“I was born in Cape Verde and came to Boston when I was nine years old. Cape Verde is a place where you go on vacation to relax, but in Boston, the pace was so much faster. In high school, I never failed any of my classes, but I was mostly an average student. I tried a community college in Boston, but it didn’t fit me, and so I left. I knew I needed more education to get a good job, but I had my job at a grocery store. It was good enough. I was fine.
“I knew I had become my own success story.”
My big brother in the Big Brothers program told me about Year Up, and it was there that I changed the way I thought about myself. I learned how to dress professionally, work at a quick pace, write a proper email, move from a low-end job to a career. In short, I learned how to excel — and I enjoyed it. I had perfect points at Year Up, not a single infraction. One day I was almost late. The train broke down, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, then 20. Finally, I got out and ran the last few blocks to Year Up. I wasn’t going to be late. I knew I had become my own success story.
I was the first Year Up intern at American Tower and now there are Year Up grads throughout the company. I had great coworkers teach me what I needed to know and now I’ve been there for over six years with plenty of authority and control.
At American Tower, they said, “We will pay for you to go to college, but you have to go to college.” So, I went to NSCC. It was a great fit for me, and I was a lot more motivated because of Year Up and my job. I liked the night and online classes because I worked full-time, and I took operating systems, security, LINUX, web design, and databases all online. My advisors helped me choose my electives so that I could get my computer networking certificate on my way to my degree. The certificate gave me credibility and was a great thing to be able to put on my resume.
Even today, I’m still learning. American Tower is paying me to learn about Apple devices and I’m looking to start at UMass Lowell in the fall. Their IT major is all online, which is perfect for me, and I can transfer almost all of my credits over. Year Up and NSCC will get you in the door, and from there you can follow your path.”