By the time I was in high school my mind wasn’t anywhere near ready for me to even want to attend college. When you’re raised in the hood it’s easy to get side tracked with the daily struggles that come with your environment, and almost makes it feel as if college isn’t created for someone with your background. Every single person I knew—myself included—was feeling pressure to help provide for their families which created a worker mentality instead of student.
What drew me to Gateway to College, at first, was the fact that I would be in high school and college at the same time. But what made me decide to stay was the clarity in their goals for the students, and the sense of family between the students and staff. I felt really motivated by the fact that I wouldn’t be alone through my journey in the program. Any questions I had could be answered by the counselors and learning coaches. There was a sense of security in knowing I was surrounded by people who were reaching for the same goal as me and who were there to support me every step of the way, which made the transition from high school to college really easy.
It felt reassuring to know that even after I graduated, I could always come back and find any type of help I needed as a full time college student.
My first day at Gateway was the day after my 18th birthday, which gave me a small sense of adulthood and made me feel like for the first time ever I was finally able to control what I am doing with my life. Being exposed to college made me realize I had never wanted to attend college because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough and most likely couldn’t handle the work. As time went on, I learned that school isn’t something that’s made for people with a specific background, but for people who have a rigorous and positive mindset. Once I changed my mentality I realized how important education is, especially for those who come from the same background as me. It is necessary that we teach our youth the significance of education, but crucial that we make them aware of the fact that they are deserving of it, and can achieve anything they set their minds to. I know now that college isn’t a single destination, but rather a gateway to a lifetime of learning. I would have never seen school as a path to success if it wasn’t for Gateway to College.