By Kimberly Leiba
November 23, 2021
Kimberly Leiba is a OneGoal – New York class of 2018 alumna and Senior Mass Communications major at Bridgeport University in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This article is excerpted from a long-form personal reflection Kimberly wrote at the end of her Junior year.
“OneGoal. Graduation. Period.”
This is the tagline for OneGoal, which I joined in my Sophomore year as a student attending Digital Arts and Cinema Technology High School in Brooklyn NY. I’ve always loved this tagline because it signifies just that, a goal. It’s a reminder that despite any setbacks, the endgame is graduation, period.
By the fall of 2020, my junior year in college, I thought I understood how certain professors worked and how classes should flow. I’ve always thought I was able to adjust to any environment, online or in classrooms. I was wrong. Taking six online classes, working, and being a part of two clubs on campus (one for which I was the president), was harder than I imagined. Throw in a bit of self-doubt and existential crisis of why I belonged in college, and I was the ultimate Mass Communication Junior trainwreck.
Small but still very major setbacks included my laptop shutting down on me randomly. For some, a week with no computer is no big deal. For a Mass Communication student who had websites to build through coding, advertisements to make for classes, presentations to create and share, and a 20-page paper to write, trust me it was a big deal. Once my laptop fell apart, I missed assignments, they eventually piled up, and then I lost my motivation to get back into them.
As a student who is used to getting straight As and overall high scores in my classes, my Spring 2021 semester definitely humbled me in more ways than I could have imagined. But through those setbacks, I learned that one does not always need to win. That might sound strange, but our failures allow us to understand our weaknesses, and when we identify those, we learn how to fix them and make ourselves stronger. So, some may think I was just irresponsible with my laptop or that I was just being lazy by not completing assignments, but to me, it was all a necessary experience that bred creativity.
From providing me with school notebooks and other tools to having check-ins to see how I was doing, the OneGoal team was amazing at simply reminding me of the end goal, to graduate. At one point, we even started planning for after graduation.
Rasha, the OneGoal Director of School Partnerships in New York, encouraged me to make connections with people in my field of interest. In a very short conversation regarding my future plans to be a journalist/editor for a news company, she managed to find someone that I could speak to about my resume and a potential internship.
These are the memories I have that make the end goal of graduation so much more worth it, and the OneGoal team will never know how much these opportunities meant to me.
Graduation is the time in a student’s life that signifies all they have accomplished. It lets me reflect on my growth and acknowledge all I sacrificed, fought for, stayed up late nights, and even cried for. When I walk across that stage, hearing my parents shout with joy for my accomplishments, I know it would all be worth it. These are the kinds of reminders I needed to stay focused on the end goal: graduation.