What's your background?
My name is Kermina, and I was born in Egypt and immigrated to the US when I was 6 and a half. Ever since then, I lived in Jersey City, which is only a train ride away from NYC (YAY!), but I moved around a lot within the city. Fun fact: I have lived in more than 7 different homes, and that’s probably why I love travelling, haha. I moved into the Honors College at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ in late August this year, which is about 30 miles south of my home in Jersey City. I am majoring in Public Policy right now, working towards my M.A. in the five-year program, to pursue a career in education reform in the US and in the Middle East as a measure of counter-terrorism.
Can you describe the highs and lows of your college experience?
So far, I’ve been nicknamed the Mom of Honors College because of my wide array of knowledge in all things Rutgers. Speaking of the summer: a few of my friends and I wrote a statement on behalf of our class to stand with the victims of Charlottesville over the summer, and posted it on our school’s Facebook page, which caught the attention of one of the Deans and the president of the student body, who now knows me by name, which is fantastic! I haven’t had many low points yet, but I’m waiting for the #RUscrew to kick in.
What was most stressful to you about paying for college if you could pick out one thing? Why?
Textbooks!!! I have been looking for textbooks like crazy because many of my professors require the latest editions of books that were published two moths ago, so college has been very stressful, with that regard.
Who helped you navigate paying for college?
I’ve been pretty much on my own with figuring out my finances for college because I am a first generation student, so Google has been the biggest help.
What are you majoring in and why? What has been your favorite class?
I am majoring in Public Policy, and so far, may favorite class is Intro to International Relations my professor is British.
What do you hope to do with your career? What city or profession do you envision yourself in?
I want to revolutionize the education system in our country and make it so students are not standardized, but have the freedom to explore everything they take an interest in. Getting a B.S. in Public Policy (and perhaps an M.A. in Public Policy because I plan to apply for the 5-year program in my junior year) will help me understand the old system so I know what works, what needs to change, and what needs to be done away with. Moreover, the University is a short train ride away from the New Jersey Department of Education, so I hope to intern there or even just introduce myself to the Department and go from there. However, I also want to use education to combat terrorism in third-world countries. By building an efficient and easily accessible education system, terrorist organizations lose their biggest source of recruitment: children. I'm from Egypt; I see what these organizations are doing to my people and I want to put an end to it, for good.
What do you do for fun?
I go home on the weekends to volunteer with my church, teaching Bible Study and Hymns Class. As this is my first semester in college, I hope to begin participating with the Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) which is the student body government, as well as with the Student Advisory Board, which is the Honors College student government. There is also a really cool foodie club I want to join, because I love all food.
What is your biggest piece of advice for college so far?
Start early!! Start looking for textbooks early, start doing homework early, start applications and everything early. Trust me, you will be less stressed out in the end!
Why do you like about being a NextGenVest Money Mentor?
I love the interactions I have with people, both in NextGenVest and the students I talk to. Our community makes my day.
What's one thing that you learned while being a Money Mentor?
I learned a lot about the different situations that students are in when it comes to financial aid; the insight I gained is incomparable because I speak to students from all different backgrounds in all different stages of life and academia.