Name: Jessica Cintron
Major: Latino and Caribbean Studies and Psychology
This achievement is more than mine alone. My degree belongs to my family just as much as it does to me.
I went to Rutgers straight out of high school with the intention of completing my undergraduate degree in four years. But life happened and I decided I needed to take a break from my studies. I was determined to return, but it just never seemed like the right time to jump back in. One day at work, after speaking to a colleague, I bit the bullet and re-enrolled.
The timing seemed good. My son was now a 1-year-old, and my boyfriend and I had settled into parenthood. I finished two semesters as a part-time student and then the unthinkable happened: I lost my job. I responded by jumping in head-first, finishing out my last two years as a full-time student.
I will be forever grateful to my partner for shouldering the financial responsibilities and being so supportive each step of the way. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d have the courage to keep moving forward to graduation. There were many early mornings and late nights balancing motherhood, work, and studies.
My son, my boyfriend, and I have all made sacrifices. My son is now 3, and I will never be able to get back the time with him that I missed rushing to night classes or staying home on the weekends getting my work done. I need to also acknowledge my cheerleader, best friend, and cousin, Estania. The days I was ready to quit and throw my books out the window, she was always the optimist birdie in my ear whispering: “you can do this.”
I want to also mention my mother, who passed away many years ago, but had always wholeheartedly insisted that I get a college degree. With graduation taking place on Mother’s Day, I feel like I have come full circle. I am beyond elated.
This achievement is more than mine alone. It belongs to my family just as much as it does to me.