Pamela Lee, Portrait Provided by Pamela Lee
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 Pamela Lee, a NYS Registered Nurse who obtained her ASN degree at CUNY Medgar Evers College and obtained licensure in 2017. Pamela is currently attending CUNY SPS since the Fall 2017, she is enrolled in the BSN-MSN Nursing Organizational Leadership program with anticipated completion in the Fall of 2020.
What the ACE Scholarship Meant to Me
The feeling of making progress towards your life’s dream is indescribable, but the concern of financially affording it can be a bit worrisome. When I applied to CUNY SPS for the continuation of my nursing degree, I cannot say that I was not just a tad bit concerned about how I was going to pay for my education. With any new endeavor, you devise a plan and strategize on how to see it through. Well, I devised a Plan A. Even a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C. I’m sure by the time I considered all possible options and avenues, I might have covered the entire alphabet! When I was informed that I would be awarded the ACE Scholarship, I was beyond excited and relieved that I would be able to see my journey through to completion without stress. Well, at least not financial stress.
A Tremendous Gift
With the relief of not having to worry about a tuition bill came the freedom of actually enjoying the process of earning my degrees. Yes, I said degrees as in plural. Maybe its because of my ambition or that I am just flat out crazy, but I am enrolled in a dual BSN-MSN degree program here at SPS. Like many of my peers, I also work full time as a pediatric nurse and I am a mother two crazy kids, one of which is in college himself and my daughter who is headed to high school. Oh, did I mention that I also tutor nursing students who are currently matriculated and earning their Associates nursing degrees? Told you…just a bit cray-zee. Never the less, I have found that being an ACE Scholar and Mentor has actually leveled my ability to juggle these many responsibilities without feeling completely overwhelmed. I chose to look at the journey with a different perspective and found a better appreciation for it. I speak with my mentees weekly and so far, all has been well, and I am so happy for them and proud of them.
Online education can be time consuming, rigorous and even outright daunting at times but a motto that was shared with me is to focus on progress, not perfection. So, to any student attempting online learning, whether you are starting out in your first semester or entering your last, just remember that you are too blessed to be stressed and definitely on the road to success. If you stay organized and plan ahead, you will be prepared. You can do this! Those were the repeated words of encouragement from one of my amazing professors throughout nursing school. Whenever I felt doubt, I could hear her. I heard it during every exam, I heard it while sitting for my state boards and they still ring true today.
My best advice for anyone going through the program is to just stay the course and if you feel like giving up, don’t. It just means that you are that much closer to the finish line. Try to laugh often, cry if you need to but just dust yourself off and keep striving. As students we feel guilty taking time away from our coursework. Don’t! When you can, try to complete assignments early so that any day during the semester that you feel like being lazy, you can. Everyone needs some mental health and relaxation time so take it. You will be mentally refreshed and able to think clearly. There is nothing like trying to work on a post or paper, half awake to find that you have no idea what you were even trying to say in the morning or worse yet, you actually posted the assignment. We have all been there. Whatever your journey, whatever path you are taking to get there, just enjoy the ride.
I wish everyone the best of luck on their journey!