Growth, Love and Laughter: A Photo Collection of My Undergraduate and Graduate School Experiences.

Well you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. So let’s take this moment to cheers to real love, true happiness and all around great people.

This piece is dedicated to all those who have entered, remained and for some have exit out of my life for good.

These photographs represent my own personal growth and development as a teenager going on to become a young adult. It shows progression as well as it’s a collection of images since I was 18 years old.

All images are open to your own interpretation as they say pictures are worth a thousand words.

JOHN JAY COLLEGE: UNDERGRAD.

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Freshman year

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Aids Walk 2012

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Habitat for Humanity (H4H)

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Midnight Run

Midnight Run 2012

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Peer Ambassador Leadership Program 2012-2013

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Peer Ambassador Leadership Program 2013-2014

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Bubble Tea & $1.00 Dumplings

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UNIQLO Soho Men’s Floor

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When Lincoln University Meets The City University of New York

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Accepted Students Day @ John Jay College of Criminal Justice

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The Power of Mentorship

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CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies Class of 2015

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Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) Awards Night

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June 3rd, 2015 – Commencement Day, Madison Square Garden

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One of the World Greatest Career Counselors, Chantelle K. Wright

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Summer 2015 Freshmen Orientation

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UNIQLO Soho Men’s Floor Reunited

THE GRADUATE SCHOOL JOURNEY…

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Mental Health Counselors (CMSU)

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When School Counseling Meets Mental Health

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Allow me to reintroduce him, Anthony Shiram Persuad-Kong

Jaz and Alyssa and Kiana

FL, NYC, MA and CA #SAPRO

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When St. Lucia, New York and Guyana Gets Together *happy dance

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“The Power of Empowerment” 2016 Peer Ambassador Summer Training

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Day 2 of 365 Days: New Year, New Me.

I use to live in the projects in a predominantly Black and Latino/a neighborhood in Gravesend, Brooklyn New York.

In school, I was bullied constantly because of my appearance as well as my cultural background but ultimately I became a target for bullying because I didn’t live up to the model minority expectations that Asians are suppose to achieve a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the average population.

I was told once in college that Asians are considered to be white and not a person of color and since we aren’t considered to be person of color we don’t actually face racism or discrimination because we have the “good stereotypes” working in our favor.

For years I internalized these emotions of sadness and resentment. I was embarrassed, scared and ashamed. I was embarrassed because I would speak to my grandparents in Cantonese rather than English. I was scared to fully embrace my beautiful heritage and I was ashamed to claim my identity as a Chinese American.

My self-esteem was shot to it’s core. I shut out any open opportunity to understand my cultural background. I therefore became uneducated and invisible to the outside world.

For some, 2016 was one of the best years and for others not so much. 2016 was a tough year for me. But not all 365 days were bad. In the last year or so I have learned to own up to my truth and that the first step in solving any problem is recognizing that there is one.

So here’s to a new year, a toast to healthier choices, extraordinary love and second chances.

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Photography Credit: Kennique Reynolds

http://www.imagesbykennique.com

Survival of the Fittest: Life After College.

Life After College.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of GradImages.

It’s pretty common and it isn’t a terrible idea for young adults to move back in with their parents following graduation from college. While the arrangements may not be ideal, for some grads living at home can provide the stability that is needed to sort out finances and ambitions.

I graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York (CUNY) last year and on June 3rd, 2016 I celebrated my one year anniversary of my post graduate journey. I completed my first year of graduate school at Hunter College, another sister school within the CUNY system but I have to admit even though I am so close to finishing up my degree and becoming the first in my immediate family to obtain a master’s degree, I still have this fear that I will not make it and my aspiration of becoming a Family & Marriage therapist will all be for nothing.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious and out of place after graduation but let us not forget how much we have accomplished in our lives and what our new beginning has in store for us all. I hope you find this piece to be helpful and maybe a little bit motivational to continue your journey of becoming an adult and to never lose faith in yourself. 

1. Cover Letter & Resume. Everyone wants to land their dream job right after college. A full-time, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., full health coverage and other amazing benefits to top it all off. A quick Google search or resume scan can tell an employer what they need to know about a job candidate such as: where they went to school, their past and current work experiences and any major awards or accomplishments—the list will go on and on. With this in mind, having a cover letter and resume is an essential piece of your post graduate journey. Make sure to proofread and get a second opinion before pressing the send button.

2. Interviewing Skills. Practice, practice, practice! Like many of our sport coaches have said to us before practice makes perfect. Having good interviewing skills goes a long way especially when you are fresh out of college looking to secure a job to pay back your student loans or to save up enough money to move out of your parents home. Mock interviewing is a great way to demonstrate your interviewing techniques and practice more effective ways of interviewing, after all there is always room for improvement.

3. Graduate School. Depending on what profession you desire to be in the near future, it may require you to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree. For some graduates, graduate school is considered to be more serious and requires a lot more time and patience. After four years of undergraduate who the heck wants to go back for more schooling? Graduate school could also be looked at as a burden for some whether it is being able to fully fund the program of choice or being mentally prepared for a higher level of learning. Consider graduate school as an option in your post graduate journey. For me, it’s changing my life as we speak.

4. Fellowships. Having experiential learning and training is important to your growth as a young professional. Generally, fellowships provide a unique experience that are not typically available to someone starting out in an entry-level position. They are also known for their commitment to the professional development of the individual and often times include intensive training. By securing a fellowship after graduation is a great way to gain some work experience while it could also help you figure out what your next move maybe.

5. Networking. The power of networking is a crucial part in your professional development. Nowadays it is not about what you know and about who you know. Find yourself a few individuals who are in the field you want to be in and ask them to be your mentor. Having a mentor can expand your network and being able to a variety of individuals to network with could only help you in the marketing world.

6. Volunteer. What employer doesn’t like FREE labor? I know, I know. You’re a fresh college graduate and got bills to pay so volunteering isn’t much of an option come to really think of it. Still consider volunteering at places that interest you because you never know the job you volunteer for may turn out to be your next job.

7. Budgeting. One of the major tips to surviving life after college is effective budgeting. Budgeting is hard to do. My advice for people who find themselves struggling with budgeting would be find alternative solutions to your habits. For examples:

  • Food. Buying lunch every day can result to a total of $80.00 weekly and sometimes food prisoning instead consider buying groceries from a local supermarket such as: fresh fruits and veggies, cold cuts, bread and some plastic containers so you’re able to bring food you made from home.
  • Online Shopping. Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look good or fashionable but remember that you can’t spend $800.00 dollars on a pair of Chanel sunglasses if you don’t have a job or the money to begin with. Consider using websites like retailmenot.com, ebate.com, Groupon or Living Social to find coupon codes for your next online purchase. P.S. shop wisely by subscribing to your favorite stores to know when they have the best deals.
  • Public Transportation. For all my peoples who live in the city we all know and understand the total struggle of constantly buying a metrocard. A New York City monthly metro is $116.50—check to see if your employer has a transportation program such as: Wage Works that deducts pre-tax money for your transportation expenses. If not, no worries consider opening up a separate bank account and submitting a direct deposit form with the amount you desire to be use for public transportation purposes.

8. Getting Lit and Turning Up. Going to happy hour after work is fun but it is also a sure way to: (a) become an alcoholic and (b) blowing $200.00-$300.00 a month on liqour. Join the happy hour crew once every two weeks but limit how much you spend on alcohol as you get adjusted to your new budget.

9. Social Support System. Life after college can get really depressing at times, hell being in college and juggling academia and work was stressful. But I always had a small circle of friends who always motivated and encouraged me to go above and beyond. Build as many friendships and relationships with others as possible, you never know who you will meet or who will be your next boss.

10. Be Passionate, Confident and Positive. As much as college was a drag to deal with, we cannot deny that great feeling of walking across the stage and shaking your college president or the moment when you turned your tassel from right to left for the conferment of your degree. Always remember that when the going gets tough, overcome your obstacles by searching for support.

Lastly keep grinding, stay proactive and positive!

Miami Adventures.

Happiness = Eating Healthy

Not bad for a first time airbnb’er.

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From John Jay College Community Service Outreach Leaders to Vacation Buds in Miami Florida.

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Meet my new friend from Lithuania.

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August 6, 2015 at 12:38 a.m. first 22 year old drink.

A NYC Pig.

I have been a interviewer intern with the Child Psychiatric Epidemiology Group at Columbia University Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute for seven months.

I assist the research group by conducting in-person structured interviews with New York City families about stress and their own unique 9/11 experience (Stress & Well-being Study).

We have booked and completed over 400 baseline interviews with families who were and were not directly exposed to the events of September 11, 2001.

I conducted an interview with a family in Manhattan who were directly affected by 9/11 and boy when I walked into the home I did not expect to find this little (I mean big) guy here…

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#iamseek Photo Campaign

SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) is a higher education opportunity program at the senior four-year CUNY colleges. The program originally began at The City College of New York in 1965 and was signed into law by the New York State legislature in 1966 as the City University’s higher education opportunity program in the four-year senior colleges. The program was established to provide students who demonstrated academic and financial disadvantages access to a pathway to higher education. 

This photo campaign is inspired by  “I Too, Am, Harvard” — a project of one student who highlighted the stories and voices of 63 black Harvard students. Similarly, this campaign is a platform for John Jay College SEEK students to voice their stories about negative or stereotypical remarks made against them.

Our voices in our classes go unheard by our professors and our educational ability among non-SEEK students are often times questioned. This campaign represents our voices in standing up and saying we are SEEK and we too are worthy. 

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Translation* “But SEEK isn’t it for poor people? You’re just begging them for money.” – Friend.

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Translation* “The SEEK Program is for students with lower academic standards.” – Friend.

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List of honors and activities that featured SEEK students are currently involved in at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

2 = Study Aboard

1 = John Jay College SEEK Alumna

8 = Chi Alpha Epsilon (XAE) National Honor Society

11 = Has either a full-time or part-time job

9 = Involved with one or more clubs at John Jay College

1 = John Jay Vera Fellow

3 = Ronald E. McNair Scholar

$20,000 = Total Amount of Scholarship Money Won

3 = SEEK Peer Mentor

1 = Student Athlete

1 = Student Council Representative

3 = Peer Ambassador

1 = Peer Counselor

2 = Pinkerton Community Fellow

1 = Presidential Intern

3 = Urban Male Initiative  Peer Advocate Mentor

16 = Urban Male Initiative Student
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John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY SEEK Students Breaking Barriers

Special thank you to Professor Sara Whitestone and Dr. Monika Son of John Jay College for their words of encouragement and being my cheerleader throughout this process.