Hello my fellow Monkeys,
Although I've been stalking this forum for a year and a half, I didn't have the courage to officially join until recently. I'm currently in my second internship with JPM and have some down time after working on a lengthy project. I thought that I would share my story with some of you to provide a different perspective from what we usually see on here. Anyways, here goes:
Growing up in the Caribbean:
I was born in the Caribbean to a working class family that often struggled to support itself. My father and mother have always had a strong relationship with me and my siblings. When I was 5 my father had to leave our country in search of employment, leaving us behind. He didn't go too far and was able to consistently send money back home. Despite this extra source of income, things weren't easy for us. My parents both lack a proper education and often turned to the massive factories nearby for employment. From a young age I recognized that struggle and told myself that I wanted my life to be different.
At the time my government did not have a structured public school system. I was home-schooled early on and was later enrolled in a schoolhouse nearby. They taught us how to read and write, as well as basic arithmetic. We were taught by women who barely had more education than we did. I look back at this fondly as it undoubtedly shaped my appreciation for education. I developed a sharp focus and was instilled a hardy work ethic by my parents.
Visa Sponsorship / Move to south Bronx NYC:
My grandmother on my mother's side became a US citizen before after I was born. She sponsored us for visas, a process that would take over 11 years. Shortly after I turned 8 we received news that we were approved. I would soon be leaving for NYC in search of a better life. We were shocked but clearly very happy to have the opportunity to seek a proper education and improve our circumstances. My older brother and sister would finally be able to attend high school and possibly higher education. We packed up all our belongings, sold our small house and took off.
Life in New York was not what I expected. The tourist infested areas were clearly very clean and well kept. I moved into the South Bronx, where I continue to live to this day. Needless to say, my first few years here were really rough. I was faced with growing up in a tough neighborhood and learning a new language. I forced myself to read constantly and watch TV shows in English to pick up the language. School was obviously a big help, but I'm sure I don't need to mention the struggles and shortcomings of inner city schools.
My English improved and I progressed through elementary school, middle school and high school. My high school experience was the worst by far. We had virtually zero guidance when it came to applying to college. My saving grace was my English teacher who helped me apply to schools and multiple scholarships. I was accepted to many private schools that offered very little financial aid. My scholarships didn't stretch too far, so I had to come up with a different solution. I turned to local schools and decided to attend a CUNY. This guaranteed that I would be fully covered.
Internship with JPM FLDP
I currently attend a liberal arts college without a proper business school. My affiliation with national business organizations and extra curricular activities set me apart. My sophomore year I attended an annual convention which hosted a career fair. I was able to network effectively and secured an internship with JPM's FLDP. This brings me to today. I'm coming in on the last few weeks and it feels unbelievable. With the help of WSO's FDP guide, I feel like I've had a successful internship and I'm ready for more.
I'm not an IB intern or a student from a prestigious university. I'm not in a FO role but I can proudly say that I have accomplished everything I set out to do so far. Working in Midtown feels unreal as I remember nights when I went to bed hungry. Perspective is everything, I view my current internship and potential full time as a milestone. I still have aspirations to break into high level finance and I will not give up until I do. The turning point was seeing my mother cry because she couldn't afford to feed us. This will forever push me to do better, to break this vicious cycle I was born into. Sorry for the long read guys, but it feels good to get this off my chest.
Thanks for reading,