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Fight or Flight… A College Story ✨✨✨

A true inspiration written beautifully by guest writer NICOLE GIL I Hope anyone going through the decision to fight through college or flight will believe in themselves. You got this ❤️

✨July 2013, during the first two weeks of pre-calc, I was in the front row desk taking notes of every lesson trying to prepare for my first math exam in college. I would spend nights in my dorm, studying wanting to make sure that my routine and seriousness about my education would set the tone for not only the remainder of the semester but throughout my entire journey through college. I was always this socially shy quiet person, so partaking in typical college activities that most freshmen did was not ideal for me. Day of my exam, I was nervous and honestly doubted myself but in the back of my mind, I knew that I spent a lot of time studying so even if I did not achieve the particular grade I wanted, I knew I would pass. A few days later, my professor, Mr. Wang, discussed in the beginning of class that most of the students did not do well. However, one person did manage to obtain a perfect score. He turns and makes eye contact with me and announced in front of the whole class, that person was me. My heart sank a little because I wasn’t use to that attention from the entire class but it felt good to know my work paid off. Soon after that class, about 10-15 of my peers wanted me to facilitate study sessions with them in the dorm to go over my notes and study techniques. Ever since then, this is the kind of student and person I wanted to be remembered for. I decided to attend Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology because I knew I wanted to be a pilot at a very young age. As a senior in high school, I made the decision to apply and take my chances. I come from an environment that was not fully supportive of the career I wanted to pursue. With an absent father, and mother who had very little financial stability, I knew that attending college was going to be a huge burden on my shoulders. However, being that I was the going to be the first in line to earn my degree, that ignited my passion to obtain a college degree. Although studying aviation had many hardships, I truly enjoy it. Without a question, I faced many difficulties. Being that the school consisted of 87% males, I felt intimidated almost always…. in my classes, walking through the lunchroom, the constant remarks, “why are you so shy, you are so beautiful, can I have your number?” Men commenting and looking at me as an object was exhausting. Then there were some who pretended to be friends and when I finally opened up, almost always they had an ulterior motive. Going to class was a struggle sometimes. Sitting in a room with mostly men and being one out of the 2 or 3 females there. It often discouraged me from raising my hand or questioning some men statements in class. Aside from those struggles, my biggest difficulty was the environment at home. After about 18 months of staying in a dorm and being unable to afford it any further, I moved back home. This is where my real struggles began. Living with a parent who brought me down mentally and emotionally about every aspect of my life took a huge toll on me. I tried to find ways to drown the negativity out, by drawing or practicing makeup, but it wasn’t enough. I really drowned myself in my school work. And that was always an excuse for me when I was in a bad situation at home… “I have homework to do, I have a project to do…”and then I would be left alone. In my room, in my own space while everything else in my family was crumbling. During my Junior year, I was really taking in more of a workload. I was helping a close friend through her college by doing all of her English and math coursework for about 3-5 of her classes. I didn’t have an issue with helping because it felt good to be there for someone and seeing that I could do proper research and write a paper on a totally different subject that I have no knowledge about and still manage to get high grades. This was my realization that I was good at doing other people’s assignments. I managed to meet someone who was going to law school and was willing to pay me to do their homework. He would text me and say hey, “I’m dropping off two books Friday night and I need a 8-page analysis done by Monday.” It was overwhelming, but it was my way of making some extra money. So for about 3 semesters, I was taking my own courses, and doing homework assignments for two other people. Sometimes I look back and I’m in complete shock I got through it, all while maintaining a 3.83 GPA. I still felt if I didn’t have such a workload, I could have graduated with a better GPA but nonetheless, I made it through the finish line. I graduated with honors. I was the first person in my family to obtain a college degree. And I am proud, as a Dominican and as a female I’ve come this far. Although I am in 55k in student loan debt, and I still have to financially save to get through my flight training, I would never change anything about the path I chose. My advice to anyone who’s finding their way, anyone who is struggling with their relationship with their parents, is to just keep pushing through. Close your eyes and envision where you will be in 5,10,15 years. Are you sitting at your desk working for your dream company, is it creating art, is it starting your own company, is it sitting on the left seat flying a b767? Whatever it is, take the chance and find your way through. Always be true to who you are as a person, as cliche as it sounds, be a good person. Even to those who may have wronged you, don’t let the negativity consume you. I always truly believed that good things happen to good-hearted people.Don’t compare yourself to anyone else around you because every person’s journey is different and at your own pace. My journey has only started… ✨