As they prepare for the next stages of their lives, members of the Brooklyn College Class of 2017 share some details of their journeys from students to graduates. Find more student commencement profiles and videos on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Use the #BCGrad2017 hashtag to join the conversation!

Cheyanne Clarke

B.A. in psychology

My academic journey was a rather stressful but rewarding one.

I worked as hard as I possibly could in high school—getting top grades, becoming involved in volunteer work and student government—to be able to get into my top college choice. When I got accepted, I knew my hard work wouldn’t go to waste. But when I found out that my dream college was no longer an option due to my single mother’s inability to help pay for me after receiving a lower than expected financial aid package, I felt heartbreak like I’ve never known before. I found myself walking the halls of a community college my first semester while all my friends and peers were away having the time of their lives away from home. I was devastated.

But I had to decide for myself, “Do I want to sulk and keep holding on to the hurt of my wasted efforts or do I make the most of this path I’m on?” And I chose the latter and transferred to Brooklyn College. During my first two years at the college, I got involved in my campus honors program, getting on the Dean’s List every semester, taking on leadership roles like vice president of the honors club, and enrolling in only honors courses.

At the end of my four years, I learned to take the cards that have been dealt for me and make the most out of it. I had to learn what it meant to truly trust in God and know that his plans for me will always be more effective than the plans I have for myself. I learned how to work hard even in times of trouble. I learned how to sacrifice time to get what I truly wanted.

While in college, I worked three jobs just to be able to afford the part of my tuition that wasn’t covered. I worked countless nights without sleep or much support so that I’d be able to say “I did it!” The road wasn’t easy. I lost many friends along the way; I lost sleep and actually had to attend college an extra semester, despite my hard and consistent efforts. But I am more resilient than I’ve ever been and I’m a go-getter! I do whatever it takes to succeed without expecting any handouts along the way. I made it through four long years with the intrinsic motivation it truly takes to get to the finish line. Thanks to Brooklyn College, I am now a woman who is more in love with learning and evolving than I’ve ever been and have learned to do it in style and with grace.