MY Ascend Story – Ahmad Jackson
By MLT Ascend Scholar, Ahmad Jackson
Meet MLT Ascend Scholar Ahmad Jackson, Jr., a sophomore at Nazareth College. Ahmad shares the academic challenges he had to overcome and how his Ascend Coach helped him get on a path to reach his goals.
My big goal is to become a physical therapist. When I was in high school, I tore a ligament and my physical therapist and I developed a really good relationship. That’s how I learned that this profession is about healing, not just physically, but emotionally. I want to be able to provide people who are suffering physically with that kind of care.
I came to college with support from the Young Scholars Program, which gives scholarships to New York City students who major in science, technology, engineering or math. In high school, everything seemed easy for me in class. In college, I had a much harder time, especially with chemistry. It was really difficult and I was embarrassed. My girlfriend and my friends were doing well, and it felt like there was a gap between us. I didn’t want to admit that I didn’t understand certain things and I didn’t want to ask them for help. I distanced myself from everyone and studied on my own. My communication with my mom also suffered; she wasn’t used to seeing me struggling academically.
My relationship with my MLT Ascend coach, Micheal, really helped me. At first I was like, “Who is this guy calling me?” But he became the backbone of encouragement that I needed academically.
In order to reach my goal of becoming a physical therapist, I have to get through my science classes! And that meant going back and re-taking chemistry. Micheal helped me realize that if I backed away from taking chemistry again because I was afraid of failing, it would stop me from by bigger goal. So I had to confront that fear.
Micheal worked with me on my goals. He helped me make sure I was spending my time on what was actually beneficial to me. He checked in on me, and gave me a lot of structure. It really helped me to study. Micheal also helped me to communicate better with my mom, which improved our relationship.
MLT Ascend helped me to see that my ability to build relationships is a gift.
I’ve also learned to focus on my strengths. MLT Ascend helped me to see that my ability to build relationships is a gift. For example, this summer I volunteered at a hospital, working with the elderly to help identify signs of dementia. I really enjoyed it. I found that the patients had a lot of wisdom to share. I got really close to one patient, and she became like my third grandmother. We talked about our families, and now my parents are coming to meet her! Now I know that my ability to build relationships will be an asset to my career.
After working with Micheal, I did really well my second semester. I have the right mindset. I’m more focused and I understand what it takes to prepare. Now that I’m doing better, I feel more confident. I’m prepared to apply to the physical therapy program!
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