classroom. They decided they were going to send me back to public school. Seventh grade was a fun year, I was in a big school with a lot of opportunities. I made a lot of friends and was very active at my school. But still, I felt that I didn’t belong. As good a time I was having, I knew I shouldn’t have been there. I fit in, but not in the same way I did at GCA. I knew I had to get back there, somehow. Seventh grade came and went, summer kicked in, and I began to prepare for the next school year. One of the benefits of attending public school was the much lighter summer readings. As I was preparing eighth grade, my mom came home one day in mid-August with news she knew I’d enjoy. She had been hired as an art teacher at Grace Christian Academy, and as a result, my parents could afford tuition for me and my brothers. I would be attending the tiny private school I could come to love with the people I had come to treasure.

Eighth grade started and I was suiting up in the khakis and blazer  uniform at my “new” school. I was with my closest friends in my second home, and I couldn’t be happier. My high school years came with problems and challenges like anyone else’s, but looking back, I realize those were some of the best years of my life. The bonds and relationships I made will last a lifetime, and the things I learned and the ways I grew propelled me into a bright future. A future that includes Baruch College.

So, where am I going? Forward. Baruch College offered me something I never would have dreamed: debt-free education. There are little words to express my gratitude for that. So, I’m taking advantage of this gift, and am devoting myself to this school and my career. Wherever my future lies, I plan for it to shine a positive light on Baruch. Part of giving back to the community is being a respectable representative of that community. I only hope that my actions here at Baruch and my community service can accurately reflect how grateful I am to this community.