Mental strength enables college journey
September 22, 2015
Filed under Social Justice
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SJCC students on the rise despite difficult beginnings
BY DARRICK L. HURD
Mohammed Bieder, Marques Hicks and Hayley Leonard have overcome unstable situations at home, an obstacle that made focusing in class difficult.
The San Jose City College students have used their brains, their mental strength, to get ahead.
Bieder had to go through the mourning phases of losing his grandmother. He relied on her for transportation to and from school.
“I used my passion for acting to motivate me and managed to persuade my mother to take me to school,” said Bieder, a 15-year-old theater major.
The daily schedule for Leonard, an Early Childhood Educator major, includes caring for her disabled mother. Leonard took advantage of the financial aid program to get into school.
Hicks did not have any money, nor anywhere to live, but he sought and found housing programs and financial aid.
“Yes, my living situation did affect my work. I had to struggle to get it done,” Hicks said. “I used willpower to overcome my physical problems.”
“People are so negative at times and don’t smile. I share my smile with the world and keep a positive outlook on life,” Leonard said.
“My greatest accomplishment was making it to college at the age of 14 because I am obligated,” Bieder said.
These SJCC students have risen through college despite the harsh conditions because they were mentally determined.
“Maintaining a positive mind state can’t bring my grandmother back to life, but it has given me the fortitude, mental and physical strength, to attain my goals,” Bieder said.
“I couldn’t possibly give my studies 100 percent if I’m thinking 30 percent,” Leonard said.
Hicks, 38, was inspired by the words of New York rapper KRS1, who said, “Knowledge is power.”