Coming to Monmouth University on an EOF scholarship, I was told that a lot of people wouldn’t know what that was. This idea seemed a bit crazy to me, as I had known what EOF meant for awhile. My older sister, seven years before me, had been accepted to Montclair State University on an EOF scholarship. The term was constantly thrown around my high school when college applications were being filled out. A lot of families in my hometown of Long Branch are low income, so for many people EOF is something they rely on in order to be able to afford to go to college.
So for a term that I had so often heard in my life to now be unrecognizable to the people surrounding me, it was definitely different. When I tell people that I’m an EOF scholar, I’m faced with one three-word question: what is that? Well, what is EOF?
EOF stands for Educational Opportunity Fund. The EOF program assists students who are disadvantaged by low income. Financial and academic support such as grants and scholarships are provided to help minimize the financial burden of attending college. EOF is really helping me as far as being able to afford to attend Monmouth University, which, for those who don’t know, is a private university that comes with a high expense for tuition alone. So to put it lightly, if I didn’t have EOF, I wouldn’t stand a chance of going to school here.
In order to officially be able to accept my EOF scholarship, I was required to go through an intense five week summer program. I not only had to attend classes, but I also had to spend these five weeks with 39 other freshmen who were also accepted into the EOF program. The nerves of starting college were enough, and all of these new faces were supposedly going to be my “family” for the next four years. I honestly thought that idea was crazy. I had a family and it was definitely not this group of people. Who would’ve thought I could ever be so wrong?
The program was intense and there were a lot of late nights doing homework, cramming for tests in the library and a lot of tears from the frustration of it all that were being shed. We all couldn’t wait for it to be over, and yet I sobbed when I had to say goodbye on the last day.
I made so many close friends and shared so many incredible memories in such a short amount of time. I grew to love this group of (as the directors and counselors of the program would call us) Extra Ordinary Freshmen. Even to this day, sitting in my dorm in February, I wish I could somehow relive some of those memories from the summer program. Then again, I guess I’m lucky enough to make new memories with these people every day that we spend at Monmouth University. So what is EOF? It’s support, it’s love, it’s a challenge, but above all, it’s family.