Meet Mark: PeerForward Changed My Mindset
PeerForward alumni have followed many career paths and found much success. Here, Mark Camphor shares his journey.
When did you become a part of PeerForward?
I became a part of PeerForward in 2011 at Yale University. My workshop experience expanded my horizon to another level. At that point in my life, I didn’t realize what it would actually look like to go to a four-year school. I had no idea where I wanted to go to school or even what I wanted to do in school. My College Coaches and Writing Coaches played an extremely important role in my college application process. Without them, my college applications and acceptance decisions would have looked a lot different and felt like a much harder process. Most importantly, I learned that everyone has their own story – and no matter what obstacles you are going through, you always have the opportunity to overcome them.
How did PeerForward help you prepare for college? How has PeerForward influenced your college experience?
PeerForward helped whip me into shape. High school was wrapping up and it was time to start planning for my future. I just didn’t know where to start. I was already a good student, academically and socially but also as an athlete. PeerForward helped me understand what it takes to go to college and succeed. And they explained how much different of a challenge it will be than high school. PeerForward molded me into a stronger person. Once I learned that I always have the opportunity to overcome any obstacle, I was able to change my mindset to thinking that I could accomplish anything. From practicing this, I then acquired my goals and dreams that I want to achieve in college and after I finish school.
What obstacles or challenges did you have to overcome in order to get to college?
When I was in high school getting ready for college, confidence and self-determination were the main things that I lacked. I often felt that what I was going through was more than I was able to handle. Everyone around me looked like they were doing so great with their high school career. I wanted to do better, but I wasn’t allowing myself to because I would give up on every try. PeerForward, along with my student athlete activities, gave me the boost I needed to believe I had a future. At the end of the day, everyone has their own list of problems and it doesn’t matter what you go through because if you have the ability to walk this earth, you have the opportunity to do everything you can imagine.
How did you and the peer leaders at your high school help create a college-going culture?
Me and my fellow Peer Leaders helped create the college-going culture by implementing it into everyday life. We lived and breathed our goals to get every classmate to apply to college and submit their FAFSA. My Peer Leader team planned and hosted events such as “College Jeopardy”, and were active participants in the classroom. We also hosted an event called College Day where everyone wear’s apparel from a college that their parents attended or a school of their choice – and in the process learned a lot about different campuses in and out of state. Our mentality really rubbed off on our peers, and they started to own their own goals as much as we did ours.
What campus activities are you involved in?
When I started my undergraduate career at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I was a football student athlete. I also joined clubs such as the Association of Black Collegiates and the Accounting Society. Eventually, I transferred to Howard University, which is where I am now. My first year there, I joined a dormitory step team where I am now the Financial Coordinator. I joined and became an active member of the National Association of Black Accountants and New York Club. I also work part-time at a local restaurant. I plan to try out for Howard’s football team in the fall.
What do you plan to do after college?
My short-term goal is to become an entry level accountant at a Big 4 firm. After a few years in public accounting, I plan to start my own business and help smaller companies accomplish what they need to do financially. After my firm is financially sustainable, I plan to open other businesses to become a multiple small business owner. My goal is to be financially stable enough to give back to and uplift my community with different opportunities such as volunteer work and scholarships.
What advice do you have for high school seniors who are on the fence about going to college?
If you are unsure about your options with college, before you make any decisions, weigh all of your options. Remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. This is the land of opportunity and it’s everywhere. Before graduating high school, look up what “the pursuit of happiness” means by definition and write down what your pursuit of happiness looks like. Don’t sell yourself short, follow your dreams and pursue what makes you happy!