At the heart of the University of Maryland's Incentive Awards Program is the development of individual character and community responsibility within an intimate community of staff, peers, advisors and mentors. The cohort of students who form the core of this community benefit from outstanding programming and, in return, are active in their home high schools and neighborhoods with the intention of inspiring young people to similar academic achievement.
When I was selected to join the Incentive Awards Program (IAP) I felt a sense of relief just knowing that I would be able to pursue one of my lifetime dreams of going to college. As a first-generation college student, this showed me that if I work hard, success will eventually come. Being selected to be a part of the Incentive Awards Program at University of Maryland was the first case that I realized that I can reach whatever goal I set out to. With continued support, IAP will remain doing what it does best, and that's making a difference for underrepresented students.
I applied to UMD because many teachers and the faculty at my high school told me it was an amazing school and they believed that I could thrive here. I chose to attend UMD because when I came for a college tour I felt embraced and at home. The university's many organizations as well as the Incentive Awards Program have offered me the comfort, support and motivation that I do not believe I would have found anywhere else. What I love most about the University of Maryland is that you never feel alone or isolated when you choose to take part in one of the many organization on campus. The academics at UMD are rigorous, but I believe that the challenge is not more than I can handle because of the amazing resources and assistance here on campus. In this year and a half at UMD, I've learned so much about various culture and identities. UMD has and continues to shape my way of thinking. I am very blessed to call myself a Terp!
Growing up in a single parent home and being the youngest of four, I witnessed the financial struggles that my family faced when my mother lost her accounting job to outsourcing. This fueled my passion for business, affirming my decision of attending UMD. As an Incentive Awards Program scholar, I knew I had the chance of a lifetime at my fingertips. At UMD I was offered bountiful academic resources, various community service opportunities and a knowledgeable mentor. Through these things, my experience at UMD thus far has been nothing short of awesome! It has propelled me to become involved in the Filipino Cultural Association, where I learn more about my heritage and business organizations that assist me in developing my career path. Education, in the words of my mother, is the most valuable asset to a person and it is the one thing that a person cannot be stripped of. Instilling this value in my mind has motivated me to pursue a career in accounting to hopefully help out those that have similar experiences as myself.
Besides the academic programs UMD offers to develop students into fearless leaders, I chose to attend UMD because there was something extraordinary about a university who considered my story special. Being a first-generation college student from Baltimore was a bit discouraging but through the Incentive Awards Program, I found a community within UMD's larger community, and I just knew I was set up for success. I developed a newfound passion for financial literacy and business skills. I realized how important professionalism and financial management is for white collar job opportunities, for building a stable family and for making lasting differences in our communities. Applying to the Smith School of Business was a big deal. However, thanks to access to resources, organizations and connected alumni, I had the necessary tools to navigate the process. The full scholarship I was awarded, the Incentive Awards peers, staff and mentors, the Business School advisors and other UMD organizations all provided the support that has been the backbone of my academic career. It is true that one must work hard in order to do well in college, but it is vital that one must not work hard alone in order to prosper in college.
My journey began from a small refugee camp in Nepal, where I was born and raised. My family, with the help of an organization, immigrated to the United States when I was around twelve years old in search of a better future. In the first few years of resettlement, I encountered many adversities mainly because I was adjusting to the new environment. When I visited the University of Maryland during my sophomore year of high school, I instantly fell in love with the campus for several different reasons. Although the classes are highly challenging, I am provided with a variety of resources that help me to tackle the challenges. In addition, the University of Maryland is very rich in diversity and encompasses people from many cultural backgrounds. The continuous support and motivation that I get from the Incentive Awards Program (IAP) have contributed to where I stand today. The IAP has been there for me every step of the way by giving me mental, physical and academic support.
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