Why I am Thankful for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

Why I am Thankful for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

Proud to be EOP!
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I know there aren’t many people out there that know about or even know what EOP is, so I’ll just give a brief summarization of it. The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is most formally defined as a program that is prompted to provide students admission and give financial assistance to undergraduate students that are eligible, based upon High School GPA’s, SAT scores, etc., etc. But to me, it is so much more than that.

Being a student at the University I attend, UAlbany, I was one of the lucky ones to be selected for this program. I can honestly sit here and say, that if it weren’t for EOP, I don’t know where I’d be today. They gave me a chance, for which I am forever grateful for.

When you are selected under EOP, you are to attend a five-week program usually for the whole month of July. It’s an intense program at my school. No phones. No physical contact. A strict dress code (not even shoulders). Nada. You are also to take three classes throughout the program and attend lectures. A fully scheduled day. And when you’re spending the five weeks in the program many people are like man, “Why, WHY am I here?!”

But for me, it was different, I knew why I was here. There was just something about my summer that I truly loved and always stuck with me. It’s where I gained most of my college friends, where I stepped outside of my comfort zone, where I truly felt like I could be myself. It was an opportunity for me to grow and get started for something that’d change my life for the better. It was an opportunity that gave me the chance to bloom. I learned so much about myself and college, before I actually even started college, and it’s all thanks to EOP.

It’s not the same for everyone, not everyone’s going to feel the same as I did. They won’t feel that it was this life changing thing, some just don’t see it that way, and that’s fine.

But I’m writing this because it did so much for me, so much that I even decided to become an SA (Student Assistant) for the next two summers following mine! And even though those weeks were tough, and stressful, it was so rewarding to both give and get back. You learn so much about the students and the staff, the counselors and the amazing director (Maritza Martinez is thee best EOP Director by the way). We all come from such diverse backgrounds and I just think it’s amazing because we learn so much about one another.

I just wanted people that stereotype us EOP students to know, this is not a program for some poor kids who get bad grades and are just thrown into college - no. We are scholars who put in the time, night and day to work towards something bigger than us. As students, we all have goals, and we all have dreams that we strive towards – the only difference we may have from regular admission is we, as an EOP family, have each other to fall back on at the end of the day. No matter what paths we walk, no matter what roads we take - that’ll never change. #EOPHoldinItDown

Thank you for everything you have done for me. Sincerely.

Cover Image Credit: Claudio Gomez

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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I Never Wanted To Go To College

I never wanted to go to college, but I stayed because I learned some things along the way - who knew.

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I went because it's what the family expected from me. It's a step towards a successful career path. And obviously because it's a natural progression from high school. But deep down I never wanted to go because I really found no reason to be there.

In my view if you weren't going into traditional career fields, going to college was an expensive long shot. I was also careful to pay attention to all the people that attended college only to work in fields different from what they originally studied.

I was wary but didn't care so I don't put much thought into it. I applied to a handful of schools and attended the one that was more convenient. Once there I found the whole process disheartening.

I relied heavily on financial aid and felt the interaction and choices I was making were more transactional then enriching. It was just like high school again. Go to class take notes, read the book take the test, rinse and repeat until you get the degree.

That was until I fell into a philosophy class that was really challenging. It was challenging in a way that I hadn't been experienced in a while. I was having trouble understanding the material but desperately wanted to learn it. I read books over and over until the concepts were crystal clear. It also helped that I had a teacher who was passionate about the subject as well.

It kind of changed my whole approach to picking classes. Sure I'd visit the advisors and get their take on how to follow the quickest path to graduation. But I also wanted to be intentional with my course selection and take classes where I would learn as much as I could in topics that interested me.

Whether or not they fit my major. That's the only thing that made going to school worth it. Learning topics that change how I approach life and challenged my thinking. Then I was growing intellectually and not just checking boxes for a degree.

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