Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Personal Experience as an International Student and as a PTK officer at LaGuardia Community College

by Kimly Tor

I was accepted to study at LaGuardia Community College on March 2014 as an international student, majoring in biology. Everything was so new to me when I first arrived in New York: the weather, the language, the people, the culture, and the transportation. I was so excited about the little things such as taking the train and speaking to an American (with my broken English). You would know this feeling if you came from a developing country such as Cambodia and was the first of your friends to be in New York City. It was an awesome feeling for me.

However, my academic performance was not good. I failed a writing test, which was called the CATW test. As a result, I was required to take an ESL (English a Second Language) class and was told if I did well I would be given an opportunity to take the test again in three months. If I did not do well, I would spend a whole year preparing myself before taking the test again. Fortunately, with the help of my ESL professor, combined with my hard work, I was among the three students to take the test again at the end of the class, and I passed with one point above the minimum pass score. It was such a relief and at last I was officially a college student. One semester later after I had earn 12 credits and a 3.8 GPA (the minimum GPA requirement is 3.5), I was qualified to join PTK as an officer, which has changed my experience on campus completely.

PTK has given me an opportunity to work with four other students who have very different backgrounds from one another, but share the same values as talented, high achieving, hard working, and being down to earth. We have worked as a team, gone through a leadership training together, set up meetings and workshops, and most importantly formed the bond of friendship and support that I would not have outside of PTK.

This honor society also gave me the tools that I needed to be successful as a community college student including scholarships, career planning by completing Five Star Competitive Edge program, and transfer application preparation by using College Fish. All of these tools are accessible online on the PTK official website and I can use them at my own pace. With all these resources I am ready to transfer in the spring 2016, hopefully with a scholarship.

To sum up, I had failed as an international student at LaGuardia in the first three months, but that didn’t determine who I am. I worked past the failure and moved toward my goal. PTK is a bonus that helped enrich my experience on campus. 

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