Estefani after receiving the 2015 South Bronx United College Scholarship, with SBU Executive Director Andrew So.
Estefani after receiving the 2015 South Bronx United College Scholarship, with SBU Executive Director Andrew So.

My first semester at Bronx Community College was not really what I expected college to be. After being in high school for four years, I had grown accustomed to having the same schedule everyday and seeing friends in every class.  College was not like that. I picked my own classes, including the times and then it was all up to me.

Even though I had already taken college courses in high school, I had this weird feeling in my stomach.  I knew college professors were not like high school teachers.  When my first professor walked into the class, she was so happy and smiling it made me wonder if I was in the wrong class, but she took attendance and called my name.   I also hadn’t expected college to be so diverse.  I was in a classroom full of people I never imagined I would be in a class with. Some people were already parents,  and some were going back to college for the second time. I was actually one of the few that just recently graduated high school in my class.

This semester I’m taking four courses. Sociology, Art , pharmacology and my remedial reading class. I want to get in to the nursing program but, first, I have to take all the prerequisite classes. Nursing is one of the hardest programs to get into. You have to push yourself to get in the program, and, if you get in, the program itself is very intense. My pharmacology class was one of the most difficult classes I’ve ever taken. Many people asked me, “Why are you taking that course in your first semester of college?” Well, I’m always up for a challenge.

I’m the first generation in my family to ever go to college. I want to make my family proud of me, and I want to be proud of myself as well. My mom was excited that she finally was able to tell family members and friends that her daughter is a college student.  My mom has really impacted my decisions in school.  The reason I’m majoring in nursing is because of her and my younger brother.  My brother was born three weeks premature because of a medical condition my mother had. He ended up being taken to the NICU.  I saw how the nurses took care of my brother and realized I wanted to do the same for other babies.

While there are challenges to college–I used to play soccer everyday, for example, but now I’m so caught up in my school work that I barely have time to play or practice–I am so happy and fortunate to be in this position.

Estefani graduated in 2015 from University Heights High School and the SBU Academy.  She is a recipient of the South Bronx United College Scholarship.