Recent CTK Grad Adjusting to College Life Far from Home

There are plenty of potential obstacles facing Jasmine Burns CTK ’20 as she begins her college experience: nearly 900 miles from Chicago; first in her family to attend college; enrolled at one of the top academic small colleges in the country; and of course, COVID’s impact on college life. But speaking to her earlier this month from her dorm room on the campus of Trinity College in Connecticut, it was clear that she’s got this.    

Jasmine’s transition to college has been a successful one so far, due to a variety of support resources.  She is one of 9 Posse Scholars from Chicago, which not only provides a full-tuition scholarship, but offers her a student peer group from similar backgrounds who she meets with every Friday. There are also fellowship and internship opportunities in the future, and upper class mentors available for support. She credits her former Corporate Work Study Program co-workers at AllianceBernstein with making her aware of the Posse Scholar Foundation, and providing guidance during the application process. “The second phone call I made after being awarded the scholarship was to the AllianceBernstein office. They put me on speakerphone, and cheered for me, and had a celebration later at the office for me.”

Considering the COVID-related restrictions, and the unexpected ending to her senior year at CTK, she was ready to start college and grateful that she was able to do so on campus. She lives in a single dorm room and has a nice balance of two in-person and two online classes. Although very different from the West Side of Chicago, she is comfortable getting around the smaller campus, appreciates the New England fall foliage, and even learned about Trinity’s top sport, squash. Although there is a lot of schoolwork, she feels managing her CWSP job and CTK studies prepared her for it. “My CTK teachers definitely prepared me for the college workload. I still hear Mr. Zundel’s voice in my head telling me what to do, and what not to forget about. He got me ready for everything college-related.”

Jasmine also was involved in National Honor Society and Band (violin and flute) at CTK. Her participation in community service projects was a big part of her CTK experience, and she hopes to someday give back to the community she came from.  At Trinity, she has joined the Homelessness Project for Hartford, and plans to become involved in other activities, and possibly get a job, as it becomes safe to do so.

She will return to her Chicago home for Thanksgiving and remain there until February. Her family is proud of her and supports her decision to go to a school so far from home. She wants to be a role model for her younger cousins and can’t wait to help them through the high school and college experience. Her advice to them, and younger CTK students, “Take pride in what you do in school. Complete all of your assignments, even if online. Apply to as many colleges and scholarship opportunities as you can. Eventually, pick the one that is best for you, not based on where your friends are going.”