My first attempt was when I first arrived as an Armenian refugee from Beirut, Lebanon with an 8th-grade education. I was able to get my GED but not able to continue into college then for financial reasons. I eventually helped start a family business and ran that for 35 years. Almost 20 years after I arrived in NYC, I tried to get my college degree again while I was raising my three boys and running my business. Since I lived close to Fordham University I took courses there for about 6 years accumulating about 55 credits. Unfortunately, work and family responsibilities cut that short, as well. Fast forward another 20 years, and here I am as a CUNY BA student finally seeing the end with a graduation date of June 2019!
After I left the family business and started a career advocating for Women’s rights at the UN a few years ago, I knew I had to get my degree if I wanted any decent job. Luckily one of our interns at NGO Committee on the Status of Women had just graduated from the CUNY BA program and told me all about it. The first time I saw Kate McPherson for a consultation I knew I was in the right place. She has been one of the most patient and professional people I’ve worked with anywhere! Every time I call, email or stop by, panicking that I’m not getting it right, she calms me down and points me in the right direction. The CUNY BA program is the perfect match for someone like me who loves learning but has limited time. I was able to use my life experience and language skills to earn some credits, and I loved the option of taking courses on any CUNY campus. I must also give a shout out to my home campus of CCNY. It has been very hard to look into another campus since I started there. I love the community with its diverse population of students and professors! There’s a part of me that does not want to graduate so I can take more courses, but I did just accept a full-time job at NGO CSW/NY where I’ve been volunteering in different capacities for the past seven years, so, for now, I need to move ahead with my graduation and look forward to the future for a Master’s Degree.