Melissa Bailey exceeds expectations
One is never truly certain of the path that lies ahead after seizing an opportunity. Some persons wait with bated breath after taking the leap of faith, with the hope that things will work out. For persons like 23-year-old Melissa Bailey, her leap of faith on March 3, 2012, is certainly paying off.
After completing sixth form, Bailey applied to the University of the West Indies, but had no source of funding to start her course of studies. It was at this juncture that she decided she needed to be productive and started the National Youth Service Programme (NYS) Business Administration one-year programme that would award her a HEART level II Certificate.
With her programme complete, Bailey battled with thoughts of what next to do. Luckily for her, the NYS started a partnership with Northern Caribbean University, the Access to Higher Education Programme (AHEP) which availed individuals the opportunity to get scholarship aid after having been accepted to a tertiary institution.
"I applied to NCU to obtain a bachelor's degree in social work and all the obstacles I encountered previously were because I had applied to UWI and got accepted to study international relations. During my online application, I had clicked 'part time' which was a mistake and everything had to be changed ... so when the opportunity came for me to apply to NCU, I did it and it worked out and I am happy where I am," she stated.
160 students benefitting
According to Regional Field Officer of NYS, Courtney Johnson, who facilitated the process and is the brains behind AHEP, approximately 160 students are benefitting from the programme
"NYS has partnered with three other institutions; CMI, CASE and Browns Town Community College. We currently have 50 students at NCU, 50 at CASE and the rest shared between the other two institutions. What we do is provide students with 20-22 per cent of their fees annually; the school places them on a work programme and we are currently working with an additional stakeholder to help students pay the remaining balance."
With a year completed, Bailey, along with her parents and the NYS family, are pleased with her excellent academic performance which has seen her receiving a GPA of 3.8
"I work very hard, and I am dedicated: I hate mediocrity and I have a strong zeal for higher education. I'm not from a wealthy background, and so I know I have my work cut out for me. I am the first of five children and the only one to go to university. I have seen the struggles of my parents, and I just want to continue to do well," Bailey told Rural Xpress.
Bailey has, so far, had to make grave sacrifices from travelling approximately 40 minutes to school every morning, to juggling a job while studying.
"I sometimes reach class a little late because of the distance of work on campus to where class is, and I may not complete all assignments on time but, I am not complacent and whatever I do, it is always well done - all of this is teaching me time management."
Bailey, who said her time at Porus High doing work experience while at NYS, is the reason she has chosen her current course of study.
"The experience really motivated me to see how the dean of discipline at the school met and spoke with the parents ensuring that whatever problems they had were solved. What amazed me was no matter how irate a parent came in, the dean always found a way to have them leave with a smile. I want to help persons that way."
With the hope after leaving NCU to land a good job, Bailey hopes to one day propel herself to opening her own organisation to meet the needs of many persons.
"I didn't know I would be here today and for those persons who feel it's impossible, it isn't. Just have faith and know dreams can come through if you are willing to work."