“I had the chance to re-connect to my Samoan roots through UW Tacoma.”

My name is Joseph. I am a junior at the University ofWashington Tacoma pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Systems.

The academics aren’t easy, but the biggest roadblock I’ve encountered in college is money. I’m lucky to have a part-time job that worked with my school schedule and to have financial aid cover a majority of my tuition costs. However, it still wasn’t enough. Even with the income from my job and financial aid, I still wasn’t making enough to cover for books and help pay for living expenses. I didn’t want to ask my family for financial assistance either. Growing up, we always had to worry about whether we had just enough money to pay the bills and get through the month. I wanted to be as independent as possible for them; I didn’t want to give my family one more thing to worry about. I needed that extra push to get me through each quarter, and I didn’t want to have to sacrifice the already delicate balance I had between work and school in order to get there.

Thanks to my education advocate, Nicolette, I didn’t have too. Nicolette connected me to a variety of scholarship opportunities that I could take in order to help alleviate the financial strain of college. She’s also been an amazing advisor, and was always willing to step up and offer the advice and help I needed. Thanks to these opportunities, I was allowed to keep growing. I’ve been able to meet some extraordinary people throughout my college career, many of whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends. Nowhere else would I have got the chance to reconnect with my Samoan roots through UW Tacoma’s Asian Pacific Islander Student Union. I couldn’t have done any of that without Nicolette. SEA provided the support I needed, and if there’s one thing I know, they’ll do their best to provide it for those in need too.

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