Henry Street Settlement opens doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social services, arts, and health care programs.
Amanda Gonzalez, SUNY Buffalo State ’16
As a senior in the public communications major at SUNY Buffalo State, I am in awe as I watch days fly by and graduation approaches quickly. My greatest decisions have always been made on a whim; the best example of that would be choosing to going away to school. I was more than prepared for whatever decision I made because of my mentors at the Expanded Horizons program at Henry Street Settlement. The team there gave me the support, knowledge, and resources I needed in order to choose the most suitable college for me. Going away to college was never in my plan; however, Expanded Horizons offered college tours which allowed me to gain a better perspective of what college outside of the city would be like. They allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of what success is, and allowed me to understand that I could go anywhere and still have great accomplishments. For this reason, four years ago, I made the 300 mile trip from NYC to Buffalo and never looked back.
Throughout my undergraduate college career, I have struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do academically. I ended up changing my major three times which consequently made transitioning hard for me. I used to be embarrassed about sharing that information, but over time I have come to realize that my learned experiences could be valuable information to others. There were times when I felt overwhelmed with college, which led me to ask my mentors for advice; listening to their stories helped me to understand that everyone faces obstacles. When I would get discouraged and wanted to give up, my mentors would inspire me to keep moving forward. I would like to provide what they gave to me to other students.
By being involved in student organizations at SUNY Buffalo State, I have discovered a passion for helping students. As a student, I am not afraid to say, I have always needed support in more ways than one. SUNY Buffalo has given me the support I needed to acquire knowledge and be successful. Their willingness to support me has also inspired me to provide support for others. It was this sentiment that led me to become a Resident Assistant at the beginning of my Junior year.
Currently, I am the Senior Resident Assistant of a first-year residence hall, coincidentally it is where my very own story began. Through this leadership position I have been able to become a person who gives support and makes a difference in the lives of my fellow residents. I look forward to growing into a professional who continues to provide support for college students and my next step is graduate school! Beginning in Fall 2017, I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Miami University.
Last but not least, I want to share my favorite quote: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Going to school 300 miles away from home, applying to become a resident assistant, and applying to graduate school are all things out of my comfort zone, but if I did it, anyone can.
For more on Amanda’s passions, check out her blog at bronzedinthecity.com.