ACE Scholarship Mentor Arlene Sanchez – In Her Own Words

portrait of Arlene Sanchez
Arlene Sanchez, photo provided by Arlene Sanchez

Every year, students who are within 30 credits of graduating are invited to apply for the CUNY SPS ACE Scholarship. The scholarship provides full tuition until graduation. To be considered, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, enroll for a minimum of 6 credits, and demonstrate financial need. As part of their award requirements, ACE Scholars mentor newly-admitted undergraduate students and act as ambassadors for the school. To fulfill the duties of the scholarship each recipient writes an essay about their ACE experience. The Kiosk will be publishing these essays each Wednesday.

The following essay is by Arlene Sanchez, who is in the B.S. in Health Information Management program.


What the ACE Scholarship Meant to Me

Life leads you to interesting places—fun places and sometimes scary places. Sometimes scary situations are not scary at all, they are just challenging and push us to our limits. This is a good thing. Similar to the body when exercising, it is pushed to its current limit, but a push each day can lead to lift a few more pounds, or run one more mile, or the ability to complete one more paper by midnight.

The beginning of 2017 was a great new start. It was great to be back in my third semester of school, flexing my intellectual muscles. I was and still am determined to maintain a great GPA. I applied to the ACE Scholarship because I felt that it was a great opportunity to receive financial assistance with the added benefit of participating in a school activity. My goal is to continue my professional development in the field of Data Analytics in a master’s degree program.

With a career in the medical field as an Office Manager, I have been managing employees for about eleven years. It has been an interesting journey getting to know employees and learning how to motivate them to excel in their positions, as well as their life goals. Employees need to know employers care for them; yet they must also understand the management position that the manager is responsible for their performance. I found that teaching them how disciplined I was set an example for them to follow.

Growing up, I was not taught how to dress to work in an office. I remember my first manager (who later became my mentor) teaching me how to present myself and guiding me through the hoops of medical office management. This included learning how to dress, how to carry myself, and what the role of manager entails. Being a mentee gave me the best experience to become a mentor in this case. I understand the worry and fright of starting something new; the impact of realizing you know absolutely nothing and learning how to become a student once again late in life.

The honeymoon phase of the first semester is a distant memory today. 101 classes felt so easy. Now I come upon those late nights, writing a paper or reading a chapter, and I look up at the ceiling feeling so tired and depressed about getting a low grade or missing deadline for a paper and I wonder why I even started this journey in the first place.

What was I thinking? I could be sleeping. I could be out with friends! or spending time with family!

I have to go to work in the morning… but I need to finish this paper…

That moment right there, “but I need to finish,” is what I hold on to and what keeps me going. The need… the necessity… I do not want… I need to finish. I learned how to feel responsible for finishing what I started. I learned the true meaning of ‘no pain, no gain.’ Nothing will ever be as sweet as the fruits of my accomplishments. This concept I try to teach my mentees, but I start with teaching them first about discipline. Your work must be consistent to the point of habitual. It will feel easy at first, but a day will come where you feel the entire world wearing down on you. This is the true test of your will and courage; turn that want into a need and you will never let yourself down again… about anything!


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1 thought on “ACE Scholarship Mentor Arlene Sanchez – In Her Own Words”

  1. Pingback: ACE Scholarship - In her own words - Elizabeth White | The Kiosk

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