Psychology / Child Advocacy Studies
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Currently: Senior at NEIU, First Year Experience Peer Mentor at NEIU, and Teller at Chase Bank
Self-described: Determined, friendly, open-minded
Enjoys: Hanging out with my nieces and nephew, going out with friends, exploring different parts of the city, trying new foods, or watching The Office
"If you want something, you have to work for it."
Tell us about yourself!
I am a first generation college student majoring in psychology, with hopes of continuing my education to complete a Psy.D. I am a proud daughter of two Mexican parents who have worked hard their whole life to provide my older siblings and me with a better future. I now work hard every day to be able to repay them for every single thing they have provided for me.
Considering I am the first in my family to go to college, the transition from high school to college was very challenging. Although my family did not know much about the college process, they helped me every single step of the way.
Aside from going to school, I also work as a teller at Chase Bank and as a First Year Experience (FYE) Peer Mentor at NEIU. Being an FYE Peer Mentor helps me offer a hand to students like me; first generation students seeking advice. As a peer mentor, I am able to pass down the knowledge I have learned so far and I can be that ‘go-to’ person for a student who feels lost.
Greatest source of inspiration
Knowing that after I receive my degree, I will be one step closer to being able to help my community.
Greatest source of support
People in my life helped me by pushing me to keep going whenever I hit a bump in the road. In colleges, you hit MANY bumps, but my support system has always helped me get up and keep moving forward.
Major / Minor
Psychology/ Child Advocacy Studies
The different friendships you gain throughout the years with people who have seen you develop from a lost freshman to a knowledgeable senior.
Least favorite thing
The long nights of studying and writing papers and then having to wake up early the next morning for a lecture.
I try to study on my breaks in-between classes. When I work at Chase, I’ll take the simplest homework with me so I can work on it during lunch. I use my days off from Chase to catch up on work. Most of my time on weekends is reserved for studying since I know I’ll have more time available and I can stay up later.
Tell us about a challenge you faced. How did you overcome it?
I attended Dominican University my first year, and having to transfer to NEIU was a huge challenge. Not only was I leaving my friends behind, but I knew no one at NEIU, so I had to start the friend-making process all over again.
The biggest challenge while transferring was when my counselor told me I was set back a semester because some of my credits from Dominican could not be transferred over.
I always had that idea of “you graduate in four years” in my head, and realizing I set myself back was very hard. I soon met more and more people who went through similar circumstances and realized that no matter if it was a semester or years behind, I would still receive my diploma.
What campus resources do you use?
As a psychology major, I write A LOT of research papers. To this day, I have a lot of trouble with APA Style, so I always go to the writing center a week before a paper is due to go over the formatting with a tutor. I also go to the tutoring center for statistics. Math has NEVER been my forte.
What advice would you give to your freshman-year self?
That I will encounter times where things do not go as planned, and that is okay.
It’s not the end of the world if something goes wrong.
Sometimes things go wrong because they weren’t meant to be or because something better is coming.
I would remind myself that I have a large support system I can turn to when I hit a bump in the road [I have a hard time asking others for help]. I would also tell myself to remember to have fun despite all the stress - I can only experience undergrad once!
What's your secret for time management and productivity?
Reward yourself after you complete a task!! It does not have to be a huge award; have a candy bar or take a 30-minute break. Make sure it’s something that will motivate you to finish the task. I LOVE iced coffee, so I treat myself to Starbucks only if I finished an assignment.
How do you de-stress?
I love to watch The Office. Watching a couple episodes helps me relax because it is so funny! I also enjoy getting a manicure, and who doesn’t love naps?
How do you stay motivated?
I always remind myself that nothing in life will ever get handed to me. Remember that if you want something, you have to work for it, not everything will be handed to you on a silver platter.
My short-term goals are to graduate from college with a 4.0 GPA and receive a fellowship to continue on with my education. My long-term goal is to become Dr. Ortega (Psy.D.) and work with children who have undergone traumatic experiences to help them re-establish their childhood.
I could use some help with...
I enjoy hearing different advice from people who have gone through it.
Connect with Abby