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Crusader Maria Brito is interning with postsecondary team

Onward We Learnr Maria Brito, a first-year communications major at the Community College of Rhode Island, is interning with the postsecondary team. She wrote this piece for the first newsletter for college students this month.

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and arrived at the United states in 2012. Very soon after, I was introduced to the Onward We Learn. I would not be where I am as a first-generation student without my CRU family. 

Being raised by a single mother always brought financial uncertainty. We knew there were opportunities available somewhere but simply did not know how to reach them. I have always loved writing and journalism. Through high school, I was able to participate in many writing programs that strengthened my writing abilities and helped me obtain better testing scores. Once the college process started, I had amazing advisors to walk me through every step of the way. I was informed of every financial factor. My Onward We Learn high school advisors never made me feel as if I were reaching for the impossible. There were always answers to my questions and I was always pushed to work to the best of my potential. 

Senior year arrived and so did a global pandemic. Everything that I had imagined the end of my senior year to be, and the beginning of my college journey, was flipped upside down. I wanted to go out of state right after high school, but the world had other plans for me. My Crusade high school advisor, Claire Denault, introduced me a transfer agreement between my dream college, Emerson College, and CCRI. Getting my education from CCRI relieved me of so much financial burden.  

Soon after, COVID-19 hit my family severely. My mother stopped working and has not returned to work ever since. I was now responsible for most of the bills in the house, and it immediately affected my education. My advisor at CCRI, Belisa Nunez, introduced me to the Emergency Fund, which gave me the financial help I needed with my house bills. Although it was not academic help, the Emergency Fund took huge pressure off my shoulders.  

Most recently, the postsecondary team offered me the opportunity to intern at the Onward We Learn. This opportunity to be paid to gain experience in my major of communications serves as practical application to what I am learning in my classes. I can truly say that the Onward We Learn cares about its students and will go the extra mile to help us achieve our goals.