An Immigrant’s bridge to an engineer

jaded aizen
5 min readSep 17, 2020

I have always had a passion for science, growing up in Jamaica I felt very connected to nature and life around me. Early in my childhood at the age of 10, I spent hours in the various trees in the back of my yard climbing to significant heights. Pondering how trees were able to produce leaves, fruits, trunks, branches and roots and all the other myriad of complexities from a seed was galvanizing. This led me to take a great interest in chemistry, being that it held the secrets to what are the building blocks of existence. I became enthralled with atoms and molecules and how tiny imperceivable configurations could result in entirely different species and substances. This drive at an early age and series of fortunate events allowed me to skip a grade and enter high-school earlier through the Grade Six achievement test(G.S.A.T.). I was able to attend the best school in my parish and the fifth best in the whole island(Glenmuir High School)

After I left the schools ranking fell a bit but they are currently ranked 7th.

After graduating from there I was posed with two options that would alter the course of my life forever.

Continuing my education in Jamaica or moving to America and getting into a college. Option B sounded more rewarding and thanks to movie culture, I made the plunge and decided to move to America with my dad leaving behind my MOM in Jamaica. It was a very emotional period but to make matters worse colleges were not so eager to have a 15 year old enroll especially one who’s only credentials were from based in another country. I was forced to go back to high school and based on my age I started from the tenth grade. Those years flew by and even though I excelled at the curriculum my desire to learn wasn’t satisfied. I even began to feel like the curriculum was a waste of my time, I had an unquenchable desire to learn more about the things I wanted to learn, but as I aged life’s requirements from me grew and I found myself being distanced from my passion to acquiesce to the demands of life. Through years of hard work and my goal of being an engineer, I made it all the way to the University of buffalo on various scholarships.

This was an amazing experience because, it exposed me to so many cultures, perspectives and personalities that it left me awed at how big this world is. UB’s undergraduate body reached a whopping 21,000 while I attended the institution. This institution has a very strong focus on theory for freshman and sophomore years, while maintaining a greater focus on more hands on work in junior to senior years. Providing a truly rigorous course work that truly deserves its rank of 88 in the country, but a lot of the electives are irrelevant and will never come up in conversation or and interview. These scholarships took care of tuition, but I was blind-sided by how expensive the books were.I Still managed to do well in college without much financial support. Both my parents have always been hard workers who tried extremely hard to give me the best they had, but being from a third world country the weight of our currency does not go a far way in the U.S. dollar. This made it incredibly hard for my mom in Jamaica to support me, but things went downhill when my father moved to Maine and fell ill. That led to the start of a terrible year 2018, mentally, financially and academically. During that semester I was still my fathers dependent. I was considered out of state, even though I resided in New York. I was placed on academic probation for having a bad semester prior and had to pay out of State Tuition.

I withdrew from school to start working in NYC to take control of my finances and at a more opportune time return to Buffalo. While working I rekindle my desire for learning by purchasing books and courses online. During the mid 2019 I came across Flatiron programs and immediately had hope, I vowed I would get myself into the program and have enough financial freedom to excel during the duration of the course. Devoting my time to saving and learning until my approved cohort date. I became very cordial with the school’s enrollment team who’s sincerity and warmness radiated through the phone adding fuel to the fire of my desire.

I was successful at the technical interview thanks to the precourse-work and some of my own independent reading. Due to the pandemic I was not allowed to have the in-person experience regardless, a great opportunity is a great opportunity. I embarked down the virtual path to becoming a software engineer. This experience started from warm faces stuck in digital boxes to a productive goal oriented unit, mastering the intricacies of code and bending it to our will. As I embark on this journey I feel empowered to have such a remarkable cohort with me. The desire and passion that is displayed in their hard work and how much we’ve grown in such a short time inspires me everyday to control my destiny. With my New nakamas labs Is only One Piece of the puzzle. The Information is complex but we would’nt want nothing less