Meet Our Mentees – Faija Choudhury

Faija Choudhury with her Mentor Donna Held

Congratulations to Faija Choudhury for being selected as our High School Mentee of the Month for September. Faija is a rising Senior at the High School of Economics and Finance. She has connected with her mentor as part of the FWA High School Mentoring program.

What can you tell us about yourself (your background, family, interests, etc.)?
I was born in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and I came to the United States in 2015. I live with my parents and my 20-year-old brother. Neither of my parents went to college and my brother struggled with his education when he came here. He failed his Regents exam and failed to graduate on time because he didn’t fully understand English. In addition, he struggled through the college process because there was no one to guide him. I struggled also. I only knew the basics which weren’t enough for High School.

How did the FWA help you overcome those challenges?
I experienced bullying in school in Bangladesh because people thought I had an outlandish eye color and since coming to the USA, I’ve been bullied because of my accent. I was embarrassed in school because I didn’t speak English the way my peers did. I began to isolate myself. I kept myself in a shell to avoid others. The FWA changed that. The FWA made me break the shell and participate more in every activity of interest.

How do you feel about being selected as a mentee featured in FWA’s newsletter?
I feel proud to be featured in FWA’s newsletter. The fact that people will read about how this program helped me grow and will be inspired to be part of it as a mentor, mentee or donator. I want every girl to be aware that they are not alone and there is the FWA to help guide them. It will be my pleasure to help people feel inspired and partake in FWA. There are many people who are struggling because they don’t have the guidance and I can say that from my personal experience with my brother. In my opinion, there can’t be a better feeling than knowing that someone’s life became better because of your small steps.

In what ways has your mentor supported you in navigating college and finding opportunities that align with your future?
My mentor supported me in navigating college by helping me determine what I want to study in college based on my long-term goals. She informed me that it is absolutely okay to change what you want to do as a career. FWA narrowed down what size, location or demographic I want to be in during college trips. Donna gave me a brief description of the location as I communicated the trip experience to her. We looked up the ACT/SAT score and requirements for my desired college and created the aim for SAT score. The FWA SAT prep took me closer to my goal by raising my score by 160 points. During our meeting, we also examined colleges in Naviance to see their stats and where I belong compared to other students who get accepted.

Tell us about one experience in the FWA mentoring program that has made you feel empowered, inspired, or motivated?
There are many experiences that I have had with FWA that have inspired me. The most inspiring experience was when we met Isle, one of the FWA alumnae mentees during the college trip. Our program coordinator, Beth Dorfman was her mentor and told us about her situation at the beginning of the program year. She informed us how Isle struggled with her family and struggled as a teenage mom. Isle tried her best and finished High School. Then she went to a college that gave opportunities to teenage moms. She now works for a congressman in Massachusetts. She is the example of a person that proves that no situation lasts forever and there is always a way to make your life better.

What have you learned about yourself while being part of the mentoring program?
Being part of the mentoring program gave me access to myself. I got to know myself and who I am and what I want out of life. As time passed, I became more outspoken. I started to take more responsibility. As a sophomore, I was only a representative of the Student Government and the National Honor Society. Now as a Junior, I am the secretary of the Student Government and Treasurer of The National Honor Society. I started to know about my capability and self-worth. And I became closer to my goals and started to get a clear picture of where I stand in term of my goals; I am more determined than ever to accomplish my goals no matter how hard the journey is going to be.

Interested in Mentoring?

Given how important mentoring is, you could be a key source of knowledge to a young woman seeking guidance with developing her career. To learn more about FWA mentoring and to get involved contact:

(Baruch College) Betsy Werley,
(Seton Hall University) Carol Doyle or Rachel Peddle,
(High School) Beth Dorfman or Mindy Kipness.

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