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“YPIE is like a GPS in my life. They provide the pathway and destination for where I want to be in my life. I am the driver and if I use all the resources that YPIE provides, I know I’ll get to my goal for the future.”

  • YPIE Fellow, Saunders Trades & Technical High School, 2015-2017

  • College Student, Manhattan College

  • Major: Allied Health, Minor: Biology and Religion

How did you first get involved in YPIE?

Kelly learned about YPIE during her sophomore year in high school when one of the YPIE College Advisors visited her classroom. “From the presentation, I learned that YPIE helps students with the entire college process, including SAT prep, essay writing, and completing the Common App. Knowing I am first gen, it was as if a light bulb went off and I knew I needed to apply.”

When Kelly found out that she was accepted as a YPIE Fellow, she was elated. “I was ecstatic! I told my parents right away. They were so glad to hear that YPIE would provide resources to help me with the college process.”

What are you most passionate about studying?

Kelly studied Cosmetology at her career and technical high school. At first, she was unsure, but the more she studied and worked as an Intern at a salon, she saw this as a strong foundation for her future.

“I love interacting with people, and especially enjoyed that aspect of studying Cosmetology. I also like the science of Cosmetology, which led to my interest in pursuing opportunities in science and human interaction in the future.”

How did YPIE impact your college process?

In Junior year, Kelly’s college advisor provided her with a checklist for the college process and set up a meeting with her and her parents. Kelly signed up for SAT prep and was paired with a mentor to help with her college essay. She learned about how best to fill in the Common Application and the options for financial assistance.

“YPIE was extremely helpful. I felt relieved knowing that I had a guide and a support system to rely on. If I had a question, I knew there was someone who had an answer. I was very grateful to be part of the program. Gradually, the college dream started to become real and I thought, ‘Wow, I am really going to college.’”

Kelly brainstormed her college essay throughout Junior year. thinking about the major points in her life and things that shaped the person she has become. “I narrowed down to a situation that shifted the dynamic in my life and made me more independent. The situation affected me for the better and was something that I felt was essential in shaping the person I am today. But I could not have elaborated on it the way I did without the help of the YPIE essay coaches and workshop.”

How has your involvement with YPIE continued through college?

Kelly chose to attend Manhattan College because of its good credentials and proximity to her home. She is part of the YPIE College Success Program, which provides support for YPIE students in their first two years of college.

“During Freshman year, I had weekly meetings with my YPIE Advisor. We spoke about my syllabi, noting deadlines, and how to adjust to college overall. In sophomore year, we met monthly because I had a stronger college/life balance. We discussed career planning, internships and any educational opportunities I could obtain. This was also the time I would check in with my YPIE Advisor on everything -- getting enough sleep, using breaks during the day, & my study skills. My advisor has been a guardian angel guiding me throughout my college experience.”

How does it feel being the first in your family to go to college?

“I am very content to be the first and know that my family is proud of me. In the beginning, I was a bit worried about starting the process because I did not have the help of previous family members. I am so grateful to YPIE. Without YPIE, I would have been lost in this process.”

“No one in my immediate family went to college. To be the first, it makes me feel incredibly happy. My parents sacrificed so much for me to be where I am today. I will always be grateful to them.”

What are you planning to pursue in the future?

Kelly is majoring in Allied Health at Manhattan College and interested in pursuing medicine in the future. She is thinking about being a Registered Nurse, with a side practice in Cosmetology.

“I am most interested in helping people. I love the mix of science and human interaction in combining medicine and cosmetology.”

How do you reflect on your experiences at YPIE?

“It has meant the world to me to have someone to rely on. It has been helpful from the beginning of YPIE through now. YPIE isn’t only there for school, it is a community. The bonds I developed with everyone have helped me to become the person I am today.”

Posted June 2019

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