I’m originally from New York City, Harlem, New York. Um, during my time growing up; middle school/high school, it wasn’t a good look. When I was younger, I didn’t know there was something above high school. But, I didn’t know really what it was, because my mom did not obtain a college degree . . . So, we kind of didn’t have a conversation about it, because she didn’t know. My mom, was a . . . when she came to America, she was had a live-in job, so I only saw my mom once a month growing up. I lived with my aunts and uncles and near five other kids. Everyone had to like basically fend for themselves . . . because there wasn’t enough food. There wasn’t enough resources for all of us to be fed properly and stuff like that. I wanted to stick to education. You know, I had like a little limelight in my life, where understanding and studying was something that brought me passion. That academia kind of lifestyle, was something that brought me joy. And, that’s the reason why I decided to pursue college, you know. At one point, I didn’t think I was going to make it because of my whole entire situation, where I was just scared and afraid to even come here . . . But, after having that support, it seems that so many people invested in me from the Educational Opportunity Program . . . Why else would I come here? You know . . . EOP in the name, I think says it all, an Educational Opportunity Program. Ah, because without EOP, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to school. You know, my parents would not have been able to afford an education. I guess it’s hard to put into words, but I think the name says it all, it’s an opportunity. The Educational Opportunity Program is a program that caters to helping underrepresented individuals. And, it encourages them and kind of pushes them to persevere . . . And, it just really exemplifies like the fact that they can pursue whatever they dreamed of. Some of the people in this place want tutoring. Tutoring, tutoring, tutoring. So, not only do they want you to go to class by providing the financing, but they want you to excel in class. The counselors, they go, they went through our experiences, you know. They come from different backgrounds, similar to ourselves; similar to our own. And, is able to relate to us and understand what we are doing and how we are going to do it. One thing that I want to make sure that people understand, is that EOP is first and foremost, a family. And, because we are a family, we do the best we can, to make sure that we all grow. Hey, I’m not going to my counselor, I’m going to my mom, my sister, my brother who is going to make sure that I do well, you know. And, when they tell you things and look out for you, it’s not like they are telling you things, just to tell you that, you know that they genuinely care. You know? And, when you see that someone genuinely cares about you, who doesn’t do well? So, we’re always pushing ourselves, whether it is academically or whether it’s like financially . . . Or, whether its, whether you are having problems emotionally with family or friends, we are pushing ourselves. And, because we are a family, we’re making sure that we are the best that we can be, at all times. In all honesty, ah, without EOP, I would not be at this University right now. I would not be on this campus. I would not be, being an RA or . . . being a scholar at the University or being involved in campus activities. I don’t think I would be here. Without EOP, Binghamton University is not Binghamton University. What is an EOP student? You know I go by the school, ” You learn, earn and return.” You learn the knowledge, you earn the currency . . . And, you learn all this experience and you give back. Because if other people don’t give back to EOP, then other people can’t grow. And, without EOP, I would have not been able to grow, as much as I am growing today. EOP was so influential in getting me to where I am today, that ah, when asked to help and to be here for future students . . . there’s no way that I could have turned it up. This is a program that’s going to integrate you into this college university setting and make you feel at home. This is the program that’s going to get you those 4.0s. This is the program that’s going to make you meet your best friends, you know? This is the program where you’ll make this campus, your home. That’s EOP.